VOYA - Kim ZachThese two titles are part of a new series aimed at streamlining the research process. For novice researchers, locating, sifting, and organizing relevant data can be problematic, yet developing such skills in an age of information overload is critical. The key concept behind the books, self-described as user-friendly, is to help the process along by compiling information for students on a current topic into one place. Each volume is written by a different author, but the format is identical. The books begin with an at-a-glance section that introduces basic vocabulary. In Illegal Immigration, these words include border enforcement, amnesty, and guest worker programs. In Biomedical Ethics, genetic testing and physician-assisted suicide are among those listed. That section is followed by an overview that offers historical and legal background necessary for understanding the issues. Finally four hot-button questions are presented with support for both sides of the argument. Each section includes subsections of related primary source quotes, bulleted facts, and full-color graphs and charts. The writing in both of these books is top-notch-clear, concise, and unbiased. The page layout makes it easy to skim, and the font size and minimum amount of text keep the information from overwhelming the reader. In addition, special sections at the end of the book offer significant people and advocacy groups, a chronology, related organizations, a list of sources for further research, and the author's own source notes. This series is best suited to middle school and junior high students who are just beginning to practice their research skills. Although an argument could be made that theauthors have done work that should be done by students, the basic purpose behind the series is to provide a complete research package. These books will undoubtedly help students recognize what organized, valid research looks like. One hopes that they can eventually move on to do the gathering and organizing on their own. Other series titles include The Death Penalty, Gun Control, and World Energy Crisis.
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