SIRS Knowledge Source


What is the SIRS Knowledge Source Database Guide?

This guide will show you how to use SIRS Knowledge Source to find journal articles for your assignments. Many of the things you learn from this guide can be used in our other library databases.

You will be given search strategies, and other helpful hints, for searching SIRS Knowledge Source before starting your own searching. There is a short quiz at the end to see how well this tutorial worked for you.

Let's Begin...

What is SIRS Knowledge Source?

SIRS Knowledge Source deals primarily with current events, thus it does not contain scholarly journal articles.

Most of the information contained in SIRS Knowledge Source is considered "popular" resources such as magazines, newspapers and blogs.

If your assignment requires using scholarly journals, SIRS Knowledge Source is not the database for you.

If you do not have that requirement, or just want to get more background on a current event or social issue, SIRS Knowledge Source is a great place to find information.

Why databases?

The best way to find journal articles for your assignments is to use the Library's databases.

While just Googling is quicker, you cannot always verify the accuracy of a website...or worse, you may be asked to pay $$ for limited use of an article you find online that you could be getting free from the library!

To find SIRS Knowledge Source, and all of our other databases on our website, select Article and eBook Databases from the Research drop down menu. Then select Databases A-Z.

You can also select Library Resources by Subject to find specific resources related to your program or coursework.

Finding SIRS Knowledge Source

Scroll down the screen until you reach SIRS Knowledge Source.

Click here to access SIRS Knowledge Source to access the database and start your search journey.

If you are off-campus, you will need to login with your Trocaire network ID and password.

Inside SIRS Knowledge Source

There are multiple places to begin your research in SIRS Knowledge Source.

  • Trending Pro/Con Leading Issues - information on topics in today's news
  • Browse all Pro/Con issues - all topics covered in SIRS Knowledge Source
  • Subject Search or Keyword Search

Using Trending Pro/Con Leading Issues

The trending issues section changes with the news cycle.

If your topic is missing after a return to the database, you can use the A to Z browse to find it.

Click on any of the images to begin researching the topic.

Issues in SIRS Knowledge Source

All issues covered in SIRS Knowledge Source have an overview section.

  • The Essential Question focuses on why the topic is trending.
  • Critical thinking gives several questions on the topic to help you think deeply about it.
  • Timeline shows the history of the topic.
  • Research Guide gives you a form to guide you through the research process.
Two Viewpoints are provided for students to see evidence supporting the beliefs of each opinion.

Various articles (newspaper, magazine) and websites are available to browse on the topic.

As these are popular sources, and not peer-reviewed journal articles, you must evaluate the information to decide if it is appropriate for your topic and your paper.

Articles in SIRS Knowledge Source

When you find an article you are interested in, click on the title to open it.

There are several tools to help you do more with your article.

  • Translate this article - English into another language
  • Listen - audio version that can also be downloaded

The most commonly used tools are:

  • Save to Google Drive - if you have a Gmail account, you have a Drive account
  • Print
  • Email
  • Cite (APA, MLA)

If you choose to cite using SIRS Knowledge Source make sure to double check your citation against a trusted resource like our Citation Help or Purdue OWL to make sure it is properly formatted.

Link Google Account

Save articles from the database into your personal Google Drive account.

Click Link Google Account to activate this from the main page or click Save to Google Drive on any article page.

If you have a Gmail account, you have a Google Drive account. Use the same username and password login.

You can create an account if you do not have one.

Browsing Pro/Con Issues

You can browse through all issues in SIRS Knowledge Source in an alphabetized list or you can select a main subject to view related issues.

Inside each subjects, issues are grouped by main category.

Click on the issue to select it. You may review the sections on issues and articles by scrolling up.

Searching SIRS Knowledge Source

You can also directly search SIRS Knowledge Source for information on your topic.

Use Subject Search if you are not sure exactly what topic you wish to research.

Use Keyword Search to search directly for information on your topic.


You only want to use the main points of the topic as your keywords.

Keywords are the words you enter into a database or search engine to find information on a topic.

Keywords are critical for effective database searching. They...

  • help you focus on a topic.
  • help you focus your research.
  • eliminate extraneous articles.
  • are better for Internet searching too.

Keyword Tips

Now some quick search tips when using SIRS Knowledge Source or our other databases:

  • Use academic or professional language when you are conducting research in order to find the most scholarly materials on your topic.
  • Avoid unnecessary words like effect, affect, study, research or journal when searching library databases.
  • Put quotation marks around your words to search as an exact phrase
    • climate change
  • Use an asterisk to search for words with similar endings.
    • teen* would find teen, teens, teenage, teenager, teenaged.
  • Use a question mark or hashtag symbol to search for similarly spelled words at the same time
    • woman and women (wom#n, wom?n).
    • Databases tend to use the question mark; search engines the hashtag symbol.

Search Tips

  • Use AND to combine your main keywords together. This happens automatically in search engines.
    • “Lake Erie” AND “climate change”.
  • Use OR in databases and web searching to search for two words that can be used interchangeably.
    • neonate OR infant OR newborn
  • Use NOT to eliminate a word or topic from your search. Many search engines use a minus sign (-) to eliminate words.
    • vaccines NOT autism

Search Results

Once you begin searching in SIRS Knowledge Source, you may retrieve 1,000s of articles. There are ways to lower your search results to find articles that better fit your needs.

  • Add additional keywords to your search
  • You can limit by source type

Scroll up if you have not already reviewed the section on articles in this tutorial.

Created by: Keri Thomas-Whiteside, Information Literacy Librarian. Fall 2016