Controversial Topics Research
Finding a Topic
Need ideas? The following is a list of the most frequently used sources for finding topics and general information about controversial issues. Many will even give pro/con argumentative essays.
Available off-campus with a library card
Comprehensive reports dedicated to today's most important issues
Gives overview of issue, historical timeline, statistics, and a pro/con essay for each topic
Issues and Controversies
Available off-campus with a library card
In-depth investigations into current events and hot issues
Gives web sites and search terms relevant to the topic
10,000 Ideas for Term Papers, Projects, Reports and Speeches
Many copies of this book are available in the Library
Good source for generating an idea about what to research
After you choose your topic, use the library catalog to locate books. Keep in mind that spelling counts. If you mistype your search, you will probably find nothing. Also, remember to try keyword searches as well as subject searches. Keyword searches will look in the entire record for your topic and may lead you to the perfect book!
The following are whole series of books that specifically cover controversial issues. Many of these will lay out specific arguments for each topic. Clicking on the series name will take you to the list of the titles we own.
- Taking Sides Series
- Opposing Viewpoints Series
- Contemporary World Issues
- Current Controversies
- Information Series on Current Topics
Try the following general databases for articles (not web sites) about your topic. Keep in mind that some topics may be covered in greater depth in subject specific databases. Remember, library staff can assist you in person, by phone, or online with search strategies.
These databases are available on and off-campus. Have your library card handy when accessing the databases from off-campus. You will be asked for your name and library card number before you can search them.
- Academic OneFile
One of the largest databases for articles. Full-text (that is the entire article) from 1980-present.
- Academic Search Premier
This database gives full-text from 1990-present.
- Chicago Tribune
All articles are full-text! This database has articles from 1985 to present.
Hint: Use the Customized search option and limit to finding your topic in the Headline/Title of the article.
Finding Web Sites
Need to save time? Try the following lists of web sites that are frequently used for research about controversial topics.
- ipl2: Information You Can Trust
A personal favorite of mine! This searchable, annotated subject directory has more than 14,000 web sites listed. (This is similar to Yahoo! but MUCH better!) Before you head to a search engine, try looking here for a web site about your topic!
- Best Information on the Net
List of web sites on current topics.
Links for cloning, gun control, and death penalty
- Public Agenda Online
Great source for colorful charts and quick facts
Only covers 21 topics such as abortion, crime and immigration issues
- Issue Information
Maintained by Project Vote Smart.
Seeks to inform citizens with "factual, relevant, independent information". To find organizations pertinent to key issues, click on the tab "Issues and Legislation".
A listing of over 5,400 newspapers around the world. Search by area or title.
Hint: If doing a topic that is local, use a local paper for more pertinent information!
Web sites are easily found for controversial topics. However, many of them are trying to inform readers of the "real truth", that is, their position on the topic. Be especially careful when using web pages for controversial topics. Many of them have been created by amateurs who won't even tell you where they got their "facts". To review and rate all types of web sites, use our checklist of tips to help you.
Need online help for citing those awesome sources you found? We've got it here. Remember, online sources, such as articles from databases and web sites, will require some extra steps in order to properly cite them.