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Tips for Finding Controversial Issues Sources

Your best bets for controversial issues research, plus tips to save you time and get the sources you need.

What are Controversial Issues?

Controversial issues are topics that are divisive. Many of these topics have been divisive for a long time, such as abortion or capital punishment. Many people feel very strongly for or against these kinds of issues. For this reason, many of the sources you find on these topics will be biased--they will be persuasive articles or books that are trying to make you think a certain way about the topic. Just so you know, there are also objective, academic articles that are meant to inform rather than persuade the reader.

You can still get factual information from some persuasive articles, but you have to be more careful so as not to produce an unintentionally biased paper or presentation that is meant to be objective. Most importantly, you have to be able to recognize if your source is biased and if it is appropriate for your assignment. If you aren't sure, ask your instructor.

Top Books & eBooks Collections

These collections have books or eBooks that cover controversial issues. The Salem Online Reference Shelf eBooks are all also available as print books in COM Library

Top Issues Databases

CQ Researcher, Issues & Controversies, and Opposing Viewpoints or Global Issues in Context are the top databases that specialize in controversial topics. They provide pros & cons or viewpoints that are persuasive as well as objective information. 

 

CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher is well known for being objective and thoroughly researched by their professional writing staff. Each full report on a topic has a table of contents with different sections that have specific kinds of information. If your topic is covered in CQ Researcher, you'll have a great source to get you started.

  • The introduction and overview sections can help you get an overall grasp of the topic. 
  • The chronology and background can help you understand how we got where we are now on the topic.  
  • The outlook can help you understand where we may go in the near future on the topic. 
  • The Pro/Con section can help you understand where people are divided on the topic, how to make an argument for or against of you are doing a persuasive paper, and also recognize if another source is biased if it sounds like the pro or the con section fo the topic. 

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Issues & Controversies

Issues & Controversies  are written by professional writing staff. The articles have many of the same elements as CQ Researcher, though articles aren't quite as in depth. You'll also find additional sources such a primary sources, court cases, media, infographics, editorials and the latest news.  

  • The introduction and background sections can help you get an overall grasp of the topic. 
  • The chronology and background can help you understand how we got where we are now on the topic.  
  • The Supporters and Opponents section can help you understand where people are divided on the topic, how to make an argument for or against of you are doing a persuasive paper, and also recognize if another source is biased if it sounds like the pro or the con section fo the topic. 

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Opposing Viewpoints or Global Issues in Context

The In Context databases are a little different than CQ Research and Issues & Controversies in that they provide viewpoint articles by their professional writing staff in the Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection, but they also have academic journal articles, news and magazine articles, media and more on the topics or issues. 

  • Viewpoints sources can help you understand the pros and cons, what makes the issue controversial
  • Reference sources  from the Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection can give you great background information and help you understand the topic.
  • Academic Journals sources can give you more in depth information. 
  • News or Magazines sources can potentially have more current information as they can be published quickly. 

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Top Academic Databases

The top academic databases for controversial issues are are Academic OneFileAcademic Search Complete and Research Library. In these databases you'll need to search to see if your topics is covered. They are the best to try if you need scholarly and peer reviewed sources. 

 

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