WR121 Fisher: Taking a Stand
Researching a Social Issue: First Steps
For this assignment, you need to find research to support your position on a social issue, as well as have a working understanding of the arguments made by the opposition. Below you will find a few library resources to help you find argumentative essays and pro/con positions. These databases are great starting places, even if you don't have a topic in mind.
When your research requires you to look for different source types, please consult the resources in the books and articles tabs at the top of this page.
- Opposing Viewpoints (Gale In Context) This link opens in a new windowA one-stop source for information on current social issues. Includes viewpoint articles on both sides of an issue, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to websites, and full text magazine and newspaper articles. View the Opposing Viewpoints handout [pdf]
Opposing Viewpoints offers a list of topic ideas, and you can also search using keywords at the top of the screen.
When you click on a topic or search, you will be directed to a variety of different types of sources. You'll see magazine articles, academic articles, selected websites, and more.
A key feature of this database are the "viewpoint essays." These are essays solicited by the makers of this database for the purpose of showing students various arguments about the topic: think of them like debate-team arguments. They are founded in research and include bibliographies, but are not the same as published articles from magazines, journals, and newspapers.
- CQ Researcher This link opens in a new windowTopical, full text reports on controversial issues. Each report features a summary, chronology, and bibliography. Updated weekly.
CQ Researcher is a great place for finding a topic or learning more about a topic you already have. Click "Browse Topics" to see a list of subject areas, or type your keywords into the search box.
Reports in CQ Researcher will provide background information, a pro/con section, as well as a focused report on the main issues with the topic.
Be sure that the report you are using has a recent date: hopefully within the last few years.