The information below will assist you with choosing a controversial topic and finding research materials presenting both sides of an issue. Even if you are not writing a Pro & Con paper, these sources are a good starting point for providing background information on a topic and to help narrow your focus to one or two issues for your paper. Once you have identified the issues, you will be equipped to begin selecting articles from research databases, books, and other resources to support your viewpoint.
Provides a complete one-stop resource for information on social issues. Access controversial viewpoint articles, topic overviews, statistics, primary documents, links to Web sites, and full-text magazine and newspaper articles.
Tip: Click the “Browse Issues” link in the site navigation bar for an A-Z list of popular topics.
The online version of the monthly publication presenting analysis and debate on important public policy issues facing the U.S. Congress. Each month is devoted to a single controversial topic (Welfare Reform, School Prayer, Chemical Weapons, etc.) that includes pro and con position papers from members of Congress. Also available full-text in Academic Search Premier Library database. (Print copy available in the Library)
A weekly online publication that covers current and controversial issues. Complete summaries, discussion covering all sides of the issue, and annotated bibliographies are provided for each topic. Users are able to view the current issue, search past issues, or browse by topic, pro/con, and date.
Tip: Click the “Browse Reports” tab at the top of the homepage for a list of popular topics and pro/con issues.
Taking Sides This is a series of volumes, each containing issues within a particular subject area: Bioethics, Education, Politics, Law, Psychology, etc. Each issue contains a background introduction, preceded by two opposing argumentative articles and a postscript summary at the end. The library also maintains a Keyword Index [PDF] to the series. (Recent editions are located in the Index-Ref. section near the Reference Desk. Older editions are located in the Library Stacks for circulation.)
Opposing Viewpoints A series of volumes that in part makes up the content of the Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center database described above. Each volume focuses on a broad controversial topic (Gun Control, Hate Groups, Pornography, etc.) and includes pro and con articles on specific issues within the topic. (Located in the library stacks)
Information Plus A good series for background and statistical information on a variety of contemporary social issues including Abortion, Capital Punishment, Immigration, and many more. Each volume compiles current and historical information taken from court decisions, public laws, public opinion polls, and statistical tables and charts. Current editions are located in the Index-Reference section near the Reference Desk. Past editions are available in the library stacks. Note: Separate titles are also available in eBook format within the Gale Virtual Reference Library via the Library databases.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, the NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulations. Policy issues include education, immigration, health care reform, minimum wage, and welfare.
A nonprofit and nonpartisan organization whose mission is "Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues..." Each issue is supported by its own home page and contains in-dept resources on the topic.
A nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that provides perspectives and analysis of public attitudes toward controversial social issues. The Discussion Starters section provides approaches to solving specific public policy problems, along with the pros, cons and trade-offs of each choice.