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How do I... find pro & con arguments?

 

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  • Library Databases
  • Reference Resources
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Pro & Con Arguments

Pro / Con arguments are often useful when writing persuasive, inquiry, or position papers. Researching varied viewpoints and opinions also reveals the discourse surrounding a topic more comprehensively. But, how do you find these pro / con conversations?

 

Here are a few SEARCH TIPS:

  • Think about the types of sources that report on current events and controversial topics. For example: popular magazines, newspapers, blogs or web sites.

  • Think about how and where opinions are usually expressed in publications. For example:
    • editorials
    • commentaries
    • interviews
    • speeches
    • issue briefs
  • Don't use the words 'pro/con' when you search. Instead, try search terms like:
    • analysis
    • opinion
    • commentary
    • public opinion
    • evaluation
    • surveys
    • political aspects
    • speech
    • opponents
    • proponents
  • Try searching some of the recommended databases and sources listed on this guide. See recommended databases, reference sources, and more by selecting the tabs above.

 

CQ Researcher
This database reports on issues of health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, technology, the environment and more. The reports provide an overview and a pro / con section. CU

 

  • Type your keywords/search terms in the search box
  • To view individual reports click on the title of the report
  • Every CQ Researcher Report includes a Pro/Con section

 

Academic Search Premier
This scholarly multi-disciplinary database provides full text journal coverage for nearly all academic areas of study - including social sciences, humanities, education, computer sciences, engineering, language and linguistics, arts & literature, medical sciences, and ethnic studies. CU

 

  • Enter your topic as keywords/search terms in the search box.
  • Limit your results by selecting specific document types such as editorial.
  • Use the suggested terms listed on the Tips tab. For example: opinions, proponents, opponents, or commentary.

 

Business Source Complete
Online indexing and abstracts for the most important scholarly business journals back as far as 1886 are included.

 

  • Type your keywords/search terms in the search box.
  • Limit your results by selecting specific document types such as editorial.
  • To view individual editorials click on the HTML Full Text or PDF Full Text link.

 

LexisNexis Academic
Lexis Nexis Academic provides access to content from newspapers and magazines, from both the US and abroad.

 

  • Select the News link and select Newspapers & Wires.
  • Limit to source type, under select sources choose type of source.
  • Limit by date range, using the Specify Date section.
  • Click Search.

Opposing Views

This website chooses reliable experts to provide arguments from both sides of controversial topics in the areas of Politics, Society, Health, Money, and Religion.

 

Proquest Newsstand
Index w/ full-text of articles in Wall Street Journal and 500+ other major U.S. and international newspapers, news wires and other news sources. CU

 

  • Enter your keywords/search terms. Add some suggested terms listed on the Tips tab. For example: opinions, proponents, opponents, or commentary.
  • If a specific date range is desired, select options under Date Range.
  • Click Search.

 

ProQuest Historical Newspapers: New York Times 1851-2001
New York Times (1851-2001) offers full page and article images with searchable full text back to the first issue. The collection includes digital reproductions providing access to every page from every available issue. CU

 

  • Enter your keywords/search terms with some of the suggested terms listed on the Tips tab. For example: opinions, proponents, opponents, or commentary.
  • If a specific date range is desired, select an option under Date Range.
  • Click Search.

 

For more newspaper databases, see: News & Newspapers

 

PUBLIC OPINION DATABASES

 

iPoll 
Search and retrieve US public opinion data from the comprehensive archives of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research. A full-text, searchable retrieval system, the iPOLL online database is organized at the question-level, archived from national public opinion surveys since 1935. CU

 

Polling the nations 
A compilation of more than 14,000 surveys conducted by more than 1000 polling organizations in the United States and more than 100 other countries. CU


References Resources are an excellent place to start on a topic.These sources will provide a background and overview of your topic; they typically will detail all sides of the issues; and they will include a bibliography of additional research sources both pro and con.

 

Try some of these general reference sources:

Encyclopedia Britannica 
Gale Virtual Reference Library
Oxford Digital Reference Shelf

And more...

 

The series listed below explore current topics in depth. The books in the series examine different voices and viewpoints on the issue. They also include a bibliography of periodical articles, books, and organizations to contact for more information on the topic.

Opposing Viewpoints Series

Taking Sides

Contemporary World Issues

 

There are numerous websites that may help you explore pro/con opinions on your topic. The resources below are a small sampling. These sites will require your evaluation of the author, intended purpose, audience, bias, and overall credibility.

Brookings Institute
US organization founded in 1916 that covers public policy issues through reports, analysis, and commentary.
  
US Department of State - Policy Issues    
Policy issues and reports generated by the US Department of state on international topics and issues.

 

Open Democracy
A UK educational nonprofit organization that hosts online debates from participants around the world. Covering themes such as: arts and cultures, conflicts, democracy, power, ecology, faith, ideas, globalization, media, internet, and people. 
 

Public Agenda
A nonprofit opinion research organization that covers topics and issues related to American life and concern: issues such as immigration, education, religion, foreign policy, etc.

 

UC-Boulder Government Publications Library Topic Guides
Several current issues and topics are listed here along with numerous links to additional resources and research.

Updated 3/2011 AC & CS