Researching Pro & Con Issues

If you are doing a position paper or speech on a "pro & con" issue, this guide should help you! In order to make your position clear, you will need information to support it, and information to defend yourself from the opposing arguments. This information will come from many sources: books; chapters in books; articles in journals, magazines, and newspapers; statistical findings reported in articles, government reports, or Reference sources; public opinion polls; and promotional information resources from major national associations supporting one side or the other of the issue.

pro con imageBOOKS 
Use the Library Catalog
to search for books on your topic. Use the Subject / Keyword approach to find a book on your topic, and then look at the book's subject headings on the result display. Click on the exact Library of Congress subject heading that matches your topic to find more books on this exact topic in the Library.

Books in Series -- If you find a recent book on your topic in one of the series listed below, you will have an excellent start on your research. Each of the links below will take you to that part of our online Library Catalog where the individual titles in these series can be viewed and searched.

ARTICLES IN REFERENCE SOURCES  

  • Britannica Online This is the full-text online version of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Unlike the print edition, coverage for this online edition is current, ongoing, and cumulative, and includes links to major Internet sites.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Library Online This encyclopedias is available full-text and covers all subject areas.

  • Encyclopedia of Bioethics These volumes cover controversial ethical issues in the medical and biological areas; e.g., abortion, euthanasia, drug abuse, electroshock therapy, etc. Ref QH332.E52 2004 (1st Floor, Library North).
  • West's Encyclopedia of American Law This legal encyclopedia (written for non-lawyers) provides background information on controversial subjects from a legal perspective. Ref KF154.W47 2005 (1st Floor, Library North).

ARTICLES IN PERIODICALS
Electronic Journals or Magazines
 
Following the steps below to find these periodicals in electronic format:

  • Click on "Journals by title" link from the Library Web home page
  • Enter your journal or magazine title
  • From the journal search result page, click on a database name that covers the journal or magazine you are looking for. 
    Please note that you make sure to select a database that covers the time period you need 
  • Once you are in a database, click on a link usually named "Search within this publication"
  • Enter your search terms in the search boxes
  • Click on Search button
  • Congressional Digest -- Monthly magazine that devotes each issue to a current controversial topic before Congress. Online available in Academic Search Premier
    (an EBSCOHost database). 
  • National Journal -- Weekly magazine that covers current topics of national interest. Online available in Academic Search Premier (an EBSCOHost database).  

  • Vital Speeches of the Day -- This magazine provides the full texts of important speeches by contemporary leaders in such fields as economics, politics, education, business, labor relations, etc. Perhaps an important recent speech on your topic can be located there. Online available in Academic Search Premier (an EBSCOHost database)

Print Journals or Magazines

  • Issues and Controversies on File Contains fact-filled reports and analyses of current "hot topics" in American government and society. Each article concludes with a bibliography of recent sources (primarily newspaper and magazine articles).
    Ref E838 .I88
    (Index Table 3, 1st Floor, Library North).

ELECTRONIC DATABASES

  • CQ Researcher Electronic database devotes each issue to a current controversial topic.
  • Lexis/Nexis Congressional Electronic database provides more than 25 year of Congressional information, including facts and figures on almost any topics of current interest. Check out the Political News & Hot Topics section.

STATISTICS AND OPINION POLLS
Statistics and the results from opinion polls can be used to add weight or give credence to a position.

  • Gallup Organization   http://www.gallup.com/
    The organization's up-to-the-minute Polls News Service has a wealth of standard, longitudinal polls and a searchable interface. It also presents summary information, tables, charts and methodology.  Gallup Poll, a annual publication, gives the results of polls taken by the Gallup Organization over the preceding year on various controversial subjects.  Ref HN90.P8G35 (1st Floor, Library North). Online available in Business Source Premier (an EBSCOHost database)
  • Pro and Cons of Controversial Issues
    http://www.procon.org/
    Present research issues in a balanced, comprehensive, straightforward, and primarily pro-con format for free and without advertising on the internet.
  • Roper Center Public Opinion Archives http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/
    The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research is one of the world's leading archives of social science data, specializing in data from surveys of public opinion. The data held by the Roper Center range from the 1930s, when survey research was in its infancy, to the present. Most of the data are from the United States, but over 50 nations are represented.
  • Statistical Abstract of the United States http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/
    This database provide tables of statistical material covering a wide range of information. It is published annually, in both print and electronic form. The most recent print volume is kept at the Reference Desk: Ref HA202.A385 (1st Floor, Library North).

AUTHOR - This Web Page was authored by Barbara Case, and updated and edited by Holly Yu and Teresa Omidsalar. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions about the CONTENT of this page, please send them to Holly Yu at: hyu3@calstatela.edu.