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Researching Controversial Issues @ West Campus Library: Home

A guide to researching controversial issue topics at Valencia College libraries.

How to Use this Guide

This guide contains tips on finding information on both sides of a controversial issue.

The homepage has some general information on the types of resources you may want to look for.

Use the tabs across the top for help finding specific kinds resources.

Controversial Issue Resources in Brief

The following are some different types of resources you may want to explore when working on a controversial issue topic.

Background information

  • Encyclopedia articles: Provide a broad overview of a topic or concept. Begin here if you know little about your topic or need to provide definitions and history for your audience. Find encyclopedias in the library reference section or in Library Databases.
  • Pro/Con essays: Provide an overview of an issue including the arguments given by both sides. Available in books such as Opposing Viewpoints, At Issue and Taking Sides; also available in Library Databases.


  • Statistics: Numbers that show evidence to back up an argument. Web sites, especially government web sites, may be good sources for up-to-date statistics. Also find statistics in reference books and library databases.
  • Opinion poll data: Specific type of statistics that describe people's opinions about an issue or event. Available from the web sites of respected polling organizations.

Current Events

  • News reports: Stories that describe how your issue is impacting the world, the nation or a community. Find news reports on television, radio, and newspapers. Find collections of news reports in Library Databases.

Points of View

  • Opinion articles: Opinion articles such as Letters to the Editor or Editorials express the writer's point of view or that of the organization they represent. Find opinion articles in newspapers and Library Databases.
  • Organizations / Interest Groups: For many controversial issues there are organizations and interest groups that work and lobby for their side of the issue. Browse books and encyclopedias about these organizations and look for information on their web sites.
  • Scholarly journal articles: Expert research studies about the topic -- use these to get the scientific or expert point of view. Find scholarly journal articles in Library Databases.

Subject Guide

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Regina Seguin (Valencia College)
Valencia College - West Campus
Office: 6-326M
Mail Code: 4-4
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