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Current & Controversial Issues

Important Search Tips

If you need to show evidence from contrasting and many points of view within an argumentative or informative paper, keep in mind:

1. Do not expect to find one article that covers all viewpoints. The point of your research is to synthesize information from many sources that address the contrasting sides or various aspects.

2. Do not use the words "pro" or "con" in your search.  Consider some of the viewpoint terms listed below:
Neutral terms: argument, case, controversy, debate, effect, impact, issue, legislation, opinion, policy, proposal, propose, solution, viewpoint. 
Pro terms: advantages, advocate, agree, benefits, in favor, proponent, strengths, support, sympathize.
Con terms: antagonist, consequences, disadvantages, disagree, drawback, limitations, problems, risks, shortcoming.

3. Search for words and phrases that address what you expect to be the different viewpoints or aspects of your topic. For instance, if researching the future of Social Security, you might use "social security" and reform, "social security" and shortfall, or increase and "retired population" and "social security."

4.  Do not type your entire research question into the search.  For example, "Should the United States government continue to provide Social Security as a retirement option?" Instead, turn your question into keywords and phrases - "united states" and debate and "social security" and future.

Can't Think of a Topic?

Use these database and news links to find a topic.

Choosing a Topic

Video Credit: North Carolina State University Library

Learn More about Your Topic (Great Starts)