Research Guide: Researching an Argument

This guide will help you research and find evidence to support an argument.

Books

Finding controversy in books

Find books on the shelf that contain essays similar to those in the Opposing Viewpoints and Points of View databases

Type one of these series names in the Primo / Voyager search box below:

  • At Issue
  • Current Controversies
  • Opposing Viewpoints

The existing argument

Examining the existing argument

The next step in researching your argument is to investigate, read, and evaluate any current points of view around your topic.

As you do this, you will inform your own argument. Reading others' views and arguments may point you to evidence, but ultimately the argument you formulate must be uniquely yours.

Find Public Opinion & Existing Argument

Using Editorials

Editorials are a great way to find reasoned opinions on current controversial topics. Use these specialized searches to find full-text editorials in the library's databases and on the Web.


Using Opposing Viewpoints

  • As shown in the image below, you can carry out a keyword search at the top of the page, or you can select advanced search

  • You can choose "Browse Issues" from the top menu to see a list of topical articles

  •  Issues have multiple, informed sides. Learn more about those perspectives by looking at "Viewpoints". 

  • Just above the results, you can see a list of all the types of sources your search resulted in, such as videos, images, viewpoints,academic articles, etc.

  • This is a great place to search, but be sure to search other databases as well, as the section is limited in Opposing Viewpoints and not all topics will be covered here.

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screenshot of the search results page, pointing out how to narrow your search as written in text above image


Using CQ Researcher

  • This 'At Issue' (also called Pro/Con) page in a CQ report on abortion highlights two opposing editorials on access to abortion from an economic standpoint.

  • Look for these types of pages relevant to your topic.

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image of the Pro/Con section of a CQ Researcher report

Limiting to editorials in the databases

Editorials are a great way to find reasoned opinions on current controversial topics. Use these specialized searches to find full-text editorials in the library's databases. 


In Academic Search Complete

In this database you can search using a keyword, and then add "editorials" in as an actual Subject Term (selecting "SU Subject Terms" from the "Select a Field (optional)" dropdown as shown in the image below:

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editorials


In ProQuest

In this database, you can use the "Document Type" limiter as outlined in the text and images below:

  • First, type in your search terms
    • Be sure to use quotation marks around specific terms to search the terms as a single concept, rather than two independent words
  • Here you can also limit to "Full-text" - so you will only see results for articles that you can immediately download. 
  • Based on your topic, you may need to also limit by date to find the most recent articles. Choose an appropriate date range.

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screenshot of Proquest, showing the search boxes, highlighting the "full-text" box to check, and the date range option to narrow your results if needed. 


  • Then, as shown in the image below, scroll down on the advanced search page to limit by "Document Type" - choosing "Editorials" from the options before searching.

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screenshot of the "document type" limiting option on the advanced search page of ProQuest

Searching the web

Consider the links below as sources to find editorials online

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image of an article from debatabse

Pro/Con in CQ Researcher

Finding Pro/Con Arguments in CQ Researcher

Reports in the CQ Researcher database include a pro/con section. Two authors will debate one small question related to the larger topic.

  • Sample "Pro/Con" section in a CQ Research report:

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Pro/con section in CQ Researcher report