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Controversial Issues

Writing a debate or argumentative research paper? Here's how to get started researching controversial issues.

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Selecting a Topic

Here are some basic tips for selecting a topic for any research paper. 

Choose: a topic that interests you. You're more likely to enjoy the research process, if you like the topic. 

Make sure: that your topic is not so broad that you are overwhelmed with information.

Make sure: that your topic is not so narrow that you can't find enough information.

Limit: your topic to a time period if necessary. For example, 2, 5 or 10 years.

Limit: your topic to a geographical area if necessary. For example, the United States or Kentucky or Louisville.

Consider: how much information you need. For example, your professor may require 3 scholarly articles, 1 book, and 1 newspaper article. It's best to know what you need before you even start looking.

Start: your research early to eliminate stress and anxiety.

Selecting a Topic

Stumped about what to write about? Here are a couple places to get ideas. A librarian or writing instructor can help you narrow a topic that is too broad.

Credo has a really neat feature for exploring topics called a Mind Map. You can see in the example below how the search term links out to other related concepts that can be explored. Try it on your own topic by clicking "View in Credo" in the bottom right corner. 

One helpful notes on Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints is that if you click on the "Browse Issues" tab right beneath the light bulb icon, you will find a list of topics.