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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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Using Library Search

Here are tips to help you search the library catalog using Library Search:

  • Enter search words relating to your topic.
  • Use quotation marks to search for exact phrases: "capital punishment"
  • Remember to try lots of different combinations of your search terms.
  • Don't forget to limit your search results to your home library, such as Jefferson or Jefferson Downtown -- if you want only books available from the Downtown Library. If you've already done your search, you can always apply a filter afterward on the side of the results page.
  • If you want only the most current books, use the Sort By tool on the side of the results list. Change from Relevance to Date-Newest.

You won't just find books when you search the catalog. You also might find articles, reference sources, electronic resources (books you read on your computer) and films. Use the Resource Type filter on the side of the results page to select which types of items you want.

Finding books

Because of the wide variety of topics that could be a good subject for a persuasive essay, there is no single call number to search under in the Library of Congress classification system. However, many social issues -- such as homelessness, alcoholism and homosexuality, to name just a few -- fall under H, which is designated for the Social Sciences. But if your topic produces a call number that falls outside of the H class, don't be alarmed.

If you find a book that you'd like to check out, be sure to write down the call number - it should look something like this: HV 4708 .E93 2009.

Unsure where to find the H section or any other LC class? Ask a librarian.

Reading call numbers tutorial

This short video from Pollak Library from California State University, Fullerton explains how to use Library of Congress call numbers to find books.