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Speak Your Mind: Pro-Con Resources

Using...


SIRS

Research Tips

 To familiarize yourself with the topic, use Wikipedia or another general reference.

 Check out the "TALK" page on Wikipedia and use Pro-Con resources to skim and study arguements on both side of the issue.

 Keep a running list of keywords.  This includes terminology and key experts.

 During deep search, don't waste time. Read abstracts before selecting articles.

 Use "T-Notes" to juxtapose your arguements.  Knowing counter arguements helps you to prepare arguements in support of your point of view.  Note that any article may reveal clues to both counter arguements worth exploring.

 Google individuals making claims or arguments to determine their credibility (credentials and biases).

Broaden your search.  Also try:

Pay close attention to news articles and critical essays.

Book Series in Our Library

Annotation Template  Google Doc | Printable PDF 

This template will help you to develop annotations that both summarize and evaluate any information source you use.  It is used across the curriculum in the production of annotated bibliographies and web pages.

In our library (in print and online)

  • BattleGround
  • Contemporary World Issues
  • Opposing Viewpoints
  • Taking Sides

Books in these series feature pro/con articles addressing a variety of questions within the larger topic.  

Newspaper Op/Ed

Op/Ed Sources

Editorial news and opinion sources evaluate news and events.  Whether these sources originate in newspapers, magazines, or on television/radio broadcast, they are not focused on reporting the news "objectively." Rather, they present events from one or opposing "editorial" points-of-view.

Newspaper Op/ED

Chicago Tribute Commentary

International Herald Tribune: Editorials and Opinions

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Opinions

New York Times  Opinions

Washington Post: Opinions

Editorial Magazines

 Editorials magazines often feature analysis of controversial issues. The editorial slant (i.e. liberal, conservative), of these publications result in expertly written articles and columns that also demonstrate media bias.

  1. You can locate editorial articles in support of your thesis using EBSCOHost (through Badgerlink).
  2. Select Academic Search Complete and MasterFILE Complete as your databases.  
  3. Narrow your search to a specific publication by using the advanced search option. Start by looking for articles these magazines.


Conservative   

 American Spectator 
 The Economist        
 National Journal
 National Review      


Liberal

 Common Cause
 Mother Jones
 The Nation
 Progressive
  Reason

Varied
Viewpoints

 Vital Speeches of the Day
 Congressional Digest

Evaluating Op/Ed Sources

  • Does the publication or broadcast demonstrate an editorial slant?
    Examine sections/segments marked as editorial (columns, letters to the editor, etc.), advertisements featured. Photographs and headlines can also indicate point of view.
  • Does the author have an editorial bias?
    Google the author's name, in quotes, alongside terms that identify area of expertise or your topic.  Review results that indicate place of employment, education, political and organizational affiliations, etc.  
  • Is the article editorial?
    Look for opinions, superlatives, judgments, claims, and other elements that indicate bias.  Does the article include citations (formal or links) to credible sources, or does it simply parrot ideas presented in other editorial pieces?  

Debate.org

This is "a free online community where intelligent minds from around the world come to debate online and read the opinions of others."  While the site encouages you to "research today’s most controversial debate topics and cast your vote on our opinion polls," it's important to remember that this is a FORUM!  Unless you can establish the professional credibility of a contributor, these comments represent PUBLIC OPINION, not fact.  Use them as anecdotal evidence only.

This site presents information in a pro-con format, aimed at "promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan" manner.  The site provides good topic overviews with summaries of both pro and con arguements made by key players in the debate.  Remember that these summaries are subject to error.  Use the information in the summaries to locate original sources before reusing quotes.  If you quote directly from this source, note that the quote is "according to the editors at ProCon.org."

Sponsored by the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), Debatepedia utilizes the same wiki technology powering Wikipedia to currate arguements around controversial topics.  This resource is useful for gathering links to original resources.  As with any open-edited resource, it's important to remember that the references are subject to error or distortion. Also, check out, Debatabase, featured on IDEA's website.  The Top 100 Debates section provides useful overviews of pro-con arguements written by experienced debaters at the high school and collegiate level.  

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