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CST 110 Geiger: Home

Group Project Topics

Transgender Rights             Gun Control            Firearms             Social Media            Legalization of Marijuana             Fast Fashion

TIP 1: Search Terms

  • Straightforward for this assignment: (your topic) + opinion
  • However, you may have to be creative (trans = transgender, or LGBT; firearms or guns, etc)
  • You may want to further narrow down the search by using "united states" to keep it within the confine of the U.S.
  • You can also add words that indicate an age group, a state, or anything else that might influence your results.
  • Pay attention to the date. Opinions are timely. Sources older than 2 years may not be relevant for your purpose. Find where you can limit results to a range of publication or give one specific year. This is why newspapers and magazines or online sources may be a better choice for this assignment vs books or scholarly articles which take a long time to be published and do not reflect current opinion.
  • Think about whose opinion you are seeing when searching. Public opinion is informed and influenced in certain ways (other public opinion, social media, etc) whereas a professional opinion is based on research. You can drive your searches and results either by selecting your sources carefully or using public opinion instead of just opinion. 

TIP 2: Online Opinions

  • A useful way to find sources for opinion on current topics is to simply type your topic plus the word opinion in the search engine of your choice.
  • Opinions are everywhere online so choosing one can be a slippery slope down into questionable sources. Choose your source carefully and scrutinize based on credibility, common sense, accuracy, purpose and expertise. Be ready to justify your sources.

TIP 3: Murphy Library Search Box

  • On the library's homepage, type in your topic and search.
  • From the results page, use the filters on the left. Scroll down and choose "Newspapers" or "Magazine Articles" from the category "Resource Type". You can of course choose "Articles" which would include longer research based scholarly articles.

TIP 4: Combine Tip 1 and Tip 2

  • In the library search box, or using one of the database option below (EbscoHost or JSTOR), type in your topic + opinion. Because the library pays for subscription based journals, newspapers, magazines that would charge access fees using any search engine, you have instant access to them using the library as an entry point. 
  • Don't forget that a variety of sources can give interesting results: video interviews, short films, etc

Useful Databases

Free Online Sources a free online source for information and research on all sides of the debatable issues of the day. Their mission:

“To promote civility, critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting the pro and con arguments to debatable issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, freely accessible way.” is a non-biased information source. Sourced pros and cons of debatable issues, as well as a host of reference information relevant to those issues, thoroughly researched and compiled by research staff and editors. Their format achieves four objectives:

  1. First, by exposing readers to both sides of an issue in a side-by-side format, making it easier to see the difference in the facts and arguments offered by each side.
  2. Second, the pro and con format creates what we call “beneficial confusion,” causing readers to struggle with well-presented opposing positions, and, therefore, to engage in evaluative thinking to formulate their own views. Readers who have a pre-existing view of an issue may feel more confident in their view, or they may change their view. In either case, many will recognize that the process of acquiring and critically evaluating information has a beneficial and satisfying effect on their decision-making.
  3. Third, the format makes readers more confident and comfortable in discussing and debating their views with others, knowing what the “other side” may think.
  4. Fourth, challenging readers to examine both sides of an issue tends to reduce the likelihood that they will resort to the “demonization” of those who hold opposing views.

DebatbaseThe International Debate Education Association (IDEA) is a global network of debate organizations supporting young people in becoming critical thinkers and active citizens. Database of arguments for and against hundreds of debating topics. Includes background summaries, links to websites of interest and recommended books.

Roper Center of Public Opinion: provides survey research and public opinion information. On the landing page, you may want to switch to "website" instead of searching through specifically asked questions. This website also has a subject search that may be easier to use.


Engagement & Curriculum Collection Librarian

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Teri Holford
277 Murphy Library