Steely Library phone number: 859.572.5457
Researching for an Argumentative Paper or Speech
This tutorial is designed to introduce a beginning researcher to credible and reliable resources available in Steely Library. It will provide some tips for researching topics related to a persuasive assignment.
Characteristics of an Argumentative Assignment
An argumentative paper or speech is persuasive in nature. The purpose is to convince the audience to adopt a point of view. This is achieved by not only expressing your opinion, but backing up your opinion with facts. Facts can come from many different resources, including written news reports, research in scholarly journals, online statistics, the television, a book, etc.
How Do I Choose a Topic?
Topics are usually controversial in nature, such as abortion, gun control or global warming. It's easier (and more interesting) to research a topic you find interesting. Try to argue a point of view you feel passionate about. If you're having trouble coming up with a topic, a number of the resources mentioned below can help you select a topic as well.
Search 3 popular book series to find books on hot topics.
Please refer to the tutorial Choose a Research Topic & Establish a Research Plan for further help selecting a topic.
Research Using Steely Resources
A number of resources are available to NKU students, staff, and faculty that can aid in your research, no matter your level of research expertise. This tutorial will focus on a few resources that are helpful for finding information on controversial issues. The resources highlighted below are useful for finding a topic and provide information with multiple points of view on various topics:
- CQ Researcher (online)
- Facts on File: Issues and Controversies (online)
- Opposing Viewpoints series (print)
- Contemporary World Issues series (print)
This online database is a collection of reports researched and written by journalists. It covers hundreds of controversial and current event issues. It can be searched easily using the "QUICK SEARCH" box at the top (use keywords) or use the "Browse by Topic" feature on the left side of the screen to choose a topic of interest. Full-length reports are usually 20+ pages and include an overview of the topic, background and chronology of events related to the topic, an assessment of the current situation, tables and maps, and bibliographies. In addition, many of the reports have a pro/con section. In this section, professionals related to the field (professors, administrators, congressional leaders, etc.) present two opposing points of view related to the topic. This section is particularly helpful for those writing or presenting an argument.
The pro/con section can be browsed on its own. Click on the Pro/Con link on the left side of the screen. This is an excellent tool to use if you haven't selected a topic yet, because you can browse through hundreds of topics and link directly to opposing viewpoints on the issue.
This online database can be accessed on campus or at home from the library's website, on the Databases page. Scroll down the page to select CQ Researcher.
Facts on Files: Issues and Controversies
As the title suggests, this online resource highlights controversial topics. As with CQ Researcher, it is a collection of in-depth news reports. It is also a useful tool for selecting a topic. On the left side of the screen, users can browse "Issues: Pro and Con". A box on the home page also helps users select a research topic.
This online database can be accessed on campus or at home from the library's website, on the Databases page.
Search 3 popular book series to find a book on your topic, or use the instructions below to narrow by individual series.
The Opposing Viewpoints series is a series of books available at Steely Library. Each book in the series focuses on a different issue and contains several essays written by professionals in that field. For example, one book in the series, International Adoptions, contains chapters such as: International Adoptions Should Be Encouraged; International Adoptions Should Be Discouraged; International Adoptions Alienate Children From Cultural Heritage; and Celebrity International Adoptions are Not In the Best Interest of the Child. Steely Library holds hundreds of these titles.
To find books in this series, go to http://library.nku.edu. In the Quick Links box, select "Library Catalog - NKUIRE." On the next screen, click on the icon to "Search the Library Catalog." Click on the "Advanced" tab.
Type in: opposing viewpoints in the first search box. Change the "All Fields" box to "Series." This tells the computer to search for the series "Opposing Viewpoints" in the catalog. When you search this, you will see a list of all the books in the Opposing Viewpoints series that are housed in Steely Library.
If you would like to narrow your search, add another word in the second box above, such as crime. This will tell the computer to search for only the books in the Opposing Viewpoints series that have something to do with crime.
If you need help locating a book on the shelf or using NKUIRE, please come to the third floor Public Service Desk or use any of our Ask Steely Library services.
A second series of books held in Steely Library examines world issues. The series is called Contemporary World Issues. Most of these books can be found on the 3rd floor of the library in the reference section, which means they can't be checked out. However the chapters are usually short and focus on different points of view related to the topic of the title. These books can be searched in NKUIRE the same way you would search for the Opposing Viewpoints series.
The resources presented here are just a snapshot of useful resources in Steely Library's online and print collections. If you need help using any of the resources mentioned above or need further clarification, please use any of our Ask Steely Library services.
Steely Library phone number: 859.572.5457