Collaborative Position ArgumentYou will be choosing a current issue and arguing “for” or “against” it.
For this collaborative essay, you must demonstrate an understanding of the topic itself, as well as the different angles, opinions, theories, etc. surrounding the topic. Additionally, your job is to inform the reader about various “sides” or aspects of the issue or problem, including views that oppose your own.
It is crucial that you support your position with carefully-chosen, appropriate scholarly sources. The completed project should be a balance of your position/ thoughts/ideas on the topic, counterarguments, and support from sources.
Here are some general possibilities that could lead to argument topics.
You may choose something not on this list, but it must be approved by me.
note: These are not paper topics, these are broad issues that could lead to a more focused and informed position from which you will be arguing.
|PRISM (government surveillance)||government-enforced food in school cafeterias |
|emergency contraception and teen access||“mandatory” community service programs|
|school uniforms||student athletes being paid or not|
|fracking (hydraulic fracturing)||“concealed carry” gun laws in Illinois|
|gang problems and methods of eradicating||bilingual instruction in schools|
|employers who refuse to hire people based on their health choices
(smoking, weight, etc.)
|antidepressant use in juveniles||football, boxing, or other sports and injuries|
|treatment of immigrants||cruise ship regulations, inspections|
|homeschooling||mass shootings in America and/or in schools|
|gun ownership/availability and mental illness||online courses|
|minimum wage||e cigarettes|
|animals in captivity (zoos, SeaWorld, etc.)||the anti-vaccination movement|
|Food related topics: soda, energy drinkds, fast food, GMO foods||police militarization|
|cost benefit analysis of recycling||Cost of higher education, student debt, "is colllege worth it?"|
|emergency contraception, teen access||social media/ privacy issues/ "big data"|
|impoact of methamphetamine on society|
|how cellphones affect communication and/or health||Something related to the music INDUSTRY (not a report on a musician or a style)|
BANNED TOPICS: abortion, legalization of marijuana, steroids, gay marriage, violence in media.
Listed below are links to some suggested reference tools that will help you identify important people, events, legislation, terminology, and related issues which will, in turn, inform your ongoing research.
This large series of books contains summaries of contemporary controversial issues being discussed and legislated in the U.S. Congress. It is a paper resource and is located in the Reference collection under the call number H35 .E351x. The library has volumes from 1991 to the present. The most recent year is located behind the reference desk. Each volume contains a cumulative index which means if you look in the index to 2013, you'll find entries referring you all the way back to 1991. It is updated monthly.
Issues and Controversies on File
The Issues and Controversies database provides analyses and explanations of opposing points of view for more than 800 hot topics. The articles include chronologies, illustrations, maps, tables, sidebars, bibliographies, and more.
The ProCon.org database presents controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan primarily pro-con format.
Opposing Viewpoints Series
This is a series of over 160 books in Booth Library’s collection. Each book focuses on a different topic, discusses it in depth, and provides information on both the pro and con aspects. To find them, do a Keyword search in the EIU Online Catalog with the terms “opposing viewpoints series” in quotes.
Other useful book series featuring two sides of an issue
Click on a link below to see a list of titles in each series.
At Issue (Greenhaven Press)
Contemporary World Issues
Historical Guides to Controversial Issues in America
Additional online reference tools:
Gale Virtual Reference Collection
Electronic reference books across all topics
Reference Books on EBSCOHost
Search the EBSCO interface for entries in electronic encyclopedias.
Springer eBooks: Reference Works
Over 400 reference books on aspects of Science Technology and Medicine
Sage Knowledge E-Reference Collection
Selected SAGE eBook and eReference content, including scholarly monographs, reference works, handbooks, series, professional development titles, and more.
List all electronic reference tools
The Library website is your portal to information of all kinds, in many different forms such as books, DVDs, encylopedia entries, newspapers or journal articles. You need to understand which search tools to use in order to find and access these different forms of information. You also need to understand the best strategies to use to get quick and efficient access to the information.
Let's talk about finding paper, or "hard copies" of books. The search tool we use to find out what the library has and where it is shelved is called the library catalog. There is only one EIU Library catalog
When you enter terms to search in the the catalog, what is returned to you is a list of book titles and the information on how to find the book. One part of the description is called a call number. The alphanumeric (containing letters and numbers) call number tells you where the book is located in the library.
You will also want to search for newspaper, magazine and journal articles.To find these sources we use a different search tool, an online resource called an article database. There are many article databases. The librarians have organized all the article databases that are available to us into different subject areas. A good general place to begin is the "Articles" tab search box on the library home page.