Booth Library
Eastern Illinois University
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Eng 1001: Olsen

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Collaborative Position Argument

​You 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.
noteThese 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.)
Bariatric surgery
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
VA hospitals PTSD
minimum wage e cigarettes
animals in captivity (zoos, SeaWorld, etc.) the anti-vaccination movement
unions pensions
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.
Get informed!
Before you begin your in-depth research consult a reference resource for basic information to help you learn about your topic.
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. 

CQ Researcher: 
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 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
Opposing Viewpoints
Reference Shelf

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
Researching books and periodicals

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
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