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Controversial Issues


This Controversial Issues Research Guide helps you find information in books, library databases, and websites.

Books & eBooks

Certain book series are excellent resources on controversial issues.

Here are some examples:

Reference Books

Encyclopedias that specialize in specific subjects (i.e. science, law, etc.) go into more depth than general encyclopedias. These are good resources to find history, overviews, basic facts, and for getting ideas on how to narrow a broad topic. Encyclopedias of social issues and those covering ethics are particularly useful for background information on controversial topics.

Here are some examples:

Citation Help

Get Started

Not sure what to research for?

Check Browse All Topics in Opposing Viewpoints in Context for overviews in subject areas you might be interested in.

Once you choose a topic, narrow it down to a question, with at least two defensible sides. 

Find resources for both sides of the issue; not just ones that you agree with. ‚Äč


These book series are great for these types of topics.

Contemporary World Issues - Search the library catalog for "contemporary world issues" to find all of our holdings in this series. 

Current Controversies - Search library catalog with "current controversies" AND your topic

Taking Sides - Search library catalog with "taking sides" AND your topic

Opposing Viewpoints - Search library catalog with "opposing viewpoints" AND your topic

Of course, there may be print resources on your individual topic as well.  Enter your search in the Library Catalog search box below:

SEARCH MBU Library Catalog

Library Research Databases

These databases are particularly good for browsing for topic ideas or finding overviews of topics. Off-campus availability is limited to current students, faculty, and staff. From the Jung-Kellogg Library homepage choose Databases A-Z, or try one of these databases:

Websites for Exploring Controversial Issues

Hot Topics Guide from O'Keefe Library, St. Ambrose University, Iowa

Oxford Reference is the premier online reference product, spanning 25 different subject areas, bringing together 2 million digitized entries across Oxford University Press Dictionaries, Companions, and Encyclopedias. provides controversial issues presented in a balanced, comprehensive, straightforward, and primarily pro-con format.

Public Agenda: Issues Guides provides perspectives and analysis of public attitudes toward controversial social issues. The Discussion Starters section provides approaches to solving specific public policy problems, along with the pros, cons and trade-offs of each choice.

Help with Research

You can get help with your research by emailing us at, or by calling the MBU Library at (314) 329-2320 during our normal business hours. 

Off-campus access is available using your full name as the logon username and your student ID plus MBU (i.e. 1123456MBU) as your password.

Citation Help
How to cite sources, plus other writing assistance information.

Search Tips

The following features enable you to search electronic databases more efficiently.

Use AND, OR, or NOT to include or exclude specific terms.

Use limiters to limit searches to specific criteria such as publication date, periodical title, full-text, scholarly (peer-reviewed), etc.

Keep in mind that searching for the words "pros" or "cons" will not always find information on a particular side of a controversial issue.  Consider using words like:

support, supporters, advocates, in favor of, benefits, advantages

oppose, opponents, opposition, disadvantages, risks, consequences

Can't Find It at MBU?

Search the MOBIUS catalog to find books, journal titles, and audiovisual materials not available at the Jung-Kellogg Library on main campus. Library materials requested through MOBIUS are delivered to the Jung-Kellogg Library on Main Campus.

Interlibrary Loan Article Request Form 
Use this form to request articles not available through the Jung-Kellogg Library's databases or print periodicals collection.