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COMS 321: Rhetorical Discourse: Pro/Con Arguments

In addition to Finding Articles and Books/Media on your topics, the following specialized resources can help you locate opinion pieces and other sources for arguments for and against a specific issue.

Finding Pro/Con Arguments in Library & Internet Resources

Always evaluate the quality of the source of the opinion, paying particular attention to the credibility of the author. The following are selected sources to consult. Ask a Librarian for additional help finding pro/con arguments.

Reference Databases

  • Opposing Viewpoints In Context (Gale) (Features "viewpoint articles" (pro/con arguments), topic overviews, full-text magazine, academic journal, and newspaper articles; primary source documents, statistics, images and podcasts, and links to web sites. Watch this video to learn more.)
  • CQ Researcher (Includes pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions, sections on background and chronology; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; and bibliographies of key sources.)

Newspaper Databases 

  • Proquest Newspapers (Select Editorial, Letter, and/or Commentary from the "Document Types" menu.)
  • Ethnic NewsWatch and Ethnic Newswatch: A History(Proquest) (Select Editorial, Letter, and/or Commentary from the "Document Types" menu.)
  • LexisNexis Academic (Use the "Search by Subject or Topic" option and select "All News." Next, click "Advanced Options," and select "Newspapers" or other options from the "Source Type" menu, and "Editorials & Opinions" from the list of article types. You may also limit by publication location and the date. After you click "Apply," enter your search terms in the search box. From the results page, you can sort by relevance or newest to oldest, limit to specific subjects, etc. from the left side of the page, or search within results to further narrow down. Watch this video from LexisNexis. )
  • News on the Web (Links to major news organizations' websites.)


  • ProCon.org (ProCon.org is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public charity that has no government affiliations of any kind. Its mission statement is: "Promoting critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, primarily pro-con format.")
  • Public Agenda Online (Non-profit organization provides non-partisan research reports  and public engagement on divisive issues.)

Congressional Hearings

Since the United States Congress has considered what to do about all kinds of controversial issues, and Congressional committees have the power to require people to testify at hearings, they can be a great source of expert opinion (often includes supporting facts).

  • Library Catalog (Search for relevant hearings by keywords, such as "congress and hearing and immigration." Includes links to recent hearings available online and older hearings on microfiche.)
  • FDSys: Federal Digital System (Select "Congressional Hearings" as the collection to be searched and specify your keywords in the full-text search box.)


Public Opinion Polls and Surveys

Public opinion polls and surveys measure attitudes and public opinion on specific issues.

  • Roper Center for Public Opinion Research (Archives of public opinion surveys. Search the "iPOLL Databank," which is organized at the question level, from national public opinion surveys, 1935 to present. Search for datasets using "RoperExpress," which allows downloading of about 75% of public opinion studies conducted in the US and many recent studies from outside of the US.)
  • Public Opinion Polls and Surveys (Additional sources of polls and surveys from a variety of free websites.)