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Controversial Issues   Tags: argumentative_essays, controversial issues  

General guidelines, resources, and instruction on researching controversial issues and writing an argumentative paper.
Last Updated: Oct 7, 2014 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Controversial Issues


Context for Writing

In composing a postion paper, you must take a stance on a debatable topic and support it with facts, reasons, and examples.


    What You Need to Know

    Understanding Your Assignment

    Before you begin looking for information you should make sure you understand your assignment. Some good questions are:

    • How many pages?
    • How many sources?
    • What kinds of sources?
      • Books
      • Articles
      • Websites
    • What format?

    Your professor is your best resource to answer these questions.

    image of student with her hand raised


    Professor Torres-GuimarĂ£es - ENG 52 - Fall 2014

    Choose a topic from the list provided by Professor Guimarães. For example but not limited to...

    • Reality TV show on children
    • Social networking website on children
    • Eating disorders in teenagers/adults
    • Global Warming
    • Texting while driving
    • Technology on people
    • Bullying

    Additional Criteria:

    • 5 pages in length, not including the Works Cited page
    • Works Cited page
    • MLA format
    • Cite from at least 3 credible sources; at least two of these sources must be from a scholarly journal, a book or an anthology.

    Controversial Issue Paper

    image of scaleWriting an argumenative paper on a controversial issue requires that you look at both sides of an issue and take a position on one side or the other.  You not only take a stand on an issue, but you must defend it against opposing points of view.  Therefore, your argumentative research paper will involve advocacy and persuasion. 

    What to do:

    • Select your topic
    • Research the issues surrounding the topic
    • Read other writers’ arguments for and against
    • Take a stand
    • Present supporting evidence in favor of your position
    • Defend your position against opposing points of view
    • Anticipate and deflect arguments against your position
    • Make your case persuasively 

    Research Basics - Step by Step

    Breaking Down The Research Process  

      research process image

    The following outline gives a simple and effective strategy for finding information for a research paper and documenting the sources you find. Depending on your topic and your familiarity with the library, you may need to rearrange or recycle these steps. Adapt this outline to your needs. We are ready to help you at every step in your research.

    1. Choose a topic - or have one assigned
    2. Understand your topic
      • Background reading
      • Consider a main focus
      • Refine your topic
    3. Search Sources
      • Find Books
      • Find Articles
      • Find Websites
    4. Write your paper - Informative, Analytical, Argumentative, Critical
    5. Cite your sources

              Find a Topic Guide

              Click below to see if your topic has a research guide.


              Library Exercise

              You can use the worksheet below to guide you through an exercise for finding sources.


              Talk to a Librarian

              Need Help 

              The Cerritos College Librarians can help you with your research in a variety of ways:

              Librarians are available during library hours to answer your questions by phone or chat.
              (562) 860-2451 x2425


              Monica Lopez

              Profile Picture of Monica Lopez

              Contact Info:

              Librarian/Associate Professor
              Acquisitions and Collection Development Coordinator
              562-860-2451 Ext. 2434

              Phone: (562) 860-2451 x2434



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