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Jessie Ball duPont Library

Controversies & Solutions


This guide is designed to help you find fundamental resources for research in the area of rhetoric. The resources here are by no means comprehensive, but they will help you achieve a sound start to your work. The research process is often nonlinear and you will probably find yourself returning to certain steps and certain resources over and over. Explore, ask questions, find information.

Please feel free to contact Research Help with your questions or suggestions for improving this guide!

Four Basic Steps of Researching Controversies

1. Identify the controversy.

  1. Identify, in detail, each position (there may be more than two sides!) in the controversy.
  2. Consider how these positions are contradistinctive and mutually exclusive or allow for some type of resolution.

2. Check the Facts.

  1. Identify the objective reasons and evidence that pertain to particular positions.
  2. Check those facts for verification.
  3. Explain any discrepancies for specific examples or cases.

3. Check the Reasoning.

  1. Identify the reasons and evidence that support the differing positions.
  2. Explore which reasons are bound to larger principles and whether these principles justify the conclusions reached by the positions.
  3. Explain how your specific examples or cases support your own conclusion(s).

4. Identify Potential Solutions.

  1. Identify the potential actions you might make in support of your own conclusion(s).  
  2. Explore multiple levels of solution, including local contexts, national and international settings, and the global scope of the issue(s).

Searching for Controversy

Remember, there are a lot of words that mean "controversy" or indicate that controversy is present. Think about using a variety of words in your search. For example:

  • Opinion
  • Argument
  • Discussion
  • Controversy
  • Conflict
  • Dispute
  • Viewpoint
  • Editorial
  • Counterargument
  • Rebuttal

Words to look for in headlines or summaries:

  • Controversial
  • Versus
  • Advocates for
  • Favors
  • Refutes
  • Clash
  • Opposition
  • Opposing
  • Sides with
  • Alternative
  • Supports
  • Differs


Credo Reference Search Box