<) not found.[endif]--> Appl
Home > Library > Argumentation and Debate

Argumentation and Debate Research Guide

Welcome to the Research Guide for CLA 343: Argumentation and Debate.  Research projects for this course have a specific form and format.  Please make sure that you are following both the syllabus and your professor's instructions. The suggested databases are available linked from here and from the Electronic Resources section found on the library home page.  Print resources are available in the PHC campus collection or by mail to distance learning members of the PHC community.  You may check the location and availability of an item in the on-campus collection through the online catalog, Voyager, accessed through the library home page. 

Professional library assistance is available on campus, by phone at 540-441-8400, or by email at askalibrarian@phc.edu.


In the PHC Collection


Search the PHC Library Catalog to find items in the collection on your subject.

The following books are part of a series that will give you an overview or examples of stances on a controversial issue and may help you in selecting a debate topic.  These provide an overview and are  not sufficiently rigorous to entirely support your topic. You may find additional resources by checking the references listed within each book.

  • Opposing Viewpoints series:  Each book is its own controversial topic. PHC currently has 4 books in the series: Nationalism, Patriot Act, Illegal Immigration, and Environment. Note: This series is helpful as a general overview of your topic.  Your research assignment will require more specific research sources.
  • Taking Sides Reference LibraryEach book covers a variety of topics within a broader topic, i.e. controversial political issues. The PHC collection currently contains seven different topics: religion, world politics, moral issues, American history, world history, political issues, social issues.
  • Counterpoints:  Each book presents the arguments on a theological contention. Some topics are not likely to be policy issues, such as views on the rapture, but others are, such as women in the ministry.

Don't forget to search  eBooks for more resources available immediately to read online or download!




  • Heritage Foundation provides scholarly research on a variety of subjects, usually from a more conservative perspective.


  • Brookings Institute provides scholarly research on a variety of subjects, usually from a more liberal perspective.


Subject Specific Databases


CQ Researcher is published weekly on a topic of current interest. Reports include an introductory overview; background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; pro/con statements from representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources. Articles range from 1923-present. Browse by topic, by date, or search by keyword. With the number of years included, it may give you a way to look at how the attitudes and arguments have changed over time.

Congressional Digest Debates is a monthly publication covering opposing views on controversial national issues. Documents are drawn from Congress, the Supreme Court, the United Nations and other international tribunals. Look for the recent issues section.


General Databases


ProQuest and Academic Search Premier - Periodical databases covering a wide range of topics. Use "Advanced Search" and  limit your results to scholarly journals.

LexisNexis - Database of newspaper articles, broadcast news transcripts, SEC filings, tax law, state and federal cases, state and federal codes, elected officials, legistlative bills, primary sources in US history, and statistical tables.

JSTOR - Database of scholarly articles from a broad variety of disciplines. Articles are not added to JSTOR until they are at least 3 years old. In "Advanced Search," you can check the box to include "articles outside of JSTOR" to find titles of articles published in recent years.


Research Tips


  • Search by subject: Once you have located an item in the catalog, click on a subject term within the record to search for other items on the same subject.
  • Once you locate an appropriate resource, potential valuable resources may be listed in the item's bibliography.
  • If you you are unable to find what you need within the PHC on campus or online collection, you may request an item or article through Interlibrary loan (ILL).   An ILL request may be placed directly through the library database WorldCat.  If you have difficulty placing a request, you may use the form provided in the Interlibrary loan section of the library website or the library staff will be glad to assist you.
  • Zotero is a citation management system that will help you collect and organize your resources and then seamlessly create footnotes, endnotes, in-text citations, and bibliographies.  You can download and watch online tutorials, but you may benefit from a librarian’s help in quickly learning how to use Zotero.

Proper citation for any research paper is essential.  Please use the citation style required by your professor.  Citation guides are available in the library and library staff are available to guide your search.  Online citation helps are available at a variety of sites including OWL .


Created: Gladden, 2007.  Reviewed:Dr. James Tallmon, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013. Revised: Thornhill, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015.