Controversial Topics/Opposing Viewpoints: Home

Resources to help you with researching for an argumentative essay, debate, persuasive speech or any writings requiring more than one viewpoint.

Spiva Library Databases to consult for topic ideas & Background Information

Click on the icons above to be taken to a list of topics covered by that resource

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Controversial Topic

Created by Norman Rockwell

(Public domain image)

Evaluation Criteria Checklist - Questions to Ask

When evaluating either print or online resources for a research assignment or paper, ask the following questions from the evaluation criteria checklist below:

Evaluation Criteria Checklist

 

 What?

What does the work cover?  Is it relevant to my topic?  Does the work provide general or comprehensive information?  What type of audience was the work written for?  If there is an issue, are both sides presented?

Read the summary if available. Review the full text.  Check for a thesis statement and conclusion.

 

 

 When?

When was the work written?  Is it clear when the work was published or when the site was last updated?  Is the information up to date enough for the topic chosen or do you need historical information?

Check for a publication date. Currency is important in fields such as medicine, science and technology. In other fields such as history and literature, older materials may be just as valuable as newer ones.

 

 Who?

Who is the author or sponsoring organization?  What makes the author an expert in the field written about? What credentials does the author have?  Is there any contact information for the author?

 

Google the author's name and see if you can retrieve some background information or credentials on the author.

 

  

Why?

 

Why was the work written? Is its purpose to educate, entertain, inform, persuade, sell something, etc.?  Does the site contain advertising? Is the information biased or does it push a specific perspective?

Check to see if the author is affiliated with any organizations. Check for ads on the site. Read the fine print.

 

How?

Is the site easy to navigate? Are there obvious signs of typos or errors?  Does the author provide references so you can verify factual information?

Check for navigation menus.  Check to see if the links work. Check for references.

Acknowledgement

Some of the materials contained on this page come from a LibGuide created by the librarians at J Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Richmond VA.

This site is maintained by the librarians of George A. Spiva Library.
If you have a question or comment about the Library's LibGuides, please contact the site administrator.