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Find Pro/Con Arguments

Why use Pro/Con arguments?

Pro/Con arguments enable you to better understand controversial topics by exploring different points of view on the same issue.

What should I consider before searching for Pro/Con arguments?

  • Currency of Topic: Pro/Con arguments typically address current, controversial issues.
  • Scope of Topic: You are most likely to locate Pro/Con arguments that are of national or international interest. Arguments on issues of local or regional interest may be more difficult to locate.
  • Keywords: When searching, avoid using the keywords “pro” and “con” unless the issue uses pro- or con- to identify supporters of a given position (i.e. “pro-life” or “pro-choice”). As you become more familiar with the arguments on both sides, reconsider your keywords as well.
  • Author’s Argument: If available, the abstract may provide a brief summary of the author’s viewpoint. Remember, each author will emphasize very different points in their argument — don’t rule out an article because it’s not written from “your side.”

Where can I find Pro/Con arguments?

Library Catalog

  • Many books compile materials that support either or both positions of a given issue
  • Click “Advanced Search” and enter search term(s) in the box(es) and click “Find”

CQ Researcher

  • Type your keywords in the search box (e.g. “animal rights”)
  • Click on the title of the report and select “Pro/Con” from the menu on the left

Academic Search Ultimate (EBSCO)

  • Type your search terms in the search box(es)
  • Under “Search Options,” find the “Document Type” drop-down. Select “Editorial” and click “Search”

LexisNexis Academic

  • Under “Search by Subject or Topic,” select “All News” and click on “Advanced Options”
  • Select “U.S. Newspapers” and “Editorials and Opinions” and click “Apply”
  • Enter your search terms and click “Search”

Business Source Ultimate

  • Type your search terms in the search box(es)
  • Under “Search Options,” find the “Document Type” drop-down. Select “Editorial” and click “Search”

Reputable Websites

You may be tempted to rely solely on websites for Pro/Con arguments. While there is certainly no lack of opinions available online, you’ll still need to consider the author’s credibility, political alignment, and biases. For more information on evaluating websites for credibility and relevancy, see our guide on Evaluating Sources.