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Controversial Issues: Start Here

Current Issues and Controversies, Social Issues

Gather background knowlege

Use the databases below to browse controversial topics or to search for something specific. Each of these databases has unique strengths. Please check all three to see what they have on your topic. 

These databases can also be found listed on the library's Find Articles page.

Once you find some background knowledge, write down some key terms you found, and search for further information in the Articles / Videos tab on the left.

For example, in this Facts on File report below, I have found out that "graffiti" is also known as "street art".  I now have two possible terms to search.

image of report where both the terms graffiti and street art are listed

Investigate Both Sides of an Issue


Do the Math is a documentary made by Bill McKibben, The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College. He won the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize in 2013,  and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. He is a founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty thousand rallies around the world.

The second video is a speech given by Physicist and Nobel Laureate Ivar Giaever. He expresses grave doubts about climate change.

Who is right?  Watch both videos, do your own research and read Chapter 6 in Naomi Oreskes' Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming. 

First video:

Second video:

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