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ENGL 121: Composition Course Guide - Wells: Researching Controversial Topics

Course guide for Wells' Composition.

Researching Controversial Topics

When researching current events, especially controversial ones, you may find that there aren't many traditional academic sources to find.  Here are some things that can help keep you on track.

Finding the Facts

One thing to keep in mind is that you'll need some solid facts to base your work off of.  One way to find this is to look for statistics, data, or numbers.


Sometimes you might find that your research contradicts itself, especially if you're using multiple sources.  Don't be afraid to discuss this!  Dig deeper into each source and figure out where their numbers come from.  If you can't find one article's source of information and another one has a list of citations, you'll know that one is more trustworthy than another.

Facts and Opinions

When you're researching controversial topics, you'll want to be mindful of whether you're reading facts or opinions.

Fact Opinion
The sky is blue. The sky is prettiest at 2 in the afternoon when the blue turns deep.

Facts give you a (hopefully unbiased) base for your research to stand on.  Opinions can be useful for learning about different perspectives of a topic, but should not be taken as gospel truth.  Make sure you're rounding out your research well.