Skip to Main Content

Controversial Issues: Reference Material

This guide was created to assist students who are writing an argumentative essay, preparing for a debate, or writing a speech.

Reference Material

  • Each library has a Reference Collection with specific types of resources for finding facts or basic information on a variety of topics.  Reference material can give an overview of topic and can help to narrow a topic down.

  • The Print Reference Section is located near the reference desk and the books in this section are labeled with REF before the call number.

  • Look for subject specific scholarly encyclopedias and dictionaries on your controversial topic.


Argumentative Papers Reference Material


  • General encyclopedias are used when you need background information or an overview of your topic. Examples of general encyclopedias are: Encyclopedia Britannica and World Book Encyclopedia.

  • Subject specific encyclopedias provide more detail and may be written by experts in the field. Examples of subject encyclopedias are Encyclopedia of Science & Technology Encyclopedia of archeology, Encyclopedia of Musicians.