English 110 – Senn – Debates and Argument Paper

Eleanor Roosevelt and Margaret Chase Smith on Face the Nation in Washington, D.C., on November 4, 1956 from the National Archives and Records Administration. Click on the photo to find out why the first televised Presidential debate was between two women!

About this Guide

This guide provides students with suggested sources for their class debate research. Your search for information can include books, periodical articles, online databases, and credible Internet resources.

Use the tabs above to navigate through the guide.

Your Assignment

Each group must research a minimum of twelve sources from reputable and varied sources including: books (print or ebooks), periodical articles from library databases, and credible websites. Be sure to include sources that consider the opposing position. At the time of the debate, each team must turn in: 1) a separate, typed list of team members citing each person’s contributions to the research and the debate; and 2) one typed Works Consulted sheet for the entire team.


Debates – 2:20 section

  • First Amendment: Resolved that college speech codes promote censorship and undermine free speech.
    Debate date: Monday, October 23
  • Paid to Play: Resolved that student athletes should not be paid to perform as they are amateur athletes enrolled in college to obtain an education.
    Debate date: Wednesday, October 25
  • Artificial Intelligence: Resolved that the risks of artificial intelligence will ultimately outweigh the rewards.
    Debate date: Monday, October 30

Debates – 3:55 section

  • Paid to Play: Resolved that student athletes should not be paid to perform as they are amateur athletes enrolled in college to obtain an education.
    Debate date: Monday, October 23
  • Single-Payer Health Care: Resolved that the United States should adopt a single payer health care system.
    Debate date: Wednesday, October 25
  • Artificial Intelligence: Resolved that the risks of artificial intelligence will ultimately outweigh the rewards.
    Debate date: Monday, October 30

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The words you use to describe a topic may be different from the words used by the library catalog and databases. If you have trouble finding information on your topic, ask a librarian for help choosing the best keywords to use in your search. Or, try some of the search words listed below.

First Amendment

  • Freedom of speech — United States
  • United States — 1st Amendment
  • Censorship
  • Hate speech
  • Libel and slander — United States
  • Discrimination in higher education — Law and legislation — United States
  • Discrimination — Law and legislation — United States
  • Harassment — Law and legislation — United States

Paid to Play

  • College sports — Economic aspects — United States
  • College athletes — United States — Economic conditions
  • College athletes — Education
  • College sports moral and ethical aspects

Artificial Intelligence

  • Artificial intelligence
  • Artificial intelligence — Ethics
  • Artificial intelligence — Philosophy
  • Artificial intelligence — Evolution
  • Artificial intelligence — Forecasting
  • Artificial intelligence — Psychological aspects

Single-Payer Health Care

  • National health insurance — United States
  • Health services accessibility — United States
  • Medical care — United States
  • Health care reform
  • Universal coverage
  • Medically uninsured
  • Right to health
  • Health care rationing
  • Medical care — United States — Costs
  • Economics — Medical
  • Health Care — Costs
  • Single-Payer System economics
  • Single-Payer System organization & administration
  • National Health Insurance — United States — economics
  • Quality of health care

Reference Sources

References sources are a good place to get background information on your topic.

Print Reference Sources
These resources are available in the Luria Library Reference section.

  • Encyclopedia of Contemporary American Social Issues — R 306.0973 S528e 2011
  • Encyclopedia of the American Constitution — R 342.73 L668e 2000
  • Encyclopedia of the First Amendment — R 342.73085 V699e 2009

Online Reference Sources
These reference sources are available online. If you are off campus, you will need to log in with your Pipeline account information:

  • Credo Reference
    Contains the full text of nearly 600 encyclopedias, dictionaries, bilingual dictionaries, and other reference books.
  • Gale Virtual Reference Desk
    Contains the full text of encyclopedias and specialized reference sources.
  • USA.gov
    The U.S. government’s official web portal.


The library’s collection includes both print books and online ebooks. Search the library catalog (books+), or ask a librarian for help finding books on your topic. Your search results will include articles as well. Limit to books by choosing the appropriate box from the menu to the left of the results.


Articles from periodicals (magazines, newspapers, and academic journals) often provide the most current information on a topic. Journal articles are more scholarly while magazine articles tend to be shorter and more general. Newspaper articles are the most current of the three periodical sources and another good source of information.

To find articles on your topic, use one of the online databases listed below. To access databases from off campus you will need to login with your Pipeline account number and password.

  • Academic Search Complete
    Provides articles from periodicals in all subject areas, including thousands of peer-reviewed journals.
  • Newspapers
    Several databases with searchable full-text versions of many of the largest papers.

These databases provide pro/con information on current and controversial topics:

  • CQ Researcher
    An excellent source of pro/con information, containing single-themed reports with unbiased coverage of both sides of controversial issues.
  • Opposing Viewpoints
    An excellent source of pro/con information, providing opinions and other information on hundreds of social issues.


You may find your topic discussed on news podcasts. You can also use podcasts for examples of how experts present arguments on controversial issues.

Evaluating Websites

Figuring out whether the information you find online is credible enough for college research can be challenging. Use the P.R.O.V.E.N. Source Evaluation Questions to help you determine whether the sources you find are credible:

  • Purpose: How and why the source was created. Is it intended to educate, inform, persuade, sell, or entertain? Do the authors, publishers, or sponsors state this purpose, or try to disguise it? Why was this information published in this particular type of source (book, article, website, blog, etc.)? Is the source designed for the general public, students, or experts?
  • Relevance: The value of the source for your needs. Does the type of source meet your assignment’s requirements? Does the information answer your question, support your argument, or add something to your knowledge of the topic? Is it too general or too specific? Is it too basic or too advanced?
  • Objectivity: The reasonableness and completeness of the information. Do the authors present the information thoroughly and professionally? Is it fact or opinion? Is it biased? Do the authors use strong, emotional, manipulative, or offensive language? Do they leave out, or make fun of, important facts or alternative perspectives?
  • Verifiability: The accuracy and truthfulness of the information. Do the authors support the information they present with strong factual evidence? Do they cite or provide links to other sources? What do experts say about the topic? Can you verify the information in other credible sources? Does the source contradict itself, include false statements, or misrepresent other sources?
  • Expertise: The authority of the creators of the source. What makes the authors, publishers, or sponsors of the source authorities on the topic? Do they have related education, experience, or other expertise? Do they provide an important alternative perspective? Has the source been reviewed in some way, such as by an editor or through peer review?
  • Newness: The age of the information. Is your topic in an area that requires current information (such as science, technology, or current events), or could information found in older sources still be useful? When was the information presented in the source first published or posted? Are newer sources available that would add important information to your understanding of the topic?

Recommended Websites

For more help locating reliable information online, see the Finding Credible Web Sources research guide.

Government Information

Fact Checking Groups

Advanced Search Tips for Google


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