Database Highlight: Opposing Viewpoints
By Lynn Parliman, Head – Serials & Electronic Resources and Jane Suda, Head of Reference & Information Services
There will always be differing opinions concerning the major issues facing our society. Students and researchers need unbiased and fact-based information to help them understand all sides of the key issues that they read and hear about in the news. In addition, intelligently debating or discussing extremely important topics requires strong arguments to support each particular viewpoint.
Information literacy is as important today as ever. As one of Fordham’s Reference Librarians wrote in a recent blog post: “A major goal of education, perhaps the most important goal, is to instill in people the habit of objectively examining competing versions of truth and rejecting claims for which there is no evidence.”
The Fordham Libraries have databases developed specifically for exploring and understanding complicated and sometimes controversial issues from all perspectives. We highlight a few of those resources below.
Gale in Context
Located on the library’s Databases LibGuide under the O tab, Gale in Context: Opposing Viewpoints will help students and researchers uncover the various aspects and considerations of key social issues. The database is a great starting point for understanding debatable topics.
The database contains hundreds of categories of issues that are easily browsable, as well as over 21,000 pro/con viewpoints. It includes a variety of resource types, all helping users form educated opinions: reference, news, scholarly journals, websites, court cases, federal agency documents, special interest group publications, and multimedia. The resources present various perspectives across the ideological spectrum, promoting an unbiased and balanced treatment of the subjects.
A companion to the Opposing Viewpoints database, Gale in Context: Global Issues is located on the library’s Databases LibGuide under the G tab. This resource offers international viewpoints on a wide variety of important global issues, topics, and current events within government, law, health, science and technology, society and culture, and more. The database contains almost 700 categories of issues, with more than 6,000 viewpoint commentaries to provide factual background on each topic.
The Gale in Context: Global Issues database supports global awareness and balanced perspective by integrating authoritative content and alternative viewpoints from academic journals, news sources, videos, images, country pages, statistics and related articles that enhance critical analysis of the most important issues of the modern world. Easily browse podcasts, video, and interactive graphs by Issues and Topics, and Country Finder.
Searching Both Simultaneously
These two Gale in Context databases are cross-searchable by simply selecting “Both” on the drop-down menu next to the Search Box (figure 1).
Over the past two years Gale has enhanced many user experience and design features. Documents can now be saved to Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive in addition to download, email, and print. Researchers may also add highlights and notes to a document prior to saving. Most significantly, the text-to-speech audio player in these databases is easy to use and has multiple speed, highlight, and visibility options for those who prefer or require auditory learning. The audio content can even be downloaded in MP3 format and saved.
These and many more features have icons above the article text or in the upper right corner of the page that can be enabled by simply clicking on the icon. Additional help is available by clicking on the small HELP link at the bottom of each page.
CQ Researcher, located on the Databases LibGuide under the C tab, is a database of in-depth, authoritative reports on political and social-policy issues that study the evolution of various topics over time. CQ Researcher database presents original, comprehensive reports and analyses on issues in the news. The database is known for its unbiased coverage of topics such as health, social trends, criminal justice, international affairs, education, the environment, technology, and the economy.
Reports are written by experienced journalists, footnoted and professionally fact-checked. The reports provide researchers with an introductory overview, including the most relevant research questions; a background and chronology on the topic; an assessment of the current situation; tables and maps; a pro/con debate by representatives of opposing positions; and bibliographies of key sources.
Additional Library Resources
Fordham Librarians are keenly aware of the need to foster Information Literacy to the entire Fordham community. Please check out our newly updated Information Literacy Research Guide.
Need help using the resources above or have other questions about library resources? Visit the Library Databases Access Help page. You can also contact a librarian 24/7 through the Ask a Librarian chat service.