Issues & Controversies

About This Product

Take a quick look at the overview video for Issues & Controversies:

Featuring a dynamic, responsive design, the award-winning Issues & Controversies database helps researchers and those with endless curiosity understand today’s crucial issues by exploring hundreds of hot topics in politics, government, business, society, education, and popular culture. 

Updated weekly, with an extensive backfile, Issues & Controversies offers in-depth pro/con articles—each presenting both sides of an issue clearly, coherently, and without bias—made to inspire thought-provoking debates. 

Use Issues & Controversies for Research, Debate Prep, and Persuasive Writing or to Excite Users’ Curiosity

Its straightforward presentation of the key facts, arguments, history, and current context of today’s most important and divisive issues makes the database an ideal resource for research papers, debate preparation, and persuasive writing assignments. Written by our own expert writers and editors, most articles offer a full range of supporting materials, including a chronology, primary sources, infographics, court cases, editorial cartoons, graphs and charts, and editorials.


  • Extensive, objective, and comprehensive coverage: Issues & Controversies features hundreds of timely, in-depth pro/con articles covering complex, hot-button issues in politics, government, business, society, education, and popular culture. Designed to inspire thought-provoking debates, each article presents both sides of an issue clearly and without bias.
  • Pro and con statements: Each Issues & Controversies article presents clear pro/con statements that highlight the main arguments on each side of the controversy, presenting a quick, balanced, and succinct synopsis from supporters and opponents and allowing users to explore all of the conflicts related to each issue in one place.
  • Original videos and educator support materials: Selected hot-button issues in Issues & Controversies feature overview videos to introduce the topic and exclusive Enhanced Lessons to extend the lesson beyond the articles. Enhanced Lessons include overviews, learning objectives, printable handouts (such as self-assessments with answer keys), discussion questions, and much more.
  • Debate videos: Issues & Controversies includes compelling, thought-provoking, Oxford-style debate videos from the renowned Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that sponsors public debates on contemporary issues. These full-length debate videos—all with transcripts—feature prominent political figures, journalists, academics, and experts on stage debating a wide range of crucial topics. The videos show students how a debate is held, and how people with different points of view can exchange opinions and arguments respectfully in an open and civil forum.
  • QuickTake videos: Issues & Controversies features short, succinct overview videos produced by the global information and technology company Bloomberg that cover major topics such as immigration, climate change, and the opioid crisis.
  • Editorials: For a broader perspective on contemporary events and conflicts, Issues & Controversies offers thousands of editorials and opinions via NewsEdge from major newspapers and magazines worldwide and across the political spectrum—including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, Houston Chronicle, Jerusalem Post, China Daily, Nation, and Atlantic.
  • Audio content: Issues & Controversies features editorially curated and selected National Public Radio (NPR) audio recordings and podcasts—including episodes of NPR’s Fresh Air and On Point—linked directly to specific articles to enhance context, understanding, and research. Along with the original recordings, many feature transcripts of the entire broadcast or selected highlights.
  • Rich related resources: Issues & Controversies contains a topic-based Reuters® newsfeed, editorial cartoons, timelines, primary sources, newspaper editorials, and discussion questions and activities that prompt researchers to do their own critical thinking and analysis.
  • Primary sources: Every article in Issues & Controversies features original documents with introductory paragraphs that provide context and background—perfect for strengthening critical-thinking skills. These documents include speeches, congressional testimony, presidential statements, laws, court cases, court decisions, and more.
  • Court cases: Issues & Controversies contains hundreds of original, searchable stand-alone articles that summarize key court cases—including those decided by the U.S. Supreme Court—on major issues in contemporary society, including affirmative action, animal rights, capital punishment, drugs, gun control, health care, immigration, racial profiling, and more. In brief, readable prose, each court case article explains the background of the case, the legal issues it raised, the court’s decision, and its impact.
  • Infographics: Issues & Controversies includes hundreds of stand-alone infographics, presenting vast amounts of information in easy-to-access charts, graphs, and tables that make it simple for users to visualize statistics and quickly grasp essential ideas.
  • Instructional Resources: This section in Issues & Controversies features writing and research tips for students and educators, including:
    • Guides for analyzing historical documents, evaluating online sources, and more
    • Tips on presenting research, including avoiding plagiarism, citing sources, summarizing articles, writing research papers, and writing and delivering speeches
    • Educator tools, including advice on assessing students’ speeches and interviews, exploring point of view with students, holding a town hall meeting, preventing plagiarism, using editorial cartoons in class, and debates
    • Enhanced Lessons for educators on selected issues, with topic overviews and educator support materials including printable handouts, learning objectives, related resources, assessments, and more.
  • Bill of Rights in Debate: Many of the topics covered by Issues & Controversies deal with conflicting interpretations of the Bill of Rights—the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The “Bill of Rights in Debate” section explains the origins and impact of the Bill of Rights. It also deepens understanding of its role in contemporary life by linking Issues & Controversies articles directly to each amendment. The “Bill of Rights in Debate” section shows how the Constitution has shaped—and continues to shape—debates and conflicts in the United States.
  • Presidency and Presidential Races: Issues & Controversies provides comprehensive background articles on all presidential administrations and elections since the 1990s. These articles cover the presidencies of Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ronald Reagan and analyze the major campaign issues and positions of the candidates in each election.


  • Issues from the headlines, covering the most controversial issues of the 21st century, including capital punishment, drug legalization, climate change, energy and the environment, free trade and the economy, gun control, health care, immigration, racial profiling, and U.S. foreign policy
  • Thousands of links to key news stories, timelines, primary source documents, and additional resources giving researchers context, insight, and perspective
  • Searchable Reuters® newsfeed, updated hourly, giving students access to the latest news and headlines
  • “By the Numbers,” offering statistical material with every article and issue
  • Background Encyclopedia content
  • Comprehensive chronologies and overview articles
  • Access the database’s rich resources from every page using the top-left drop-down menu—Pro/Con Articles, Issues, Videos, Court Cases, Bill of Rights in Debate, and more key content is always at users’ fingertips
  • Enhanced filters and suggested search terms
  • Read Aloud tool
  • Google Translate for 100+ languages
  • Ability to download text articles as PDFs
  • Enhanced Save-to-Folder functionality
  • Dynamic citations in MLA, APA, and Chicago formats, with EasyBib and NoodleTools export functionality
  • Searchable Support Center with valuable help materials, how-to tips, tutorials, and live help chat.

LibraryWorks’ Modern Library Awards Gold Honoree

SIIA CODiE Awards Finalist, “Best Source for Reference or Education Resources” category

Library Journal Best Database

“No other database in my library had [this] kind of use…Issues & Controversies was the top database for results (at the best price) that we subscribed to last year.”
Micaela Ayers, Director, Libraries & Archives, Butler Community College, El Dorado State, KS

“This database is a nice addition to [Infobase’s] family of online products…Recommended.”

“…accessible and easy to navigate and will be useful to students working on research projects.”
American Reference Books Annual

“Access to a wide variety of controversial issues will provide students with the building blocks for forming their own opinions, leading to thoughtful research papers and debates. The content and presentation are impressive…will give the [competition] a run for its money among high school, community college, and college libraries.”
Library Journal

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