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Research Methods: Persuasive Arguments

What is Persuasive Research?

Persuasive or argumentative research asks you to take one side of an issue and support this side by looking at the research, facts, and news about the topic. You will need to research both sides of the topic, and may be required to conduct interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments to gather data for your argument. 

Start your argumentative research by selecting a topic and creating a clear and concise thesis. 


Excellent series of books on controversial topics include:

  • Taking Sides 
  • You Decide 

Add the series name to your topic to see if there is a volume for you.

You can also add words like “controversial” “debates” “pro and con”, or “arguments” to your search.

Multimedia Resources

Key Resources

Special Resources

Congressional Hearings are an excellent and sometimes overlooked resource for argumentative and position papers.  When members of Congressional committees convene a hearing, they call expert witnesses from all sides of an issue. Witnesses testify regarding the issue, and they also must testify as to their credentials to demonstrate their experience and knowledge on the issue.  In addition, the exact transcripts of the experts’ words are provided so they make an excellent source for quotes to reinforce your paper's position.


Newspapers are a good source of information for papers and speeches.  Find articles reporting on current events, and opinion articles on major issues.  

In addition to America's News, there are some news databases that lend themselves to argumentative and persuasive assignments.  These resources cover newspapers that may depart from the majority opinions found in the Washington Post, New York Times, or other "white bread" papers.  For example, a topic like immigration might be covered very differently in an ethnic newspaper than in the Denver Post.