Communication: Argument


Greenblatt, Alan. "Future of the
Democratic Party." 
CQ Researcher,
13 Oct. 2017, pp. 845-68,

Argument, unlike formal logic, is a social operation, a particular mode of communication which is oriented to context and to purpose. It functions, as the terms `competition' and `consensus' suggest, both to create and to challenge positions and to form and break apart agreement and identity. It is at once generative and coercive. These are qualities which do not neatly divide between consensus and competition but, we would suggest, are potentially present in each. The clue is in the voices that are heard: who speaks?; to whom?; to what purpose and effect?

…It initiates change, it transforms the significance of material, it enables reflection and action, it brings divergent voices together in interaction, it signals belonging within a certain community, it seeks to persuade, to publicise, to win…

Costello, Patrick J. M. and Sally Mitchell. Competing and Consensual Voices : The Theory and Practice of Argument. Multilingual Matters, 1995. Language and Education Library. -Want to find more like this, oh you small-print citation reader?  Try here: or find more in the library catalog.

Different Opinions Compared/Contrasted (these are great for getting the creative juices going, but aren't necessarily considered scholarly) > research databases > C > CQ Researcher (What is important to U.S. voters right now)
open web > Pew Research Center (non-partisan public data) > research databases > G > Gale Opposing Viewpoints (New!) > research databases > O > OpinionArchives (Ok -older interface)

some from the library catalog:

Urban Issues: selections from CQ Researcher
MLIB level 2: HT123 .U74564 2011

Issues for Debate in American Public Policy
MLIB level 2: HN65 .I848 2010

International Issues in Social Work and Social Welfare:
selections from CQ Researcher

MLIB level 2: HV40 .I554 2010

Issues for debate in corporate social responsibility: selections from CQ Researcher
MLIB level 2: HD60.5.U5 I87 2010

Childhood and Adolescence in Society: selections from CQ Researcher (ebook!)



Discipline Specific Databases (use the keywords help --->>)
   Sociological Abstracts (sociology & social work)
   PsycINFO (psychology)
   Education Full Text & ERIC (education)

   Communication & Mass Media Complete (CMMC) (communication)
   ​Communication & Mass Media Collection (communication)

   Engineering Village (lots of STEM)
   Medline (health professions)
   Business Source Premier (business and economics)
there are many other disciplines -ask for help or look at generic/comprehensive below


Generic & Comprehensive Databases (use the keywords help --->>)
   Library Catalog: USearch (everything -highly recommended)
   US Newsstream (majority of english speaking newspapers in the U.S. -fantastic)
   Academic Search Premier (great!)
   SCOPUS (high-end scholarship -sort results by Cited by (highest) )

Mind Mapping :-)

Dale's starter kit for engaging with complicated literature:

First Stop: Library Research:
As you find articles that you think are relevant, 
   download the article (get that full text and save it)
   get a small amount of citation information (title, journal, etc.)
   read the first page or so and write a sentence about what the article is saying
   find a quote that agrees with the sentence you wrote

Second Stop: Synthesis
After you have a list of articles, try to put them into a cohesive order where each article contributes to a greater narrative or point.  This can be helped greatly by a chaotic mind map where you try to tie concepts to each other into a greater whole

(Dale's sample is not the only way to do it, but it is one way that works for me :-)

Subject Guide

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Dale Larsen

I love to help with your research: from just seeing the assignment, to wrapping up with citation management -drop me a line or come by 1726C on the first floor of the Marriott Library

Send me an e-mail -I'd love to hear from you!



Finding opinions backed up with rational points is tricky in library research because so much is based on common language.  Here are a few that worked really well, try them out with your specific topic keywords if you run stuck:

"point of view"

example using several
NFL AND protest AND (issue* OR debate OR decision)  (see results in Library Catalog: )

Marriott Library Eccles Library Quinney Law Library