Types of issue information
Important issues are often identified and brought to the attention of the public through the news media. News sites and databases help explain and analyze why an issue is relevant, current legislation, and real world applications of the issue. News stories bring the latest events related to a topic. Unfortunately, important issues can be overlooked and be invisible because they are not adequately covered by the news media. Bookmarked sites at delicious.com/acclibrary/news. Colorado site: delicious.com/acclibrary/Colo.>news
Law and legislation
Legislative sites, databases, and guides explain the current law regarding a topic. Included are statutes and court cases. Debates prior to a law being enacted provide perspectives on pros and cons of the issue. Does the issue fall within a legal, legislative or administrative context? Do the issue ideas support pending legislation or entail changing current laws? Bookmarked sites at delicious.com/acclibrary/law Colorado law sites: delicious.com/acclibrary/Colo.>law
Advocacy and opinion
The opinions and arguments of others help formulate your opinions or contrasting arguments. Advocacy group websites (often have the domain name .org) and opinion magazines are useful to help understand a point of view different than your own.
Many advocacy groups provide a clear mission statement for their organization on their websites. Some advocacy sites are national, with local chapters, or they may be grassroot local groups. Keep in mind their purpose and bias, often enumerated in the About Us section of their website. These sites often include fact sheets, position papers, and research studies. Some advocacy sites provide links to current legislation and track how politicians have supported their efforts and positions, as well as links to like-minded organizations.
Opinion magazines provide commentary and analysis of current events from liberal, conservative, or nonpartisan vantage points, providing either persuasive or neutral perspectives.
Op-ed pieces (newspaper editorials and letters to the editor), blog postings and reader comments also help identify opposing opinions to a topic. Bookmarked sites at delicious.com/acclibrary/politics. Colorado sites: delicious.com/acclibrary/Colo.>issues
Scholarly studies, reports and statistical data add in-depth analysis and support to an issue or topic. This information is found in scholarly journals, article databases, as well as government, university, think tank and advocacy sites. Studies in scholarly journals are usually written by academics with university affiliations, often peer-reviewed and adhere to strict standards of scholarship—these types of articles are easily searchable in proprietary article databases. Reports and studies provided by think tanks, advocacy groups, government agencies, and individuals may not carry the scholarly weight and caliber of peer-reviewed published research found in scholarly journals.
There are hundreds of Think Tanks and research institutes that look at important global, national, and local issues, providing free online publications providing political perspectives. Think Tanks may be liberal, conservative, or nonpartisan, taking persuasive or neutral stands on issues.