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Macdonald-Kelce Library

Current and Controversial Topics

This guide will help you find books, articles, and quality Internet sources on controversial topics and topics currently in the news.

Congressional Research Service

The Congressional Research Service provides non-partisan information on a variety of important topics for members of the United States Congress in the form of CRS Reports.

Search the Congressional Research Service.

Here is a sampling of the kind of reports they offered during the last week of June, 2020.

  • District of Columbia Statehood and Voting Representation
  • Global Human Rights: International Religious Freedom Policy
  • Iran’s Nuclear Program: Tehran’s Compliance with International Obligations
  • Overview of Recent Anti-Lynching Proposals
  • Bahrain: Unrest, Security, and U.S. Policy
  • Constitutional Authority to Regulate the Privacy of State-Collected Contact-Tracing Data
  • COVID-19: Resources for Tracking Federal Spending
  • EU-Japan FTA: Implications for U.S. Trade Policy
  • Global Democracy and Human Rights Impacts of COVID-19: In Brief
  • Health Insurance Continuation Coverage Under COBRA
  • Larger Businesses and COVID-19: Financial Relief and Assistance Resources
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Fact Sheet on Leaders and Elections
  • Latin America and the Caribbean: Impact of COVID-19
  • Libya: Conflict, Transition, and U.S. Policy
  • Navy Frigate (FFG[X]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress

Finding Statistics

The U.S. government's official web portal for access to government information. Different departments will hold generally hold their own statistics (ex: Data & Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, or Bureau of Justice Statistics -- Law Enforcement).  This is a broad search engine to help you determine which department might collect the information you are looking for.

The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the standard summary of statistics on the social, political, and economic organization of the United States.

The Statistics Division of the United Nations is committed to the advancement of the global statistical system. They compile and disseminate global statistical information, develop standards and norms for statistical activities, and support countries’ efforts to strengthen their national statistical systems.

For more sources of statistics, see our Datasets and Statistics page.

Think Tanks

Think Tanks create policy proposals rooted in research.

However, think tanks (aka policy institutes, or research institutes) typically support particular worldviews and are not bound by the constraints of the scholarly method. They exist to advocate and persuade for certain positions. Think tanks may portray themselves as nonpartisan, or bipartisan, but are rarely see as such by all stakeholders.

Here is a sampling of some of the best known, and most influential think tanks. There are thousands of policy research institutes around the globe.

Brookings Institution

"The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals:

  •     Strengthen American democracy;
  •     Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and
  •     Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.

Brookings is proud to be consistently ranked as the most influential, most quoted and most trusted think tank."

Cato Institute

"The Cato Institute is a public policy research organization — a think tank – dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, limited government, free markets and peace. Its scholars and analysts conduct independent, nonpartisan research on a wide range of policy issues."

Center for American Progress

"The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through progressive ideas and action. Building on the achievements of progressive pioneers such as Teddy Roosevelt and Martin Luther King, our work addresses 21st-century challenges such as energy, national security, economic growth and opportunity, immigration, education, and health care. We develop new policy ideas, critique the policy that stems from conservative values, challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter, and shape the national debate."

Heritage Foundation

"Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense."


1. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace (United States)
2. Bruegel (Belgium)
3. French Institute of International Relations (IFRI) (France)
4. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) (United States)
5. Fundação Getulio Vargas (FGV) (Brazil)
6. Chatham House (United Kingdom)
7. International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) (United Kingdom)
8. Heritage Foundation (United States)
9. Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) (United States)
10. Wilson Center, FKA Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholar (United States)

The University of Pennsylvania's "2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report" by James G. McGann

Campus Free Speech

Here are some sources addressing campus free speech issues.

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