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Michigan State University

Researching Controversial Topics in Biotechnology: Searching for Articles and Books

Guide for undergraduates who want to write about the social, societal or ethical implications of biotechnology.

Searching for Articles and Books

Starting with a search for books is a good way to begin research. Books will cover a topic more broadly than articles and give you ideas of more specific issues to search for in articles. To find books, search the Online Catalog. For hints on search words to use for specific topics, see below.

Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center

The Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center is a database of electronic books covering a variety of controversial issues with chapters from books with both pro and con views. When you get to the list of topics, some relevant topics to choose might be: Bioethics, Biological Weapons, Cloning, Genetic Engineering, Stem Cells, etc.


 ProQuest Research Library is a good general database for news, magazine, and some journal articles. Do not choose to search only peer reviewed articles, as most articles covering controversial issues are news or opinion rather than research articles.

Scientific American Online

Scientific American articles cover many issues in science from an educated perspective but understandable to the general reader.  Articles cover a date range of 1910 to present. 

Academic OneFile

A full text general database for journal and magazine articles. Similar coverage to ProQuest

LexisNexis Academic  

Find articles in newspapers. The initial main page allows you to choose a quick news search or a guided news search in which you can select specific newspapers to search or to search only headlines, etc.

Subject Guide