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Current Issues

A guide to searching for information on current issues and controversial topics for English essays, informative and persuasive speeches, and more.

Choosing a topic

Start by thinking about a topic that interests you. Have you heard about something in the news recently, like gerrymandering or cyberbullying, that you would like to know more about? Are you passionate about the environment and want to know more about preventing plastic pollution? Do you enjoy hunting and fishing? How could you use a topic related to those hobbies?

Finding Books

Search the HCC Library Collection


The HCC Library has tons of books on current issues topics, from bitcoin to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to bullying. Some books, particularly those in the Current Controversies series, provide essays on both sides of an issue. If you can get to the library, using one or two books will save you a lot of time and often give you much better information that you would find through Google.

Topic Ideas

Many of the databases in NCLIVE, like CQ Researcher and SIRS Issues Researcher, that provide information on current issues include lists of topics to help you get an idea of what you'd like to research. Here are some ideas for topics:

  • Bullying/how to prevent bullying, cyberbullying, 
  • Animal poaching/endangered species trafficking prevention, preventing habitat loss for animals at risk
  • People who hunt and fish are true conservationists, kids should spend more time in nature
  • Smartphone addiction, violence in movies/videogames, sexism in movies/videogames
  • Gun control, mass shootings, prison reform
  • Partisan gerrymandering, divisive politics and how to work together when we don't agree
  • Transgender rights, #Metoo movement,
  • Plastics pollution, benefits/drawbacks of solar/wind/hydro power
  • Marijuana legalization, lowering the drinking age, raising the driving age
  • public schools should start later, public schools should ban standardized tests
  • social media apps waste time and productivity, social media makes people feel bad about themselves


Databases in NCLIVE contain high quality information than what you can find through a Google search. Better information will help you make better arguments and get better grades. Try these first:

SIRS Issues Researcher

CQ Researcher


New York Times

If you feel like you still need more sources, check out the NCLIVE Current Issues page

Research and Citing

Make sure when writing your current issues speech or essay to use other people's ideas appropriately. If you paraphrase someone's words, summarize their ideas, or quote them directly, make sure to cite using the appropriate style. Most instructors at HCC use MLA style (MLA cheat sheet) or APA style (APA cheat sheet). For an overview of plagiarism and how not to do it, see the Plagiarism guide