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Using CQ Researcher

CQ Researcher (“CQ” stands for Congressional Quarterly) is available via the library homepage's "Shortcuts to Popular Databases." It is an excellent source for in-depth reports on political issues. There are over 3,000 reports online, originally published from 1923 to the present. Each report thoroughly covers an issue without taking sides. CQ Researcher offers six ways to search for reports: Quick Search, Advanced Search, Browse by Date, Browse by Topic, Issue Tracker, and Index. This handout will focus on Quick Search.

Quick Search

Enter your search term-for example, "death penalty"-in the "Quick Search" box at the top. Click "Go." Your results appear in the middle of the page. They are listed by relevance; see the "Score" column. The reports with higher "scores" are listed first. They mention your search term more than do reports with lower scores, but relevance does not really matter for the first ten or so results.

Results 1 - 30 (of 311) for your search on "death penalty"
Save Score
100 Rethinking the Death PenaltyEntire Report 11/16/2001
93 Death Penalty Update Entire Report 1/8/1999
92 Death Penalty Controversies Entire Report 9/23/2005
91 Death Penalty Debate Entire Report 3/10/1995
49 Death Penalty Debate Centers on Retribution Entire Report 7/13/1990
47 Emptying Death Row: More U.S. Executions Entire Report 1/18/1985
46 Death Penalty Revival Entire Report 1/10/1973
30 Approaches to Death Entire Report 4/21/1971
28 Punishment by Death Entire Report 7/17/1963

Notice that some of the reports listed are over 35 years old. To retrieve the most recent reports, you may re-sort the results by date using the arrows in the far right column. The down arrow puts the older reports first, the up arrow the newer. Sorting by the most recent date will put reports with lower scores (i.e., less relevance) higher on the list; these reports may only mention your search topic, but they may provide more up-to-date information.

Click on the title to read the full report. Your search term will be highlighted throughout. (If you don’t see it, click on “Find Keyword” at the top right.) You can click on an arrow next to the term to move to the next occurrence of the term. This is not possible with the other search methods, and is useful when only part of the report deals with your topic.

Structure of Articles

CQ Researcher reports are very long and well organized. Articles published after 1990 are divided into sections like those below:

Introduction A brief summary
Overview An introduction to the issue
Background Short history of the issue
Current Situation Where the issue stands now
The Next Step Outlook for the issue
Special Focus Feature article on related issue
Pro/Con A debate on the issue
Chronology A timeline of key events surrounding the issue
Short Features Brief articles related to the main issue
Maps/Graphs Important information presented visually
Bibliography A list of sources
The Next Step Additional list of sources on related topics organizations
Footnotes Sources for the report

Each section title is listed at the top in a box. If you want to read only one section of the report, click on that section title. The Pro/Con section is useful when you have to write a short paper or give a speech on a topic. The Bibliography section will point you to other resources on the subject.

CQ Researcher has far fewer articles to choose from than Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, but their articles are more thorough. And once CQ Researcher completes a report, they do not revise it to reflect new developments. They may return to an issue in a later report, and in the meantime use their “In the News” section for brief updates. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center, as an aggregator, adds new articles every day.


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