Understanding Controversy and Society


Climate change. Gun control. Abortion. World poverty. Our modern world is even more complicated and troubled than one might imagine possible. Investigating current issues—both domestic and worldwide—serves to educate students and help them develop critical thinking skills. It also promotes informed citizens capable of making responsible decisions that will dictate our future.

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ABC-CLIO Solutions

Topics Current Events and Issues/General
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This database provides students with authoritative historical context, diverse expert perspectives, and carefully selected primary and secondary sources to help them become civil debaters, consider multiple sides of a controversy, and use evidence in developing and supporting their opinions about today's most important issues.

News sound bites and traditional databases often only scratch the surface of the important issues of our time. Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society goes far beyond simple lists of information and keyword searches, giving researchers insight into timely and enduring questions in our world, tying history to current events to sharpen the understanding of both.

Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society has been produced and further refined with the input of leading scholars and educators. The newly integrated, easy-to-use interface is designed to lead researchers through the complexities of a wide variety of challenges facing the United States and the world beyond. Users can research more than 200 of today's most significant social issues, accessing more than 3,500 articles and 7,500 multimedia primary sources. This database also provides students the opportunity to truly immerse themselves in debate on tough topics through its Perspectives features—exclusive presentations of thought-provoking questions and various viewpoints on each controversial subject.

This rich online resource helps users investigate controversial topics by framing thoughtful questions, revealing the background story behind the issues and providing scholars' perspectives and analyses, allowing students to formulate educated opinions on hotly debated "gray area" subjects.


  • The Perspectives sections provide tools to conduct historical inquiry lessons focused on compelling questions such as "Is Barbie psychologically harmful to young girls?"; "Do violent video games have harmful effects on players?"; and "Is the death penalty constitutional?"
  • A wide variety of primary sources provides context for the issues, including such documents as the Clean Air Act (1963) and the Copenhagen Accord (2009) and more than 4,000 images and audio and visual files, including interviews with LGBT veterans describing their experiences under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"


  • Unlike other databases that aggregate information without context, Issues offers the complete historical background and contemporary status of each issue and also provides supporting facts, figures, and timelines
  • The content is organized to help researchers understand and analyze the topics, guiding them in framing questions and supporting them in drawing conclusions
  • Library resources are maximized, with reference and curriculum tools in one, providing great value
Advisory Board

Julie Dunbar leads ABC-CLIO's electronic program in geography and issues. Alongside her team, she writes, edits, and acquires content for the company's award-winning World Geography, United States Geography, and Issues databases. She has a BA in geography from the University of Colorado and an MFA in writing from Naropa University. She lives in Colorado.

Gregg Lee Carter (Ph.D., Columbia University) is Professor of Sociology at Bryant University in Smithfield, Rhode Island, where he is the Chair of the Department of History & Social Sciences. He has authored or edited 24 books, including the first and revised editions of Guns in American Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, Culture, and the Law (ABC-CLIO, 2002; 2012) and Gun Control in the United States: A Reference Handbook (ABC-CLIO, 2006; 2016). His writings on contemporary social issues have also appeared in more than a dozen academic journals. He is a former president of the New England Sociological Association and a former associate editor of the journal Teaching Sociology. He is the recipient of the New England Sociological Association's "Sociologist of the Year Award" and the American Sociological Association's sectional "Outstanding Contributions to Instruction Award," and recipient of Bryant University's Excellence in Teaching Award," and "Distinguished Faculty Member Award."

Jeremy Gypton joined in 2014 as a Teacher Program Manager. Prior to his work with there, he served as a high school administrator and curriculum leader for three years, and a teacher of a variety of social studies courses for 11 years in Tucson, Arizona. He has taught both Advanced Placement U.S. History and U.S. Government and Politics as well as Dual Enrollment courses for Pima Community College in Tucson. He has extensive experience in curriculum studies, teacher professional development, and instructional technology. Jeremy is a graduate of the University of Arizona's College of Education and has master's degrees from American Military University and Grand Canyon University, in military studies and education administration, respectively. Jeremy is married and lives in Tucson, Arizona with his wife and two daughters.

Bridgett A. King is assistant professor of political science at Auburn University and an instructor in the Election Center's Certified Elections/Registration Administrator (CERA) program. King was formerly a voting rights researcher at the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law. Dr. King specializes in American politics, political participation, disenfranchisement, race and ethnicity, and higher education policy. Her writing has appeared in the Journal of Black Studies, Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Counseling and Development, and Information Technologies and International Development Journal. She is also coeditor (with Kathleen Hale) of Why Don't Americans Vote? (ABC-CLIO, 2016). Dr. King earned her MA is justice studies and her PhD in political science from Kent State University.

Leeann Sullivan is a PhD candidate in human dimensions of natural resources at Colorado State University and research assistant at America's Wildlife Values. She specializes in environmental policy, natural resource conflicts, and water issues. She has worked for the U.S. Geological Survey and the Pardee Center for the Longer-Range Future at Boston University and she is a contributor for ABC-CLIO's Issues and Geography databases. Ms. Sullivan's writing also appears in Natural Resource Conflicts—From Blood Diamonds to Rainforest Destruction (ABC-CLIO 2016). She earned her MA in international relations and environmental policy from Boston University and her BA in political science from Ohio Northern University.



"Recommended for libraries that support a school curriculum or serve students in grades 7 and up."—Booklist

"The ease of use makes this a great tool for social science instruction as well as debate preparation."—MultiMedia & Internet@Schools

"Not only is Issues: Understanding Controversy and Society very useful for exploring current issues for social studies and English courses and research papers, it is also helpful for selecting and preparing for debate topics."—Library Media Connection

"This already outstanding resource has been improved with a crisp, easy-to-use interface that few students should have difficulty mastering. Highly recommended for school and public libraries."—Booklist

"This resource lets subscribers explore an issue . . . complete with a detailed Overview, Timeline, Facts & Figures, Current View & Outlook, questions for Discussion, and several Primary Sources. . . . Authoritative writing and accessibility are this product's key attributes."—Library Journal


"The Wayne School district has adopted a thematic curriculum for the teaching of World and US History. As a result of this curriculum shift, we have decided not to rely on a textbook as the primary instrument for instruction. In this age of digital technology, we have found that there are many wonderful digital resources that students and teachers can utilize to enrich the learning experience. One of the best is ABC-CLIO. We find their databases of information to be rich in primary source materials, their readings to be clear and concise, and their videos, graphs, and charts very engaging. Furthermore, the ABC-CLIO databases are easy to navigate for students and teachers. Searches are easily obtained including advance searches. ABC-CLIO even provides stimulating lessons and discussion points to further enhance the classroom experience. We are very happy with their product including their support services. I would recommend ABC-CLIO to any school district looking to move their curriculum into the 21st century."
—Carmine J. Picardo, Supervisor of Curriculum and Instruction, Wayne Public Schools


2007 Best Educational Software Award (BESSIE) - Social Studies Website — ComputEd Gazette

2007 Distinguished Achievement Award — AEP

2007 Education Software Review Award (EDDIE) - Social Studies — ComputEd Gazette

2008 Best Educational Software Award (BESSIE)—Social Studies Web Site — ComputEd Gazette

2008 Education Software Review Award (EDDIE) — ComputEd Gazette

2008 Award of Excellence — Tech and Learning

2013 Best Educational Software Award (BESSIE) — ComputEd Gazette

2016 Best Educational Software Award (BESSIE) - Social Studies Website — ComputEd Gazette

Series Description

ABC-CLIO Solutions School Editions

Offering effective technology for your library and created specifically for middle and high school students, ABC-CLIO Solutions Schools Edition provides authoritative coverage of essential topics in U.S. history and government, world history, geography, and a range of multicultural and popular culture subjects.

Each online ABC-CLIO Solution includes four innovative components:

A COMPREHENSIVE REFERENCE LIBRARY with content from more than 230,000 primary sources and entries encompassing audio, video, photographs, illustrations, maps, and rich media.

A STANDARDS-BASED CURRICULUM updated daily by a team of subject-specific editorial experts and supported by an extensive range of instructional material.

A DEEP COLLECTION OF MODEL COMMENTARIES from noted scholars that have been specially commissioned to foster critical thinking stimulated by exposure to varying points of view.

AN EDUCATOR SUPPORT CENTER containing valuable professional development tools as well as relevant resources such as discussion points, activities, lesson plans, and research lists.


  • Updated daily with vetted, authoritative content, ABC-CLIO Solutions are always current, making outdated textbooks a thing of the past
  • Each Solutions database include a subject-specific library, a curriculum, unique model commentaries, and a full-featured educator support center
  • They’re online and available for students and educators to access anywhere, anytime
  • More affordable than resources with far less content and fewer advanced features, Solutions databases represent an outstanding value

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