FIRC Speech


You’ll use points gathered from some of the resources below to construct your persuasive speech. Sources include eBooks, newspapers, polemic and/or industry magazines, think tank reports, and Congressional Research Service reports. For longer sources like reports it’s important to skim strategically and use features like the Table of Contents (when avaiable) to read efficiently.

  • Have the list of passwords for the library’s research databases out and available. As you use each database, save these passwords to your browser or password manager.
  • You do NOT need to read every source for your topic from beginning to end.
  • The first sources under each heading are intended to familiarize you with the topic.
  • Skim sources strategically to determine which ones will be most useful to you.
  • Some sources, such as those highlighted in purple include lists of contrasting viewpoints about the topic.
  • Consider the author’s and/or organization’s bias as you consider what they say
  • If this is your first introduction to think tanks, there are tools to help you identify key think tanks and search for think thank reports and posts; to understand a think tank’s leanings, check their about page and “source the source,” Googling them to see what others say about them and who cites their research
  • Notice the name and credentials of the author(s) so that you can mention who they are in your speech IF that could amplify the persuasiveness of the point you’re making.
  • Beyond this speech: When researching public policy, in addition to Issues Researcher and other library databases, Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports, news on (check “Search the Web” tab for Left-Center-Right results),, and direct searches on the sites of stakeholder organizations can be useful.


Overview: Costs and Benefits of Fracking – Current Controversies: Fracking (Gale eBooks)

Executive Summary or Intro of America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity (HBS & BCG – open access)

Overview: Fracking is a Boon for Energy Production but May Damage the Environment – Current Controversies: Fracking (Gale eBooks)

What Would Happen if the U.S. Banned Fracking? – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher) – conversation with two experts with contrasting viewpoints on this issue

Continue Use of Fracking

Fracking Is an Important Part of Our Energy Future – Current Controversies: Fracking – (Gale eBooks)

Backgrounder: Turning America’s Energy Abundance into Energy Dominance – Heritage Foundation (open access)

Hydraulic Fracking: Critical for Energy Production, Jobs, and Economic Growth– Heritage Foundation (open access)

Chapter 3 of America’s Unconventional Energy Opportunity (2015) – Harvard Business School and BCG (open access)

A Ban on Hydraulic Fracking: No Fracking Way – Heritage Foundation (open access)

Note to Politicians: Fracking Is Not a Dirty Word – Orlando Sentinel (Issues Researcher)

Study: Wells, Not Fracking Taint Drinking Water – Bismarck Tribune (Issues Researcher)

Decrease Use of Fracking

In U-Turn, EPA Says Fracking Can Pose a Threat to Drinking Water – Christian Science Monitor (Issues Researcher)

Questions and Answers about the EPA’s Hydraulic Fracturing Drinking Water Assessment – EPA (open access)

EPA Approved Toxic Chemicals for Fracking a Decade Ago – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

Fracking Will Not Reduce Net Greenhouse Gas Emissions – Current Controversies: Fracking – (Gale eBooks)

Fracking Is One of the Least Sustainable Ways to Produce…– The Independent (Issues Researcher)

Fracking Causes Earthquakes – Current Controversies: Fracking – (Gale eBooks)

Stanford Scientists Map Local Earthquake Risks – Targeted News Service (Issues Researcher)


Minimum Wage

Minimum Wage – Today’s Social Issues: Democrats and Republicans (Gale eBooks)

Minimum Wage Timeline – ProQuest Staff – SIRS Timelines (Issues Researcher)

The Federal Minimum Wage: In Brief – Congressional Research Service (open access)

Citizens in Half the U.S. States Will See Minimum Wage Increases in 2021 – U.S. Newswire (Issues Researcher)

How Does Vocational Education Impact Education Gaps? – Chicago Policy Review (open access) – findings based largely on the cited NBER working paper comparing U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom

High Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University – NPR (open access)

Do not Raise the Minimum Wage

$15-an-hour Minimum Wage Could Further Sting Teen Employment – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher)

The Human Cost of a Minimum Wage – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher)

Report: $15 Minimum Wage Could Cost 1.4 Million Jobs – USA Today (Issues Researcher)

The Case Against the $15 Minimum Wage, Q&A – Cato Institute (open access)

Four Reasons Not to Raise the Minimum Wage – Cato Institute (open access)

Raise the Minimum Wage

It’s Time to Stop Waging War on the Poor – Washington Post (Issues Researcher)

A Better Minimum Wage Means Happier Employees, Better Business – Orlando Sentinel (Issues Researcher)

Fresno Offers Lesson to U.S. on Wage Issue – New York Times (Issues Researcher) article references MIT’s Living Wage Calculator (open access)

Raise the Minimum Wage – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

How a $15 Minimum Wage Could Help Restaurants and Other Small Businesses – Brookings Institution (open access)

$15 Minimum Wage Could Help Millions of Struggling Households – Brookings Institution (open access)


Single-Use Plastics

The Plastics Age – Gale U.S. History Online Collection (Gale in Context: U.S. History)

Plastic Use Soars During Pandemic – USA Today (Issues Researcher)

Around 90% of All River-borne Plastic that Ends Up in the Ocean Comes from Just 10 Rivers – World Economic Forum (open access)

Introduction section of Production, Use, and Fate of All Plastics Ever Made – Science Advances (open access)

Plastic: We Made It. We Depend on It. We’re Drowning in It. – National Geographic (Explora) – covers a wide range of possible solutions, including bans, and covers many benefits of plastics

State Plastic Bag Legislation – National Conference of State Legislatures (open access)

Disposable Plastic Bag Tax – Virginia Department of Taxation (open access)

Do not Regulate or Tax Single-Use Plastics

Plastic Ban: Right Problem, Wrong Solution – Globe and Mail (Issues Researcher)

In Plastic Bag Wars, Industry Fights Back – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher)

What To Do about Plastic Pollution: Bans on Bags Will Not Solve Global Recycling Failure – Scientific American (Explora)

Senator Proposes 20-cent Virgin Plastic Tax – Plastic News (Explora)

Pandemic-Paused Plastic Bag Bans Ripped Anew by Critics – (Issues Researcher)

Small Businesses Say “No” to Local Plastic Bag Bans – States News Service (Gale General OneFile)

Survey of Economic Effects of Los Angeles County’s Plastic Bag Ban – National Center for Policy Analysis (open access)

The Bag Ban Blunder – Cato Institute (open access)

Left Wing Politicians Wage War on Plastics – Heritage Foundation (open access)

Regulate or Tax Single-Use Plastics

Washington State Bans Polystyrene Foam, Limits Single Use Plastics – Waste360 (Issues Researcher)

Northern VA Officials Have Wanted to Tax Plastic Bags for Years – Washington Post (Gale in Context: U.S. History)

Takeway Food and Drink Litter Dominates Ocean Plastic, Study Shows – The Guardian (Explora)

Twenty Cent Consumer Tax on Plastic and Paper Bags – The Review of Policy Research (Gale in Context: U.S. History)

World Oceans Day Shines Light on Marine Plastic Pollution – University Wire (Issues Researcher)

Do We Really Need So Much Plastic? – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

What’s the Fix for U.S. Plastic Waste Pile-up? – Waste 360 (Issues Researcher)

Study: Where Are Plastic Bags Banned Around the World? – Waste 360 (Gale General OneFile)

As Colorado Debates Plastics Ban, Industry Supports Packaging Tax – Plastic News (Explora)

Banning Plastics: One Village’s Approach – Public Management (Explora)

Nudging Consumers Toward Green Practices – American Economic Association (open access)

Plastic Bag Ban Fact Sheet – Sierra Club Maryland (open access)


Voting Laws

Voting Rights – Today’s Social Issues: Democrats and Republicans (Gale eBooks)

Voting Rights and Electoral Reform (Leading Issue – Issues Researcher)

The Voter ID Debate – Tampa Bay Times (Issues Researcher)

How Convenient Should Voting Be? Court Ruling Leaves No Clear Answer – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

BattleGround States Ask: Is Voting in America Too Easy or Too Hard? – Christian Science Monitor (Issues Researcher)

Voting Rights Act: Supreme Court Provides “Guideposts” for Determining Violations of Section 2 – Congressional Research Service (open access)

State Voter ID Requirements (2016) – Congressional Research Service (open access) – lengthy report – use Table of Contents strategically

Increase Voting Restrictions to Protect Election Integrity

Manchin’s Voter ID Deception – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher)

H.R. 1 Would Steamroll the Constitution – Wall Street Journal (Issues Researcher)

Opposing View: Widespread Voting by Mail Poses Risks – USA Today (Issues Researcher)

Grove: Voting Rights Protection Act Would Prevent Ballot Harvesting – States News Service (Gale General OneFile)

How to Secure Elections – National Review (Explora)

Voter Suppression Lie – Cato Institute (open access)

What Voter Suppression? – National Review (Explora)

Supreme Court Gives Good Guidance on Voting Rights – Cato Institute (open access)

Voter Photo Identification: Protecting the Security of Elections – Heritage Foundation (open access)

The Facts about Election Integrity – Heritage Foundation (open access)

Left Labeling Election Integrity Reforms as “Jim Crow” Is a Lie – Heritage Foundation (open access)

Minimize Voting Restrictions to Protect Access to Voting

Democrats Signal They’re Open to Voter ID Requirements – Washington Post (Issues Researcher)

Growing Disparity in State Rules for Voting – Washington Post (Issues Researcher)

Inside a Voter Rights Law with Historic Implications – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

Fact Check: A Look at Four False Claims – New York Times (Issues Researcher)

Expanded Access? Historic Restriction? Georgia’s New Voting Law – Washington Post (Issues Researcher)

Election Experts: Justices Set Low Bar on Fraud – USA Today (Gale in Context: U.S. History)

Native Americans See Voting Barriers Grow – USA Today (Issues Researcher)

Make Election Day a National HolidayVote By Mail, and Voter Registration at Tax Time – Brookings Institution (open access)

How to Combat Online Voter Suppression – Brookings Institution (open access)

Red-tape Voter Suppression – Brookings Institution (open access)

Texas’s Jim Crow Voting Laws – The Nation (Explora)

What If They Held an Election and Everyone Came? Texas (2020) OR How Voter Suppression Imperils the Midterms (2018) – The Nation (Explora)

The Impact of Voter Suppression on Communities of Color (2022) – Brennan Center

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