Controversy is a state of prolonged public dispute or debate, usually concerning a matter of conflicting opinion or point of view. The word was coined from the Latin controversia, as a composite of controversus – "turned in an opposite direction," from contra – "against" – and vertere – to turn, or versus (see verse), hence, "to turn against."
The most contentious or well known controversial subjects, topics or areas are politics, religion and sex. Other areas of controversy include historyand philosophy. Other minor yet prominent areas of controversy are economics, science, finances, culture, education, the military, society, celebrities, organisation, the media, age, gender, and race. Controversy in matters of theology has traditionally been particularly heated, giving rise to the phrase odium theologicum. Controversial issues are held as potentially divisive in a given society, because they can lead to tension and ill will, as a result they are often taboo to be discussed in the light of company in many cultures.
Controversial topics make interesting topics for research. There are many books in our libraries devoted to discussing both sides of timely issues we might find in the news. Notably, these titles include Opposing Viewpoints and Issues and Controversies.
Also, there are specialized databases devoted to dissecting such issues. Among them are SIRS (Social Issues Resource Series).
Issues and Controversies and Opposing Viewpoints. The material in the databases is sometimes the same as contained in the book sets, but in addition, includes more enhanced and current articles on hundreds of topics.