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Library Databases are collections of articles where the library buys the rights for you to access, read, link to, and print the articles. Although EBSCOhost is the best known provider of databases in Iowa, there are many others. Today we highlight another library database. All of our databases can be accessed both directly on any Kirkwood computer or by logging in with k number and password from anywhere off campus.


CQ Researcher – What it Is, Why to use it

The CQ in CQ Researcher stands for Congressional Quarterly and that’s how the company started out, doing simplified reports on in-depth research topics when they came up in Congress for the benefit of legislators. The company spread its target audience and began making those reports available to the public, first in a paper format and now as a database.

Their focus has remained on in-depth background research and it’s a great place to start a research project. Included in the reports are timelines, charts, and citations to where the information came from if you want to track it back and learn more. At the end of reports are suggested bibliographies for the subject in general and specific subtopics. Contacts for related organizations give you an idea of who to follow up with for more.

Also, many reports have a pro-con section that, unlike the set up in Opposing Viewpoints database, gives both a pro and a con essay that are linked to each other. So it’s also a great place to get ideas for topics on persuasive papers or speeches. They are very useful both to find arguments for your side and to figure out and counter points your opponent might cite.

Individual reports will vary and may not have all these sections, but normally within the report you will get:

  • Overview
  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Current Situation
  • Outlook
  • Short Features
  • Maps/Graphs
  • Chronology
  • Pro/Con
  • Bibliography
  • The Next Step
  • Organizations to Contact for more information
  • Footnotes
  • About the Author

Very short summary reports can be accessed from the Hot Topics column on the right hand side of the homepage. These reports have few of the features listed above and can only be printed clearly by using the 4th method described below under printing.

Search CQ Researcher by clicking here.

You can also find the link directly by clicking on the All Kirkwood Databases link on the Kirkwood Library Services home page and scroll to C for Congressional Quarterly. If you are accessing it from off campus you will have to log in with your K number and password at this point.

Tech tips

Find pros and cons 

One of the most useful features of CQ Researcher is the section where they offer dueling persuasive essays on a topic clearly paired with each other. To find them easily, hover your cursor over “Browse Reports” and click on “Pro/Con” at the bottom of the list. A list of topics will appear. Click on the one you are interested in.

Watch dates

Although they are constantly adding and updating reports, sometimes they do not come back to a subject for a long time or chose a slightly different tack than the previous report. In those cases older reports can remain on the system for some time, so make sure you check the date on anything you use. While even the older reports can provide excellent background, if you use an older report make sure to use other sources to bring your research information up to date.

Printing and Permalinks


Printing is probably the strangest part of CQ Researcher. You have four different ways to print.

  • At the top of the report, click “View PDF” by the PDF symbol. It will open and you can print like you normally print a PDF.
  • Go under the drop down menu that says “Print.” Then you can choose “Full Report” from the drop down menu and it will print the entire report.
  • Go under the drop down menu that is labeled “Print.” Then you can choose whichever individual section of the report you want from the drop down menu and it will print just that section.
  • Locate the band of colorful social media boxes in the upper right hand side of the page. Hover over the orange box with the plus sign. Click on print in the dropdown menu. NOTE: While you can print any report this way, it’s the ONLY option for printing if you are in one of the shorter Hot Topics reports.


To find a permalink (so you can always be directed back to the correct article):

  1. Open individual report
  2. Locate the band of colorful social media boxes in the upper right hand side of the page
  3. Click on the olive green box with an envelope on it for e-mail
  4. When the e-mail blank pops up copy the URL form the bottom of the e-mail form

More Information

All of the numbered footnotes in the report are clickable. They will bring you down to the bibliography at the end. Some of these resources will then let you access them immediately in full text, others you will have to find on your own. There is normally a section of recommended organizations to contact for more information.

Citations can be found by clicking “Cite Now” at the top or at the bottom of the report – it defaults to APA, but other formats can be chosen. Note: Database generated citations are often in error, double check before you trust your grade to one.

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.