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CQ Researcher

What is a CQ Researcher Report?     "Full Report" icon         "Short Report" icon

The Reports found in CQ Researcher exist in a hard-to-classify "grey area" between academic, peer-reviewed literature and popular press publications like magazines. To be clear: CQ Researcher Reports are not peer-reviewed and are not considered academic/scholarly sources; however, they are rigorously fact-checked and edited by professionals before publication and, unlike traditional magazine articles, the journalists who write CQ Researcher Reports always include extensive footnotes and annotated bibliographies at the end of their writing.

For citation purposes, LAVC Library recommends treating CQ Researcher Reports like magazine articles from a website (please refer to our MLA and APA citation guides for formatting rules and examples; more on citing in CQ Researcher on the Saving & Citing page of this guide).

Reports in CQ Researcher come in two types: Full or Short. As the name suggests, Full Reports are the most in-depth sources that you can find in CQ Researcher. They are usually over 20 pages long (when viewed as a PDF file) and cover a topic extensively, from background information, through the current situation, all the way to future outlooks. Short Reports act as accompaniments to the Full Reports -- usually around 5-10 pages long, they are not meant to cover every aspect of a topic (like Full Reports do), but rather, they contain the most current, up-to-date information on particular facets of that topic. Read below for more detailed information on Full/Short Reports.

Source: CQ Researcher Help

Full Reports

In most situations, if you're using CQ Researcher, your goal should be to find at least one Full Report on your topic because it will provide you with the most information possible. To get a sense of just how thorough a Full Report can be, take a look at the breakdown below:

You can jump around to the different sections of a Full Report by clicking on the links in the left-hand column under "FULL REPORT," or, you can simply scroll down to read through the Report in order. Notable sections include:

  • Overview: explores main themes, terminology, trends and controversies surrounding a topic. Included are three debate-style "Issue Questions" (in blue) that delve into specific facets of the report’s main topic and may give you ideas for further research or thesis statements.
  • Background: provides historical context by showing how the issue and controversies surrounding it have evolved over time.
  • Current Situation: where this issue stands today.
  • Outlook: experts discuss what they expect to happen in the future. What developments are important to look for next?
  • Pro/Con: essays written by outside experts who argue a “yes” or “no” position on a vital question related to the topic. Helps with exploring opposing sides of an issue and becoming familiar with common arguments/evidence used from both sides.
  • Short Features: essays written by other journalists on related facets of the issue, with links to related reports (citations included).
  • Bibliography/The Next Step: annotated bibliographies of books, articles, and reports/studies related to this topic, with links to each one!
  • Footnotes: the entire list of citations, located near the very end of the Full Report. Additionally, interactive footnotes appear throughout the body of the Report--users can click on these footnotes to view the full citation, with links directly to the source when possible (see screenshots, below).


Nest steps: after reading a Full Report, we recommend taking a look at the links listed at the top of the Report, in the far-right column (under "Issue Tracker" and "Browse Related Topics"). These will take you to related reports/topics and allows you to track an issue over time to see how it's evolved.

Source: CQ Researcher Roadmap

Short Reports

Short Reports (see example, below) serve as supplements to Full Reports by providing even more up-to-date information on related topics/issues. They aren't quite as long or thorough as Full Reports -- they tend to stick to 1-2 facets of an issue and don't have as many "sections" as a Full Report -- but they do include extensive, interactive footnotes and are held to the same fact-checking standards as Full Reports.

Although Full Reports may contain the most information on your topic, we also recommend reading Short Reports because they are vital in filling in some of the gaps in Full Reports, and they help guarantee that you are getting a well-rounded picture in your research. Note: the Reports listed under "Related Reports" (located in the far-right column, at the top of a Short Report) will link you out to relevant Full Reports.

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