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Pressure Groups (Politics A Level): Debate preparation

Debating task

This house believes ........ is a successful pressure group

Your teacher will assign you one of the following groups:

  • Gurkha Justice Campaign
  • Charter 88
  • Liberty
  • Howard league for Penal Reform
  • Stonewall
  • Amnesty International

Your task is to investigate this group to prepare to debate the motion "This house believes that ..... is a successful pressure group". You will not be told until shortly before the debate which side you will be on, so must be prepared to debate either side. Use the Finding and Evaluating Resources box below to help you to find appropriate resources for your investigation.

Make notes of your investigation in an Investigative Journal, using one page per source and using the tools in Word to create a bibliography as you work. Before the debate you should then summarise these notes on the Debate summary sheet, which you will be allowed to have with you during the debate. You can find both these resources in the Preparing for the Debate box below.

What will I need to submit?


You will need to upload the completed versions of your Investigative Journal  and Summary sheet for debate (see right) to your class Team.


undefinedOnce you have been told which side of the debate you are on, you should prepare a short video of 90 seconds or less to introduce your arguments and upload it to your class Team.

During the debate you will then have the chance to challenge statements made in your opponent's video in class.


During other group's debates you will need to use the Cornell note-taking sheet (see right) to make notes on other pressure groups, which you later use to write a timed essay.

Finding good quality resources

Subscription Databases

While you can use the general internet, you may also want to access our Subscription Databases page , which are high quality resources that we pay for so that you can use them without being charged. Particular databases you might find useful from this page are:Nesbank

  • Access Global Newsbank: a newspaper database, which will help you reach articles from newspapers that normally charge for access (e.g. Times, Telegraph). This is a global resource so it is best to limit your search by choosing UK National Broadsheets from the home page (see right).

  • Politics Review: one of the Hodder Education Magazines. Follow the instructions to gain access to these magazines.  You can then search the whole range of magazines or choose Politics Review Magazine and browse within that. Only some groups have articles about them so have a quick look and then move on if your group isn't covered.

  • JSTOR and EBSCO: Academic articles and e-books. May be a bit too academic for this type of information.

General Internet search tips

  • You need to branch out beyond the organisation’s own site. If you are overwhelmed by hits from that site, add -site: to your search (e.g Howard League for Penal Reform reputation
  • For funding issues try The Charity Commission.  [Note: The charity behind Liberty is called the Civil Liberties Trust and the charity behind 38 degrees is called 38 degrees trust]
  • Try terms like “strategy failure”, “history”, “criticism”.
  • Look for sources like Universities (, journals or reputable news outlets. You can check the reputation of a media site on
  • Many search engines have a 'news' bar at the top and for a topic like this it is often worth checking that (being careful to check the reputation of the news source with a site like )

Note that in this example you could read the BBC article online for free but the Telegraph and Times articles are behind paywalls. You could read them by logging in to Access Global Newsbank, clicking on the blue "UK National Broadsheets" box and searching for the article title:


It's also important to check a site for follow-up articles. Has the story moved on? For example this story on the BBC site a few days after the previous one updates the debate:

It is vital to check think about the quality of the information you find - during a debate one way to challenge your opponent's argument is to question the quality of their sources. See Evaluating resources box below.

Evaluating resources

It is vital to evaluate your resources as you go along and to record your thoughts on your Investigative Journal. During the debate you may need to defend your own sources and attack your opponent's. An excellent tool for this is CRAAP testing.






Use the rubric in the Preparing for the Debate box to the right to help you to CRAAP test your sources. The presentation and sample test below give you an example of how to use this tool.

During the debate

Use this sheet to make notes on other people's groups during the debate. You will need these notes to write an essay shortly.

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