11 Smart Sources for an Effective Affirmative Action Essay

If you need to write an opinion paper about affirmative action and all you know about the topic is that it has something to do with discrimination and education, or discrimination and the workplace, you’re going to need to do a little research before you can write your paper.

Even if you consider yourself an expert on affirmative action, you might have to write a research paper about the topic. If this is the case, you’ll still need to do some research before you write.

If you’re looking for a few sources to get started, check out these 11 sources for an effective affirmative action essay.

11 Smart Sources for an Effective Affirmative Action Essay

affirmative action essay

No matter what type of paper you write for your affirmative action essay, you’re going to need a variety of different types of sources for your research. I’ve divided these affirmative action sources into four categories:

  • Background information articles
  • Articles related to affirmative action and education
  • Scholarly articles
  • Pro/con articles

I’ve also included MLA 8 and APA citations in case you want to cite the article in your own paper. If you need a little help with the in-text citations for MLA 7 format, check out MLA Citation Format Made Easy (infographic).

Affirmative Action Background and Overview

affirmative action essay

Article #1: Affirmative Action

Published by The Leadership Conference, “the nation’s premier civil and human rights coalition,” this article includes a historical and legal overview of affirmative action, as well as current debates and developments.

MLA 8 Citation

“Affirmative Action.” The Leadership Conference, 2016, www.civilrights.org/resources/civilrights101/affirmaction.html.

APA Citation

Affirmative action. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.civilrights.org/resources/civilrights101/affirmaction.html

Article #2: Affirmative Action – Overview

This article is published by the National Conference on State Legislatures and provides background information, as well as a discussion of both sides of the affirmative action debate. The article also links to additional resources.

MLA 8 Citation

“Affirmative Action Overview.” National Council on State Legislatures, 2 Feb. 2014, www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-overview.aspx.

APA Citation

Affirmative action overview. (2014). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-overview.aspx

Article #3: Ten Myths About Affirmative Action

Originally published in the Journal of Social Issues in 2003, this recently updated article discusses 10 common myths about affirmative action. The article also contains a list of references that you might want to review as part of your research. (Some of the articles are dated but could be used in a historical discussion of the topic.)

MLA 8 Citation

Plous, Scott. “Ten Myths About Affirmative Action.” Understanding Prejudice,  www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-overview.aspx.

APA Citation

Plous, S. (n.d.). 10 myths about affirmative action. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-overview.aspx

Affirmative Action and Education

affirmative action essay

Article #4: Affirmative Action in Education

Published by the Equal Opportunity and Equity Staff of NC State University, this brief article highlights the need for affirmative action in higher education.

MLA 8 Citation

“Affirmative Action in Education.” NC State, oied.ncsu.edu/equity/affirmative-action-in-education/.

APA Citation

Affirmative action in education. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://oied.ncsu.edu/equity/affirmative-action-in-education/

Article #5: Affirmative Action and the Crisis in Higher Education

This article is published by a respected news source, The Huffington Post, and discusses how affirmative action affects higher education in the areas of admissions, financial assistance, and faculty hiring.

MLA 8 Citation

Gerber, Scott D. “Affirmative Action and the Crisis in Higher Education.” The Huffington Post, 8 Aug. 2014, www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-d-gerber/affirmative-action-and-th_b_5675128.html.

APA Citation

Gerber, S. D. (2014, August 8). Affirmative action and the crisis in higher education. The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-d-gerber/affirmative-action-and-th_b_5675128.html

Article #6: Seven Myths about Affirmative Action in Universities

This resource is the text of a speech given by President Lee C. Bollinger, the nineteenth president of Columbia University and an affirmative action advocate. As the title indicates, the speech includes seven myths about affirmative action in higher education.

MLA 8 Citation

“Seven Myths about Affirmative Action.” Columbia University, www.columbia.edu/content/seven-myths-about-affirmative-action-universities.html.

APA Citation

Seven myths about affirmative action. (n.d.). Retrieved May 31, 2017, from http://www.columbia.edu/content/seven-myths-about-affirmative-action-universities.html

Affirmative Action—Scholarly Articles

affirmative action essay
“Graduation & Safe Driving” by State Farm, Flickr.com (CC BY 2.0) /cropped

Article #7: How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness

The authors of this article conclude that women and men respond differently to competition. It suggests that if affirmative action is put into place to ensure that both men and women are represented equally in high-profile professions and jobs, the gender gap may be lessened.

MLA 8 Citation

Niederle, Muriel, Carmit Segal, and Lise Veterlund. “How Costly is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness.” Management Science, vol. 59, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1-16, dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1120.1602.

APA Citation

Niederle, M., Segal, C., & Veterlund, L. (2013). How costly is diversity? Affirmative action in light of gender differences in competitiveness. Management Science, 59(1), pp. 1-16. dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.1120.1602

Article #8: The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities

affirmative action essay

The author of this article, Peter Hinrichs, concludes that most college and university students realize no effects from affirmative action bans. He also concludes that affirmative action bans decrease enrollment of minority students while increasing white enrollment at some colleges.

While this source is a working paper, CiteSeerX is a scientific literature digital library with scholarly publications. Hinrichs later published a shorter article of the same title in The Review of Economics and Statistics, a scholarly journal.

MLA 8 Citation

Hinrichs, Peter. “The Effects of Affirmative Action Bans on College Enrollment, Educational Attainment, and the Demographic Composition of Universities.” CiteSeerX, 2010, citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.484.8523&rep=rep1&type=pdf.

APA Citation

Hinrichs, P. (2010). The effects of affirmative action bans on college enrollment, educational attainment, and the demographic composition of universities. Retrieved from http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.484.8523&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Article #9: Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?

The author of this article concludes that affirmative action bans had little effect on black and Hispanic enrollment at public universities and had little effect on black and Hispanic graduation rates. However, he does find that black and Hispanic enrollment drops at top universities.

MLA 8 Citation

Backes, Ben. “Do Affirmative Action Bans Lower Minority College Enrollment and Attainment?” The Journal of Human Resources, Spring 2012, vol. 47, no. 2, pp. 435-55. doi: 10.3368/jhr.47.2.435.

APA Citation

Backes, B. (2012). “Do affirmative action bans lower minority college enrollment and attainment? The Journal of Human Resources, 47,(2), pp. 435-455. doi: 10.3368/jhr.47.2.435

Pros and Cons of Affirmative Action

affirmative action essay

Article #10: Does the US Need Affirmative Action?

This resources includes quotes and links to various articles (both written and published by credible sources) that discuss the pros and cons of affirmative action. This resource is from the nonprofit group ProCon.org, whose goal is to provide free educational resources on important issues.

MLA 8 Citation

“Does the US Need Affirmative Action?” ProCon.org, 19 Nov. 2009, aclu.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000697.

APA Citation

Does the US need affirmative action? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://aclu.procon.org//view.answers.php?questionID=000697

Article #11: The Case For Affirmative Action

Written by Charles J. Ogletree Jr., a Harvard Law School professor and member of the Stanford Board of Trustees, this brief article argues that affirmative action must continue in order to ensure that student populations at universities remain diverse.

MLA 8 Citation

Ogletree, Charles, Jr. “The Case For Affirmative Action.” Stanford, alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=43428.

APA Citation

Ogletree, C. (n.d.). The case for affirmative action. Retrieved from https://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=43428

Even More Resources

affirmative action essay

Because I’m just that kind of gal, here are a few more resources to help you write that “A” affirmative action essay.

Check out these sample affirmative action essays from our database to see what types of strategies others have used when writing about this topic. And if you need to cite additional sources, use the MLA 8 or APA guide below for extra guidance:

Once you’ve researched, outlined, drafted, and revised your affirmative action essay, why not get another opinion? Have a Kibin editor read your paper to make sure you’re on your way to that “A”!

Psst... 98% of Kibin users report better grades! Get inspiration from over 500,000 example essays.

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