Thesis Due: 3/1
First draft due: 3/3
Final draft due: 3/24
The Paper in a Nutshell:
You’ll be finding a controversy that’s currently being discussed in the national media. Find a popular claim from popular sources on opposite sides of this controversy. Ask how it is possible that two sources looking at the same information can make opposite claims, and ask which claim is actually accurate. Use this essay as an opportunity to apply scholarly research to these popular claims to discover which version of what you hear in popular media is in fact true.
For your research paper, you will be conducting more research than you’ve conducted for any other paper before in your life, and you’ll be applying that research by coming to conclusions about this issue based on the evidence you find. You will be posing yourselves as amateur journalists, asking into the issue without bias, and avoiding generalizations at all costs.
An easy-to-follow step-by-step guide as to how you can begin looks something like this:
Choose a controversial social issue to address
Consider an approach to this topic that will help to limit your search for information and your thoughts about the subject (ex. approaching abortion from a religious standpoint, approaching gay rights from a historical standpoint, approaching legalizing marijuana from a financial standpoint)
Research popular claims regarding this issue in the current news cycle.
Perform specified research w/r/t both your topic and the approach you’ve chosen, and keep your research narrow—do not deviate into areas irrelevant to your topic (ex. don’t start researching the benefits of medicinal marijuana if you’ve chosen to research the effects it will have on our economy, etc). Spend sleepless nights in the library (it’s open 24 hours) drinking coffee and Red Bull, obsessing about which quotes fit perfectly and where, surrounded by lined notebooks and post-it notes. Anything short of this is unacceptable.
After research, divide the issue with a clear binary opposition, and name each side (ex. gay rights via a historical standpoint might divide itself between the LGBTQ Movement, who believe that gay rights have been a significant movement to combat the oppression of gay people for a long time, and Neo-Conservatives, who believe that the gay rights movement is merely a recent fad and erroneously equated with the civil rights movement). Note how in that example, the two sides are being split under the lens of history, since that’s the chosen approach; nowhere is religion or law mentioned.
Come up with a set of questions which might help to structure your paper and keep it on point. Prove one point, then ask, what question is left now that I’ve proven this? (ex. approaching abortion from a religious standpoint, using quotes from the Bible to support the suggestion from a Pro-life view that abortion is wrong, then asking, “So even if the Bible says that abortion is immoral, where does that leave the rights of non-Christians who are considering the procedure?”)
Place all of your thoughts, arguments, ideas, and research within the structured outline I will be going over with you.
Reach a conclusion that posits a solution to the problem, based on the research you’ve done.
Come up with a title and subtitle that actually says something (ex. Queer History 101: The Case for America’s Most Lengthy and Unspoken Movement; High Profits: Exploring the Potential of Pot to Put Our Economy Back on Top; Thou Shalt Not Choose: The Religious Implications of Abortion in America)
Use easybib.com to create a proper works cited page—which is worth 10% of final grade on the paper, so do it right this time.
Print it out and hand it in.
Unequivocally, without any variation whatsoever, the papers that end up doing the best come from students who are engaged with their topic, who are curious passionate and invested in what they discuss and excited about being active participants in its solution. Do not—do NOT—pick a topic because it seems easy, or lends itself well to a writing course. I can see those guys coming from a mile away.
Boring stuff, but that shockingly few of you followed last time: Underlined title, italicized subtitle, times new roman, 12-font, double spaced, with a proper works cited page, italicize all names of publications, all article titles in quotations.
That’s it. Any questions, let me know. Good luck!
–T FIGHT THE POWER
Thesis Due: 3/1