The goal of this paper is to construct a fair-minded, unbiased, analytical analysis of a topic in a comprehensive essay.
- This is not an opinion piece or a persuasive essay that simply aims to prove or reinforce what you already believe. This would be confirmation bias, and bias must be avoided in this project.
- This project needs to avoid harsh rhetoric or language that is harmful and hurtful in nature. The point is to be objective and unemotional in your approach.
- This essay should be written in a fair, academic, respectful, and analytical manner regardless of any of your opinions, feelings, or preconceived notions about the topic.
- Both sides of your topic must be treated with equal attention, both in terms of the number and quality of sources and in the depth and breadth of their presentation in your essay. Both sides should be addressed in the same number of paragraphs in roughly equivalent detail, and should be supported by the same number of quality sources.
- You must identify and define rhetorical devices and logical fallacies on both sides of the argument. Be sure you indicate which specific rhetorical device and fallacy you have found, and there is evidence in your sources of these course concepts in practice that is cited in your paper.
- You will present statements and claims for analyzing both sides of the topic. Only then should you state you own conclusion as an objective, critical thinker given the information presented.
Topic Selection: Students should select a topic they are very interested in that has academically legitimate research that supports a two-sided argument. Suggested topics include:
- Gender neutral bathrooms
- Police brutality/excessive force
- Sex education in shool
- Immigration reform
- Taxpayer-funded health care
- Refugees seeking asylum
- Physician‐assisted suicide
- Gun laws
- Marijuana legalization (specify medical vs. recreational use)
- Spanking to discipline children
- Organic vs. non-organic foods
- E‐cigarettes vs. tobacco cigarettes
- Human-caused climate change (check with your professor on specifics)
- Effects of social
Essay Format: Your essay must be 5–7 pages (1600–1900 words) in length. The abstract, title page, and reference list do not count in the page or word count. The essay must have the following elements:
- Times New Roman
- 1-inch margins
- Proper Level I and Level II APA section headings for all major sections of the essay
- All other applicable APA formatting
- A properly formatted APA title page
- A properly formatted APA abstract
- Body of the paper
- Introduction: Identify the issue. Provide the necessary background and/or important recent developments. Define key terms and concepts. Engage the reader and explain the broader significance of the issue.
- Arguments and Counterarguments: Summarize the best arguments on both sides of the issue. Include relevant research from credible sources used to support each conclusion. Devote at least one paragraph to each side.
- Evaluation of Critical Thinking: Assess the strength of the arguments and the quality of thinking surrounding this issue.
- Identify weaknesses in critical thinking such as fallacies, rhetorical devices, vague language, and cognitive biases. Provide specific examples of how these weaknesses appear in arguments you encountered, using terminology and definitions from the course. Be specific! Present evidence from your sources that show these fallacies/biases being used.
- Evaluate the quality of scientific and anecdotal evidence using the standards of inductive and deductive reasoning described in the course. Consider the quality of causal relationship, analogies, generalizations, and/or moral reasoning.
- Conclusion: Analyze the totality of research and offer a critical thinker’s response to the issue. Identify your own position and experience with the issue and explain how your thinking of the subject has evolved as a result of your analysis. Your conclusion does not have to be absolute, but it should not be equivocal. If both sides have good arguments, which is better, even if only slightly better, and what is the argument that tips the scales in the sides’ favor? Why does that point tip the scales?
- A properly formatted APA reference list
- Sources should appear in alphabetical order according to the last name of the first author listed on the source.
- If there is no author(s), then the source should be cited by title or organization.
Sources and Research Sources: You must use five scholarly or academic sources and all research should be published within the last five years.