TRW Structured Controversy

This paper is the most substantial assignment of the term – a research project resulting in a research paper. The purpose of this assignment is to enable you to substantially engage in understanding a major ethical controversy in our society (or world) today. In order to accomplish this, you will select a controversy that you want to understand better. The nature of the controversy must involve strong arguments on both sides. You should not have a strong opinion on the controversy when starting the assignment. This project will involve research, as you must locate and incorporate the arguments that have been presented on each side of your controversy. The structure of your final paper will involve each of the following, in this order:

Explaining the controversy in detail and depth that is sufficient to indicate that it is, in fact, a genuine controversy, meaning its resolution is not obvious.
Providing the arguments that have been made on each side of the controversy, with full citation of the sources of those arguments.
Comparing and contrasting the arguments.
Providing and defending your own position. Discuss which side you believe provides the best arguments of the controversy and why. Provide solid support and arguments for your position.

You will do research on your controversy, gathering together books and scholarly articles that deal with the controversy. It is likely that you will find books or articles that argue most strongly for one side or the other, though most arguments you read will include both sides. You must include at least six scholarly sources (books, peer reviewed articles), two multimedia sources, and two news articles. Note that web sites may only be used if they are legitimate (see Bedford Handbook for guidelines). A very good source for scholarly articles can be found on the St. Catherine University Library website (links available in D2L). If you do not know how to utilize St. Kate’s Library on-line, you may contact a librarian by email or chat. Please note: Wikipedia is not a legitimate scholarly source.

Research procedure: The paper should be written utilizing APA (Bedford Handbook, pp. 662 – 738). The final paper (part 5) will be eight – ten pages of double-spaced text plus a cover page and reference page. You will complete the paper in five parts:

Part 1: Brainstorm and topic proposal (online discussion): You will submit a short discussion listing all the topics you considered during the brainstorming stage, and indicating your #1, #2, and #3 choices along with why you considered these topics and what hurdles you may face in the research process. Most likely you will be able to do your #1 choice, but I do want to make sure students are doing different topics.

Part 2: Structured Controversies Outline and Annotated Bibliography (4-6 pages): A major goal of this course is to improve your writing. Therefore, you will do so by producing multiple iterations of your work with the goal of improving your writing each time. Suggestions will be provided, but editing will be at a minimum as you will be expected to utilize portions of the Bedford Handbook as directed to make improvements. This stage in the construction of your paper will be an outline where you lay out what you planning to do in each paragraph of the paper (in line with structure, above). This portion should be about 2 pages in length. For the Annotated Bibliography, you will find a minimum of four scholarly resources, one news article, one book, and one multimedia source representing both sides of your controversy. You will, 1. Construct an annotated bibliography and 2. Create your reference page in APA format.

Part 3: First Written Draft (8 pages of text): Important – The first written draft should be a completed draft, meaning, you should write the paper as if it is your final paper.

Part 4: Structured Controversies Presentations: You will present your structured controversy to the class (PowerPoint) and receive peer feedback. (10 minutes)

Part 5: Final Written Draft (8-10 pages of text): The final draft will include eight to ten pages of text, a cover page, and a reference page, and should have been significantly revised and refined based on the critiques of the professor and your peers.

Possible topics
You will note that each of these controversies requires some kind of resolution because each ultimately involves social policy and legislation.

Immigration policies
Genetically modified food/use of pesticides
Sex education/contraceptive information in middle school
Embryonic stem cells for medical therapies
Universal health care
Euthanasia and Physician-assisted suicide (Death with Dignity)
Use of drones in military tactics
Use of marijuana for medical treatment/recreationally

. . . and many more! Here is a link to a great resource provided by the St. Kate’s Library. Here you can find links to possible controversies, help with the writing process, and so much more.

Note: It is much better to choose a topic that you are interested in, but not strongly opinionated in one side or the other. If you already have a strong opinion on a topic, it is harder to remain unbiased in your writing.

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