Evaluating a Social/Cultural Idea or Event, by Supporting a Claim That Reflects One View

In evaluating social or cultural ideas some of the most provocative questions and arguments occur around theories to explain various controversies, conspiracies, "mysteries" or challenging-to-understand issues or events.  As a class project that gives us a chance to look more deeply into an event or ongoing issue recent enough to provide a wide array of opinions, research and living witnesses, we will review and evaluate the material surrounding one of the following social/cultural issues and any implications for our world. Using "story," "analogy" or other rhetorical elements we have covered will be strong parts of the final version--even epigraphs [a quotation at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc, suggesting its theme] are encouraged.

  As you  investigate topics and choose 1-3 possible ones to explore, be sure to let verifiable evidence from your research lead your thinking. "Cherry-picking" only evidence that reflects your personal view is "lame" and unethical. Examining arguments counter to yours and finding evidence to disprove them make very convincing information FOR your claim.  As long as there is good evidence to support the thesis, virtually any position on your topic is possible, but any topic must be approved by the instructor ASAP. The topic you choose must conform to the documentation style of field of study which characterizes that topic: Fields of Study list | Fields and Styles.

Possible topics to explore for E2 Documented Argument Evaluation: Others may be considered, but please confer with me about them. No Pro-Con or simple review of material fits this project. These links below are for general information:

  1. Search for and research an important issue in your field of study, medicine, law enforcement, forestry, psychology, etc. OR choose from:

  2.  List of some Controversial Issues.

  3. List of some Conspiracies.

  4. Some issue in "Alternative" studies:  history, archeology, science, medicine, etc.  

  5. WTC 7 –explore the official account (the 9/11 Commission Report, etc.) and the alternate accounts of its loss (e.g. 9/11: Explosive Evidence full version and shorter explanation for WTC7).

  6. Racism: Define "Race" and explore the various theories of "racial or cultural superiority" based on skin color, cultural heritage, or beliefs.

  7. The Role of the Media and Journalism in a free society such as the United States. One view,  another and another.

  8. Public Land Management: One view and another.

  9. Something not listed but a topic with a clear social impact. Anything not listed above MUST be approved ASAP by conferencing with me.

Project Details and Stages Overview: Please choose one of the social/cultural topics above or--with instructor approval--a "mystery," conspiracy theory or controversy that intrigues you:

Scope of E2 Paper:

1. c.2000-2500 wds. - 8-10 pages (c.250wds/page/)
2. with at least 5-8 sources cited from at least 8-10 in an annotated bibliography
3. at least 2+ cited sources must be from scholarly peer reviewed journals/databases
4. an evaluation /critique) of credibility of one possible source [include print out of first 1-2 pages and last 1-2 pages]  of authoritative evidence
5. a semi-formal research proposal-(template includes annotated bibliography)
6. annotated bibliography explanation (at least 8-10 listings in template above)
7. conforms to appropriate format and style for documented, argument writing in your topic's field.

Here is a suggested staged process divided by green, brown and purple type. These stages can be accelerated as suits each student's pace, but the progress journals will need to be turned in each week EVEN IF THE STAGES GO LONGER than the identified time frame, and/or as each stage is finished.

Stage one: A6 = journal to summarize the process of  Finding the Focus-- as part of the Topic Exp document, add the other points (numbered) for this A6 journal.

  1. Do an Basic Topic Exp. to establish what you may already know and pose any questions you have about the topic. If the possible topic changes, a new loop exp. is needed.
  2. Determine and make a list of some search terms that may/do produce useful information.
  3. Explore internet resources including data bases, etc. that can show many facets of the topic (copy/paste possible urls for later)
  4. As needed, add a few sentences about progress, and any questions, to this point.

Stage two   You can allow 2 weeks to complete:THE A7/8 = journal to summarize the process of Finding and Evaluating Sources--present as a 3--part stapled packet.     (1 and 2 are technically combined)

  1. Write/complete a semi-formal proposal Fields of Study list | Fields and Styles |
  2. Keep an annotated list of urls and other resources such as print periodicals, books, etc. (including the publishing information) -- the base of an annotated bibliography (part of the proposal) which for this project must have at least 8-10 entries.
  3. a.) Formulate a more solid thesis/claim sentence (include counter-argument) and three main points/reasons (an argument) for which you can present good evidence. 
  4. Use OWL Guide to Evaluate sources Evaluate one possible source fully (all considerations). include print out of first 1-2 pages and last 1-2 pages of the article being evaluated.
  5. Write out in paragraph form a statement of your current progress--problems, etc.
Stage three : A9 = journal to summarize the process of Building and Shaping the Draft for peer edit.
  1. Build an outline of the paper (or with Outline Maker) or do a Position Paper worksheet  |  MS APA template specific points/paragraph topics, reasoning and evidence for each (OPTIONAL: Try a Scripting Grid if that helps arrange the material.
  2. As the essay material and focus develop please consult text, links, style guides, peer edits and other material on, Argument, YouTube on argument writing and CounterArgument   (youtube example)   Also, Please find a relevant quote/saying to use in an epigraph> Epigraph APA formatting, and in MLA¶6to epigraph def., sources/title ideas or Google "sayings  about [key idea] e.g "fairness"  as needed.
  3. Write out in paragraph form your current progress on this project, pluses & minuses, and current THESIS SENTENCE, etc..

Stage four-- Final Journal  A10  is the PROCESS/Debriefing WRITING for E2 that is part of the E2 Packet including journals A6-A9 and any other progress journals. Continue completing the stages and finishing the parts of the final packet of material. For adding length, try these ways to include more material toward target word count:

  1. generate more reasons for your thesis and find/add evidence
  2. include more example situations/ accounts that illustrate your thesis, etc.
  3. add more explanation and evidence to discount the counter argument(s).
  4. expand explanations of evidence, transitions, etc.
  5. add more sources and CITE them...
  6. add more definitions of terms even though they might be familiar, e.g. "disease"  

                                                  Presto--E2 pretty much done....

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