For this assignment, you will choose a topic, narrow it, research different points of view about it, and identify your audience in order to develop your angle on the topic.
After looking at the list of topics below, which was shared in Week 1’s lecture, choose a topic in which you have more than just a passing interest. The best topic to choose is one which impacts you in some way. Having personal experience with the topic will probably lend some perspective on it and may get you closer to an angle on it. Also, sometimes research can be daunting, but if you have personal experience with the topic, or are even passionate about it, you will probably be more motivated to keep working when the “going gets tough.” Thus, while “interest” in a topic is important, mere interest will probably not sustain you through this project. You might ask yourself, “What is it about this topic that sparks my interest enough to write a ten page paper about it?”
Once you choose the topic, please respond to the five questions below. Each of your responses should be approximately two paragraphs in length. This assignment will be graded using the Week 1 Assignment Rubric available in Doc Sharing.
|Education||Technology||Family||Health and Wellness|
|School Bullies||Multitasking and Technology||Sexualization of Girls||College Students and Weight Issues|
|No Child Left Behind Act/Race to the Top||Technology and Social Isolation||Gender Discrimination||Childhood Obesity|
|Grade Inflation||Perils of Social Networking||Unequal Rights in Marriage, Children||Fad Diets|
|College Students and Underage Drinking||Online Dating/Online Predators/Sex Offenders||Children of Divorce||Junk Food|
|Student Debt||Illegal Downloading of Protected Content||Domestic Violence||Sedentary Lifestyles|
|College Students, Cheating, and Plagiarism||Internet Censorship/ Classified Information Leaks||Cyberbullying||Teenage Pregnancy|
|College Dropout Rates||Identity Theft||Life-Work (Im)balance/Flexible Work Schedules||Concussions in Athletes|
|High School Dropouts||Texting and Driving||Insurance Premiums for Smokers and Obese Employees|
- What is your possible topic? Brainstorm five questions about it. In this section pick a topic from the above list and then brainstorm five questions you have about it. If you feel disconnected from the topics on the list, choose one of your own, but make sure it is not an “overused topic,” such as abortion, gun control, capital punishment or legalization of marijuana. That is unless you have personal experience with the topic and can offer a unique perspective. Also, beware of current issues that might not be well-researched yet; you may not find enough sources at this time. Your purpose for brainstorming five questions is to narrow the topic to a manageable scope. Who knows, one of the questions may eventually become your research question, the question that directs your entire paper. Need help getting started? See the list of questions below that are related to the following topics: perils of social networking, concussion and athletes, and grade inflation. (The examples below do not include five questions; but yours should.)
- Perils of social networking: How does social networking affect our social lives and our outlook on the world? Does it make us more socially isolated? What dangers are involved in meeting people online? Should my children be on social network sites, and at what age might it be okay for children to be on social networking sites?
- Concussions and Athletes: How do head injuries affect athletes over the long term, especially when repeated head injuries? What are the medical data and statistics? My kid plays football; what are the statistics on injuries to teenagers, and thus, should my child play football?
- Grade Inflation: How should the world of higher education my world—copes with problems of grade inflation? Should students complain about grade inflation knowing that it might affect the rigor of the course?
- How is the topic important to you and how does it affect you? What do you personally hope to gain or accomplish by writing about this topic? In this section, describe your topic and how it first affected you. Explain why it is important to you. Reflect on how or why your background, motivations, needs, or interests sparked you to choose this topic. The best topics are those that are important to and involve you.
- Research your topic and provide a brief summary of the current points of view about the topic. Share at least two different/opposing positions on the topic. While this section asks for summaries of two others’ positions, write each summary in your own words. Each should be a paragraph in length. To conduct research on your topic, find at least two credible sources that offer opposing perspectives and summarize those points of view in a paragraph. Additionally, although we will be learning more about APA documentation style next week, use Citation Machine, the DeVry APA Handbook, APA tutorials in the syllabus, and/or Chapter 26 in your textbook to provide full APA references for both sources. (Note: The “click here” for your references is formatted as hanging indent.)
- Describe whom you might choose as your audience. Who are your readers, and what are their needs, motivations, and influences? In what ways will you need to structure your writing to appeal to them? Think about who will need/want to read your paper. What do you need to consider about those readers? Will they be open-minded or antagonistic? Are you outside your group of readers, which means that you need to choose a formal voice and use “they,” or are you part of your group of readers, which means that you can use a more conversational voice and use “we”? Analyze the groups and individuals who are reading and writing on your chosen topic. Work to define who they are and how their backgrounds will dictate your writing approach.
- What specific issue will you write about within the larger topic, and what unique angle will you provide?
In this section, decide upon and explain which “side” of the argument you are on and what your thesis statement will be. To do that, you should attempt to come up with a question about the topic that you will answer in your paper. Your answer becomes your working thesis statement. For example, you might write the following: “With the growing instances of road rage across the nation, it might be argued that drivers who do not abide by the rules of the road are the cause of road rage (e.g., not using a turn signal when changing lanes; travelling slowly in the left lane when others are trying to pass; not turning into the same lane when turning a corner). If drivers who do not follow the laws are the problem, then shouldn’t states require extensive driver’s education of all new drivers?” Note that this question can be answered either yes or no. Additionally, the question asks, “Should….” Your question should begin with “should,” “must,” or “do we need to” because your thesis will be a persuasive, “should,” “need to,” or “must” statement.