Assignment 9: Major Paper 2

Due: Thursday, April 17

In brief:

In a research paper of 1500-2000 words, address the guiding question you defined in Major Paper #1. You may redefine the question slightly, if your research shows you that your initial question was too broad--or if your research shows you that a tangential question is the one you really want to address. Contact me before making a major change in your question: otherwise your paper will not be accepted.


A few constraints:

(1) One substantial part of your paper must be a discussion and analysis of the various perspectives (or "schools of thought") that are held on your question today and that have been held on your question historically.

(2) Your task is to seek out the truest version of the Truth ... as it appears to you. You do not have to align your own perspective exactly with any one of the common perspectives (schools of thought) on the issue you're exploring. But in addition to presenting your perspective, spend at least some time discussing how it relates to the common schools of thought on the subject. (Are you 80% in agreement with Group A's view but still 20% in agreement with Group B's?)

(3) Your research must include substantial information found in libraries. It should also include information found on the Internet, and from personal interviews, if at all possible.

(4) You must consistently use a standard form for citations in your paper. Either APA or MLA form will do--Ballenger describes both. If you're uncertain which to use, choose APA.

(5) As always, your paper must conform to the formatting requirements stated in the syllabus. As usual, your paper's grade will be lowered at least one letter for noncompliance.


Required general outline of your final draft:

I. Introduction: The issue you're addressing, the various common perspectives held on it (at the current time and also historically), and why the issue is interesting or important. You might write this first part last.

II. Summary of your own perspective on the issue (a 1- paragraph general overview of the truth, as you see it). See (2), above.

III. Your perspective(s) in detail, and the evidence & arguments that support it.

Important: discuss not only the research that agrees with your ideas but also the research that disagrees with your ideas. Don't ignore opposing evidence or opposing points of view; rather, acknowledge it and try to show its limitations. In fact, you'll get higher marks for discussing also the limitations of your preferred perspective as well as the strengths ... for discussing evidence that argues against your perspective as well as evidence that supports it. (Just make sure your paper makes it clear exactly what you're doing and where.)

IV. Conclusion. (Not the same thing as Part II. See Kleck for an example of a conclusion that really concludes.)


You'll be working on your paper both as an individual and as part of a small group. Your group will be giving some presentations to the class. Both your group's presentations and your own work within the group will be evaluated and will affect your grade for the course. See Assignment 8 for details.