Evaluating a Social/Cultural Idea or Event (by supporting a claim that reflects one view)

UPDATED 5/12/20    ADDITIONAL NOTES: In evaluating social or cultural ideas some of the most provocative questions and arguments occur around theories to explain various "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, choose one to focus on, and begin exploring more information, be sure to let the verifiable evidence lead your thinking, rather than just use "cherry-picked" supports to prop up your early personal leanings. 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. The topic you choose will conform to the documentation style of the field of study which characterizes that topic: Fields of Study list | Fields and Styles.

Possible topics to explore for E2 : Others may be considered, but, again, please conference with me about them. No Pro-Con or simple review of material fits this project. The links given here are for general information.

  1. Research an important issue in your field of study, medicine, law enforcement, forestry, psychology, etc. OR

  2. Patterns and Causes of financial collapse(s) through at least the last 150 years AND possible solutions.

  3.  Shroud of Turin—explore ongoing theories and evidence for explaining this artifact.

  4. 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).

  5. Sovereign Citizen Movement: Review/research this movement then take a stand and argue for the position you choose.
  6. Conservative/Liberal: Analyze the basic elements and philosophic characteristics of both "liberal" and "conservative" political  "philosophies."  Then form an argument (including authoritative evidence) that states the most beneficial set of values for guiding a modern society. The information here  and here may be used as a starting point. 

  7. The Controversy of Chemtrails/Contrails: One view and another view.

  8. The Ideal Role and Function of the U.S. Federal Government in a Democratic Society: Democracy Journal | Human Events/Conservative zine

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

  10. Public Land Management: One view and another.

  11. Something not listed but a topic with a clear social importance and impact. Topic MUST be approved.

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 lettering. These stages can be accelerated as suits each student's pace, but the progress journals will need to be turned in, in sequence. 

Stage one: A6 = journal to Find the Focus-- As part of the Topic Exp document, add the other points (numbered) for this A6 journal. If some of these points seem repetitious, that's a good thing. It shows you are focused.

  1. Complete a Basic Topic Exp. to establish what you may already think and pose any questions you have about the topic. If the possible topic changes, a new Topic Exp is needed. 
  2. Make a list of some search terms that produce useful information and make notes about what each offers.
  3. Explore internet resources including COCC data bases, etc. that can show many facets of the topic. Then copy/paste possible urls and notes about them for later.
  4. Write an initial deductive argument in short paragraph form, which amounts to generalities/reasons that add up to one and only one conclusion--(like a thesis...) which can also be expressed as a syllogism.
  5. Write a first version of a thesis/claim sentence that includes a reference (can use "although") to the main opposite or counter-argument side. Include at least two reasons that reflect your understanding of the topic at this point.
  6. Add a few sentences about your progress, and any questions, to this point.

Stage two    A7 & A8 combined = Making a Research Proposal,  Finding What Field of Study and Documentation Style Applies to Your Topic, Finding/Evaluating Sources and Creating an Annotated Bibliography.

  1. Write/complete a semi-formal proposal. Decide which field of study and documentation style fits your topic  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 | UNC on Annotated Bib. (part of the proposal) which for this project must have at least 8-10 entries, from which will come the paper's list of sources/bibliography.

  3. Formulate a more solid thesis/claim sentence (include counter-argument) and three main points/reasons (an argument) for which you have and can present good evidence.  

  4. Use OWL Guide to Evaluate sources Evaluate one possible source fully (all considerations). Include the url of the article if it is from the open internet or if it is from a data base, copy/paste the first 2-3 pages and the list of sources from the end.

  5. Write out in paragraph form a statement of your current progress--problems, etc.

Stage three : A9  Building and Shaping the Draft (story/analogy) for peer edit (and if needed  MS APA template)
  1. Build standard outline| Word version  (Outline Maker, ok) OR do a Position Paper worksheet: include specific points/paragraph topics, reasons and evidence for each. Try a Scripting Grid to see the material in another way and to use another brain function.

    --As the essay material and focus develop, please consult/search: Harvard Writing Center |OWL| free online text, style guides, peer edits  and other material on, Argument, YouTube on argument writing and CounterArgument. 

  2. Please find a relevant quote/saying to use in an epigraph> Epigraph APA formatting | Epigraph formatting MLA  Google "sayings  about [key idea] e.g "fairness."

  3. Please get a peer edit  on an unfinished stage of the manuscript and save that version. Please send at least first 5 pages (w/cites) of the draft as part of A9

  4. Write out in paragraph form your current progress on this project, pluses & minuses, current THESIS SENTENCE, etc.

Stage four-- Final Journal  A10  is the PROCESS WRITING for E2 which is part of the packet including journals A6-A9 and any other progress journals. Continue completing the stages and finishing the parts of the final packet of material.

                                                                                                                           Presto--E2 pretty much done....

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