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Now that we have multiple tools to examine issues and think critically about arguments, it is time to “test the waters” and use these skills to dissect and analyze an issue. You will do so by selecting a topic, developing it into a prescriptive issue, examining arguments presented on this issue, evaluating the evidence presented in these arguments, then ultimately developing your own argument. That is, your paper must have an easily identifiable issue, with multiple reasons supported by credible evidence, all of which leads to a specific conclusion. Your paper must also demonstrate that you have examined the likely values and value conflicts between various subject matter experts on your respective. The goal is not necessarily to have an overtly “pro” or “con” piece about a given issue, though it is fine to do so. Rather, it is to arrive at a more nuanced, informed perspective. For example, if your paper focuses on the USA PATRIOT Act, you could critically examine this legislation and arrive at a conclusion that it amounts to an unprecedented assault on our privacy and civil liberties. You could arrive at a conclusion that it is instead a necessary evil in our post-9/11 society that keeps our country safe. Or, the conclusion you reach could instead be some sort of middle ground between these two polarizing views – one that views the values of "privacy" and "security" as not always being mutually exclusive. Potential Topics Feel free to choose any one of the topics listed here, or use one of your own: • • • • • • • • • • • • • The broadcast flag The USA PATRIOT Act Airline passenger screening Peer-to-peer filesharing Distance education E-commerce sales tax Mandatory laptop purchases in college Violence in video games Privacy vs. security: mutually exclusive? Biometrics Internet censorship and/or filtering Radio Frequency identification (RFID) Electronic voting
These papers will count for 25 points of your final grade, and will be evaluated as follows: Content: (14 points) You selected a suitable topic to research and used appropriate sources to research it. You developed a prescriptive issue based on this topic. You provided an explanation of the key arguments posed by specific groups and individuals central to this issue, the values conflicts and assumptions of these groups or individuals, the evidence presented by these groups or individuals to support their argument, and any fallacies associated with some of the central arguments surrounding this issue. After weighing the positive and negative consequences necessary to develop an informed opinion, you presented a balanced, yet persuasive stance on this issue. Grading for content will be done in 2 point increments. Organization: (6 points) You submitted a well-organized paper of suitable length with an introduction, body, and conclusion. You used headings and transitions to divide the information up into sections, making the paper easy to read and understand. Grading for organization will be done in 2 point increments. Mechanics: (5 points) • • • 5 points - Editing and revision are obvious; the paper contains proper grammatical constructions, few, if any, language or citation mistakes, and has been spell-checked. 3 points – Editing and revision are somewhat evident; the paper contains some improper grammatical constructions and some language or citation mistakes, yet has still been spell-checked. 1 point – Editing and revision are not evident or involve serious grammatical errors and/or language or citation mistakes, and/or has not been spell-checked.
Format This paper will have 8 pages of actual content, in addition to any pages for a cover sheet and references. This paper will use a font no larger than 12 point, margins no larger than 1 inch on all four sides, and will use double line spacing (without skipping lines between paragraphs). It will contain a minimum of 7 different sources, all cited using APA format. Deadline All papers must be uploaded by the due date listed in the online course calendar.