Abstinence programs: Do they work? Does access to condoms prevent teen pregnancy? Does access to condoms lead to irresponsible, dangerous, or bad behavior? Should students have access to information and birth control without parents’ consent? Does age of the student matter? Advertising: Should certain kinds of ads be banned in the interest of health/morality/annoyance – alcohol, cigarettes, prescription meds, etc…? Should advertisers be prohibited from marketing to children? Is advertising information or manipulation? Beauty contests: Do they serve any purpose in society? Are beauty pageants exploitive?
Civic Responsibility: Should there be compulsory government service, military or otherwise, for all Americans, male and female, at age eighteen or upon graduation from high school? Should the draft be reinstated? Do women in combat place fellow soldiers in jeopardy? Do we have a fair taxation system? Although individuals complain about the “nanny state,” does the federal government have the right and responsibility to require compliance of its citizens for the common good? (Seat belt & child safety seat laws, warning labels, vaccination laws, age requirements for spray paint) College athletics: Should colleges have athletic teams?
Should college athletes be paid? Are college athletes at major universities really students? Should football coaches be paid more than the highest-paid professor? Divorce: Should we reform laws to make it harder to get a divorce? Should you have to pass a test to get married? Should the government even care about marriage? Education: Should there be national educational standards in the US as there are in most European countries and in Japan? Do children learn better in boys-only and girls-only schools? Should there be more severe consequences for failure in school?
Should children be tracked? Should high schools be required to pay for remedial college courses for any of their graduates who are required to take them? Feminism: Is feminism still relevant? How do young women view feminism? Why do we have a wage gap where women earn only 75 cents for every $1 a man earns? Is the right to decide what happens to one’s own body part of feminism? Is it important that ERA never passed? Grades: In some European schools, fewer than 10% of students get As. Is there grade inflation in the U. S.? If so, why are there so many As for Americans?
Does worrying about students’ self-esteem have a place in college? High school? Health care crisis: Most developed nations have universal health coverage. Why doesn’t the U. S. , one of the wealthiest nations, have it? What are we getting for our medical dollar? What does it cost in taxes and lost productivity not to have a national health care system? If individuals make poor lifestyle choices, should they lose their access to government-paid health benefits? How can we balance the need to lower the cost of malpractice insurance with the fact that physician malpractice is one of the leading causes of death?
How should healthcare be rationed in the shortage to come? What is the current role of pharmaceutical and insurance companies in health care? Is that role appropriate? Health Food Industry: Should the federal government regulate the health food industry? Does self-regulation work? Homeland Security: Are we safer since the creation of this department? What powers and rights have been ceded to the government under the Patriot Act? Does the Patriot Act conflict with the Bill of Rights? Infrastructure: Why has the government failed to maintain America’s infrastructure?
What is the role of government in maintaining infrastructure? What is the role of mass transit in a world of diminishing fuel resources? Do American’s have the right to drive huge cars and consume more than our share of the world’s resources? Does might make right? Why have the railroads in modern America played so small a role? Marijuana legalization: Should the federal government legalize, regulate, and tax the use of marijuana? Has the war on drugs worked? How much is spent fighting the war on drugs? Do current drug laws waste taxpayers’ money?
Medical Advances: Should we legalize the sale of human organs? Is it ethical for parents to have a second child to better the chances of medical procedures for an existing child? Should extraordinary measures be taken so that infertile people become parents? Should life be prolonged at all costs? Obesity and weight loss: Should thin people have to pay Medicare and other health costs for the health problems of obese people? Should obese people have higher premiums? Should obesity be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act?
Overpopulation: What would happen globally if the demand for natural resources is greater than the supply? Under what circumstances should government regulate the population growth? Paparazzi: What, if any, limitations should be applied to the paparazzi? Does the public have a right to know about a public figure’s private life? Parents: Should prospective parents be required to show a minimum level of competency as well as an ability to support before being allowed to reproduce? Should parents be held responsible when their children break laws?
Should unmarried mothers be required to name the father of their child or children in order to draw welfare benefits from the state or federal government? Do parents have a social responsibility to vaccinate their children? Smoking: Should underage smokers lose their driver’s license? Should cigarette smoking be banned? Should the federal government pass an indoor smoking ban? Should smokers be required to pay higher premiums for health insurance than non-smokers? Statutory rape: Recently, a 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Can a 15-year-old give informed consent? Are statutory rape laws patronizing to girls and discriminatory to boys? What role does multimedia play in the sexualizing of young people? Suicide: Should suicide be a crime? Should assisted suicide be legal? Euthanasia: When do you have an obligation to die? Victimless Crimes: In some states, it is illegal to cheat on a spouse. Should we prosecute cheaters? Is a law that’s not enforced really a law? Should so-called victimless crimes be prosecuted? In the United States current victimless crimes include prostitution, gambling, and illicit drug use.
Argumentative Research Paper- 20% of course grade– In this 900 – 1100 word paper, students take a position on an issue from the list of designated prompts above, arguing a clear thesis and persuading the audience to consider their position. Students will be required to utilize at least seven outside sources as support, only two of which can be web-based, and demonstrate using correct MLA format incorporation/synthesis of the sources within your writing. For this paper as for the other out-of-class essays, students must show evidence of a verifiable writing process; therefore, working drafts and proof of feedback (i. e. online, and/or writing center tutors, peer review) are required.
Follow this procedure: Find a Good Topic – To find good topic for an argument essay you should consider issues that will have two conflicting points of view or very different conclusions. As you look over the list of topics, find one that really sparks your interest. While a strong interest in a topic is important, it’s not enough to be interested. You have to consider what position you can back up with reasoning and evidence. It’s one thing to have a strong belief, but when shaping an argument you’ll have to explain why your belief is reasonable and logical.
Avoid topics that you are so strongly vested in emotionally that you cannot be objective. Consider Both Sides of Your Topic and Take a Position – Once you have selected a topic you feel strongly about, you should make a list of points for both sides of the argument and then pick a side. One of your first objectives will be to present both sides of your issue with an assessment of each. Of course, you will conclude that one side (your side) is the best conclusion. You will need to consider the strong arguments for the “other” side. Then you’ll shoot them down!
Gather Evidence – When we think of arguments, we might picture two red-faced people speaking quite loudly and making dramatic gestures. But that’s because face-to-face arguments often become emotional. In fact, the act of arguing involves providing proof to support your claim, with or without emotions. In an argumentative essay, you will have to provide evidence without providing too much drama. You’ll explore two sides of a topic (briefly) and provide evidence as to why one side or position is the best one. Writing Stage – Once you’ve given yourself a solid foundation to work with, you can begin to craft your essay.
Like other essays, an argumentative essay should contain three parts: the introduction, the body, and the conclusion. The length of these parts (number of paragraphs) will vary, depending on the length of your essay assignment. 1. Introduce your topic and assert your side – As in any essay, the first paragraph of your argumentative essay should contain a brief explanation of your topic, some background information, and a thesis statement. In this case, your thesis will be a statement of your position on a particular controversial topic. Example introductory paragraph with thesis statement:
Since the turn of the new century, a theory has emerged concerning the end of the world, or at least the end of life as it is known. This new theory centers around the year 2012, a date that many claim has mysterious origins in ancient manuscripts from many different cultures. The most noted characteristic of this date is that it appears to mark the end of the Mayan calendar. But there is no evidence to suggest that the Maya saw any great relevance to this date. In fact, none of the claims surrounding a 2012 doomsday event hold up to scientific inquiry. The year 2012 will pass without a major, life-altering catastrophe.
2. Present both sides of the controversy – The body of your essay will contain the meat of your argument. You should go into more detail about the two sides of your controversy and state the strongest points of the counter-side of your issue. After describing the “other” side, you will present your own viewpoint and then provide evidence to show why your position is the correct one. Select your strongest evidence and present your points one by one. Use a mix of evidence types, from statistics, to other studies and anecdotal stories. Re-state your position as the most convincing one in your summary paragraphs.