Now that you have all chosen topics for your final research papers, it is time to explore those topics in more depth. Like we have discussed in class, it is easy to see topics or issues in terms of “yes or no” or “pros and cons,” when in reality, matters are much more complex. It is also easy to fall into the trap of only seeing an issue from your personal point of view. This assignment asks you to look at your topic from a variety of different angles and build up your knowledge about it. It will also provide you with information you can easily transfer into your full research paper at the end of the semester.
Purpose: To explore your research topic from at least three different perspectives, gather new information, practice presenting ideas from a neutral stance, and perfect your citation skills.
Audience: This paper should be written for a general academic audience. This means that you should assume the people reading your paper are interested in learning about your topic and its importance in society as a whole. An academic audience typically values quality research, thoughtful explanations, professional language, and an approach that minimizes bias.
What counts a perspective? Since some of you will be writing informative essays and some of you will be writing more argumentative or persuasive essays, the viewpoints and perspectives for this assignment can be many different things.
For example, if you are writing about whether to ban texting and driving, you might include information about different viewpoints or stances on the issue, like why people want to ban it, why some would prefer to leave the laws alone, and why some propose alternate solutions to the problem. You could also choose to write about different stakeholders or groups who are affected by the issue of texting and driving, such as drivers, law enforcement, local governments, tax payers, and families. You can also mix and match between viewpoints and stakeholders if that works best for your project.
The important thing here is to take a look at your issue from different sides and put yourself in other people’s shoes in order to get a deeper understanding of the topic as a whole.
Your essay will include the following parts:
Introduction – Your introduction should give a general overview of your topic focused specifically on the importance of your topic in society as a whole. Basically, you want to give your reader an idea of why your topic matters and what we can learn by examining the issue from different sides. Also, your introduction should define or explain any unusual ideas or terms that are involved in your topic.
Thesis – Your thesis should focus on giving an overview of the viewpoints and / or stakeholders you will examine in your essay. For example, if I were writing about the minimum wage and wanted to explore the idea in terms of the groups who are affected by this topic, my thesis might look something like this: Raising the minimum wage would affect many different groups, including corporations, small businesses, and low-wage workers. Make sure the list you give in your thesis matches the sections that follow in the body of the essay.
Body Paragraphs – The body of your essay will provide information on each of the viewpoints listed in your thesis. So, if I used the thesis statement above, I would have one section of the body of my essay focused on how corporations would be affected by raising the minimum wage, one section about how small businesses would be affected, and one section about how low-wage workers would be affected.
For each section, you will need to incorporate information from your research, including quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing from your sources. All research material must be correctly identified with in-text citations according to the citation style you chose in your proposal. The goal here is to explain each perspective from a neutral standpoint. That is, your reader shouldn’t be able to tell how you feel personally about the issue or which views you think are the most important or valid until you get to the conclusion. Your job is not to judge these perspectives, but to explain them to your audience clearly and efficiently.
Conclusion – Like for most essays, your conclusion should include a brief overview of your main ideas. Past that point, you can include your own thoughts or perspective on the issue and your main goal for your upcoming research project. End with a closing idea that reinforces the overall importance of your topic.
Bibliography – You will need to cite at least 4 sources in your viewpoints review. All of these sources should appear on a bibliography page at the end of your essay. Format your bibliography page and source citations according to the rules for the citation style you chose in your proposal.
Other Considerations: Your essay should be at least 800 words, use professional, unbiased language*, clear organization, and good MUGS.
*Note: Using I and giving your perspective on your issue is only acceptable in the conclusion. If you choose give your own viewpoint in the conclusion, remember to stay professional and classy about it – no name-calling.
Your assignment will be graded according to the following rubric:
Viewpoints Review Grading Rubric
The introduction gives a clear overview of the subject, clarifies terms and ideas, and shows why the topic is important in today’s society.
The thesis gives a clear overview of the viewpoints and / or stakeholder groups included in the body of your essay using specific and neutral language.
The essay is well-organized around a logical flow of ideas and includes clear topic sentences, transitions, and focused body paragraphs.
SUPPORT AND EXPLANATIONS
The body of the essay gives clear and relevant information about at least three perspectives, incorporating both support from research and your own thoughtful explanations.
PROFESSIONAL AND NEUTRAL TONE
The writer maintains a neutral tone that avoids bias, and language throughout the paper is specific and direct, avoiding contractions as well as personal pronouns like you, your, we, us, and our.
The conclusion reinforces the importance of the topic and looks to future research.
All information from outside sources – including direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summarizing – are correctly marked and follow the rules for the citation style you chose in your proposal.
Your bibliography page includes at least four sources, all of which must be used at least once in your essay. All sources must be listed according to the rules for the citation style you chose in your proposal.
The essay is at least 800 words long. (YES / NO)
Note: This is the shortest length in which the basic purpose of this essay can be achieved. Most essays that get an A or B will be significantly longer.
The essay has been carefully proofread and conveys a professional image through its mechanics, usage, grammar and spelling.
As described in the course syllabus, you will receive a tentative grade on the second draft of your essay. If you are happy with that grade, you can keep it. You also have the option to revise your essay again to get a higher score.
I also highly recommend visiting the Sinclair Writing Center for additional help with essays. Their service is both free and awesome. See the course syllabus for full information on this resource.