We have the opportunity to construct an ethical argument about a debatable issue/situation. The essay will be approximately 3-5 pages, incorporate at least six credible sources into the discussion (one of which comes from primary research), and include a Works Cited page. Note: Any essay without a works cited page will have the overall grade lowered by one letter.
The skills used in this assignment are essential conducting research relevant to the scope of inquiry, analyzing and processing information, applying interpretative strategies, synthesizing relevant and connected information, and creating a discussion based on a controlling idea (thesis).
1. Research and select a debatable issue youre interested in. You may want to access the following link to help select a topic: https://www.procon.org/
2. Examine a current, specific situation that illustrates the issue.
3. Determine an ethical principle by which to analyze the situation. That is, what is the set of values in which you make a conclusion about the situation?
4. Construct a thesis that presents your overall perspective. That is, whats your stance on the issue?
5. Using the four pillars of argument (Chapter 1), construct a 3-5 page ethical argument in which you present and support your perspective about the situation with sound reasoning and appropriate research information.
Because this essay is arranged deductively, well use the following structure:
Introductory paragraph(s): Provide an engaging lead, establish the ethical principle by which to analyze the situation, and state your thesis.
1st paragraph: Provide background information about the situation. That is, what information does the reader need to know to generally understand the situation?
2nd paragraph: Provide a significant example(s) that illustrates the situation and present information or evidence that shows this.
3rd-5th paragraphs: For each paragraph, provide a transition, a topic sentence that presents a reason that supports your thesis, and evidence/reasoning that supports your point.
6th paragraph: Present and refute an opposing argument(s) against your thesis. That is, what is a main opposing view(s) and how is this perspective bad or wrong or misinformed?
Conclusion: Provide an ending that wraps up the discussion rather than summarizes it.
Keep in Mind:
We must be clear and specific situation were analyzing. For instance, protesting is a general topic whereas NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem is specific. Likewise, decriminalizing marijuana is much broader than a state putting forth a policy for decriminalizing marijuana.
Also, we must apply a clear ethical principle to analyze the situation. Keep in mind that the argument is based on whether or not the situation conforms to a particular moral law/belief or whether or not the situation will result in something beneficial. And remember that the ethical principle should be self-evident to the reader, so we should select a principle that is widely agreed upon.
Lastly, because were ethically analyzing a situation, the thesis statement needs to indicate one of the following: 1) whether something should or shouldnt be done, 2) whether something is right or wrong, or 3) whether something is good or bad.
Below are examples of possible thesis statements:
1. The federal minimum wage should be increased to $15 per hour.
2. Requiring wealthier Americans to pay more in taxes in wrong.
3. Providing low-income families with sustainable housing is beneficial.
An effective essay will have the following characteristics:
A narrowed scope and a clear sense of purpose and focus
Background information that presents enough detail to understand the situation
A clearly identifiable thesis
Topic sentences that present the main points