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ENGL 0099 - Hicks (Floyd) Summer 2012: Assignment

The Assignment


Short Research Paper


Assignment: Write a 500-word research paper on a controversial issue using MLA style guidelines, including in-text citations and a Works Cited section.




·       Choose one area from the Opposing Viewpoints in Context website (see Gale Opposing Viewpoints in Context link on VISTA)

·       Find two (2) articles that present opposing viewpoints on an issue that interests you and read them carefully, making notes as you go along to make certain you understand what you have read.

·       Use an appropriate combination of paraphrasing and direct quotes when discussing the articles in your paper. (For help on understanding the difference between paraphrasing and direct quotes, see the “Help with Paraphrasing and Direct Quotes” document on VISTA.)

·       You must cite both articles within your paper and include a Works Cited section at the end of the paper. (For more information on in-text MLA citations, see the “Help with MLA In-Text Citations” link on VISTA.


Structuring this Paper

Introduction: The paper will reflect the structure of a compare and contrast essay. It will begin with an introductory paragraph that introduces the topic and describes the issue. You should also name the two sources you will be using, including any tags that lend credibility to your authors.


Body: The body of the paper will include at least one paragraph for each article, presenting the article’s position on a controversial issue and the main points the author uses to support his or her claim. Remain as objective as possible when presenting the authors’ viewpoints, presenting only the facts or evidence provided to support each position and nothing more.


Conclusion: In the conclusion, summarize the main points of the article, showing the value of each perspective. If you side with one viewpoint, be certain to state your reasons why. However, the main objective of this assignment is to inspire you to value different perspectives, a valuable resource for individual development and the foundation for improved social relations. It is impossible to truly engage in the democratic process without the ability to understand and empathize with multiple perspectives. Recognizing their value is an approach that is evolutionary in terms of democratic living and profoundly superior to “tolerance.”


Lastly, explain the relevance of this issue to the world at large. You may also point out what the effects would be if one side were to “win” the debate.


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