English and Literature

Research Paper Prompts and Specifications

Your research paper will address ONE of the prompts below.  No matter which prompt you select, you have to address the followingFollow the MLA/APA format as specified by instructor.
Use the Toulmin Model – In this essay you may incorporate elements from classical and Rogerian as you wish, but the essay must be primarily based on the Toulmin model: this means your argument should include a debatable claim, grounds, backing, rebuttal(including accommodation), a section addressing the warrant in your argument, and a section addressing at least one qualifier on your claim.These components may be included in any order.)
Use at least 8 sources: this should include
at least 2 STC Database article (Academic Search Complete/Ebsco)
at least 1 website
at least 1 video source
at least 1 interview
All sources must be incorporated into your paper and quoted directly at least once.
Length: no less than 8 full pages of text (does not include the Works Cited page).  It can be longer.

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Prompts:

A. Freedom of Speech – While many Americans are quick to claim their constitutional right to freedom of speech when necessary and often claim to defend the American citizen’s right to free speech, there have been many incidents recently in which voluntary speech or expression has led some to experience to harmful consequences such as the loss of a job, the payment of fines, or even legal action for expressing an unpopular opinion. In your essay, argue whether American culture still values and defends the right of all Americans to free speech? Should the right to speech be unlimited or should these constitutional rules have limitations? If so, what should these limitations be in our modern times? Give specific examples to support your argument.

B. Criminal Justice Reform—According to the Innocence Project, 367 people have been exonerated for crimes they did not commit.  For this assignment assess the nature of the criminal justice system as it relates to these cases.  How is it that so many people end up in jail for crimes they did not commit? What should be done to ensure such errors do not continue to occur?

C. Religious Freedom—In the past few years, more and more states have pushed for religious freedom laws.  While seemingly harmless, these laws have often been the focus when the rights of conflicting groups occur —examples include women in cases of contraception or abortion, the LGBT community in cases of marriage, jobs, and services rendered.  For this assignment, answer this question: Should a claim of religious freedom be absolute? When conflicting values are at stake, whose values should prevail and why?

D. Third-World Surrogacy—Outsourcing has become common practice for major corporations, moving jobs and services to third world countries where labor is cheaper and laws are more lax.  For this assignment, argue whether it is ethical to outsource pregnancy.  Is surrogacy a legitimate service that benefits biological parents and the surrogate or is it a case of the biological parents exploiting poor women in order to save money?

E. School Vouchers – In the current practice of most public school systems, residents are zoned to the schools they must attend based on which local district they pay taxes to. This has often led to inequities in school resources and quality. As a result, schools in wealthier districts and private schools which are even more expensive often have more academic and social benefits for their students. Poor families and children of these families often feel they have little choice in the quality of the schools they must attend. Some propose school vouchers as one possible solution to permit families to choose to attend any school they prefer without having to pay restrictive fees. In your paper argue whether or not a voucher system is a good way to solve educational inequities in America or if there is a better way to ensure widespread access to educational quality.

F.    Media Bias -Some have claimed that the news media in the United States is not objective in reporting news or directs public opinion by releasing false or misleading stories. In your paper, defend or reject any of the related ideas. Is the media biased? Why is media bias dangerous? Should the media be expected to offer objective and unbiased news, and is that even possible? Is there any source that we can count on to be reliably and fundamentally true?

G. Reparations – In the current climate of racial reform, many have proposed reparations to be paid to African-American citizens for the harmful effects of slavery and discrimination that have occurred in the history of the U. S. Do you agree that this would be a good way to resolve racial tension and/or racial inequities that exist in American society?

H. Voting in America – Chose only one of the following issues: Voter ID – Required or Not, Mail in Voting, Dead People Voting, Voter Reform (under 18 or non-citizens voting), States setting their own rules in federal elections, How Votes are Counted, Electoral College – Considering the recent election challenges, argue how fair, objective, or secure America’s system of voting currently is. Several voting reforms have been proposed to make voting more fair, accessible, or representative. Argue for or against one of the voting reforms mentioned above. Make a causal argument on the cause or the effect the rule in question may have on American life. Visit https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_literature for more information.

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I. Pandemic Times: Chose only one of the following issues: Should Governors of states be allowed to mandate lock-downs that keep employers from opening businesses? Can employers in “essential” jobs require employees to risk their lives to come to work? Should political or governmental organizations be able to prevent individual doctors from prescribing otherwise approved medications on a trial basis? How should hospital policies address access of family members to dying or severly ill patients? Can the State legally punish people for gathering in their own homes on private property?  Can the State mandate the closure of faith-based organizations, such as church meetings, especially while allowing other “essential” gatherings? Based on International practices, what is the most effective way to deal with a Pandemic?

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