Developing Critical Thinking Skills

This project will assess critical thinking skills through the analysis of a social issue and argumentation of a particular position within that issue. Completing this project will require considerable research and writing. It is suggested that you begin your research earlier in the course, and compile considerable information before beginning the writing of your paper. This will help you to support your position and to craft your paper later. With this in mind, the work for the project has been broken down into two categories: research and writing. Research Phase: For the research phase of your project you will need to complete the following:
1. Identify a complicated social issue that lends itself to many different positions. For instance, homelessness is a recognized social problem, but there are countless approaches to combating it. Choose a similarly rich social issue
2. Research the issue to determine your position. As you conduct your research, be sure to keep careful notes on your resources. They’ll be crucial later in the process.
3. Create a positional thesis statement. This should clearly reflect your position on the social issue.
4. Once you have created your positional thesis statement, return to your research. You will most likely need to conduct further research, having established your position, to solidify it. Writing Phase How you actually conduct the writing –pre-writing, outlines, revisions, edits, etc.– is entirely up to you. Your final paper, however, should have the following: 1. An Introduction: This briefly introduces the social issue you are examining and presents your positional thesis.
2. Concise Overview of Topic Background and Issues: This sets the background for the reader so that he or she will better understand the context of the social issue.
3. Explanation of Your Position: Using your positional thesis as a starting point, lay out the primary argument for your position. This will support the argument using the resources you selected.
4. Justification of your Position: Use your resources to justify your position. You will need to quote directly, or summarize, from your research and provide clear citations. You should pay close attention to how the resources work together to strengthen your position. The support should also include an analysis of the validity of the sources; explain why they are valid or important.
5. Visual Source: As part of your justification of your position, one of your resources should be a visual source (cartoon, video, advertisement, etc.). Be sure to explain the unique impact of the medium when discussing this source.
6. Format and Citations: Lastly, you will need to ensure that your paper follows APA guidelines and that your references and quotes are cited correctly. Submission The project should be submitted as follows:
1. A 10-12 page research paper
a. The paper should be double-spaced with one inch margins and should be written in Times New Roman 12 point font
b. The essay should be formatted in APA format with significant references to substantiate your arguments