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Final Paper/Signiture Assignment
Final Paper (20%):
How marriage equality is affected by the Internet and online media
For the final paper, please choose an op-ed piece from the presentation pool that you did not present on; then write a thorough analysis and critique of the argument presented by the author. Add your own take on the issue raised by the op-ed and provide your best reasons for the beliefs you present. Students are encouraged to use other research to support their assessment.
About half of the paper should be dedicated to diligently explicating the main thesis of the op-ed piece as well as your most generous and accurate articulation of the reasons put forward by the author of the article in support of their thesis. Your first task is to clearly and accurately represent the best argument based on textual support in the article itself. At this stage, you are presenting your understanding of the article, while at the same time setting the stage for your critical assessment of the author’s position. The key to a good paper is to at once be faithful to the position put forth by the author, while also considering and then clearly formulating the potential gaps and inconsistencies in the article. You should aim to avoid any hint of committing a straw man fallacy on your end when representing the view of the author.
After this initial stage has been completed, focus on one or two points where the argument seems to you unconvincing, where it may be improved, or where you think it completely breaks down. “Being critical” need not mean complete disagreement. Rather, your should aim to enrich the beliefs of your readers by exposing the gaps in reasoning and sources of doubt.
Towards the end of the paper, you should begin to articulate potential ways you would yourself allay the doubts raised by your critique of the article. You should understand that the more astute your exposition of the author’s position is in the first part of the paper, the more valuable and interesting your critique will be also.