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ENGWR 300 (Jacobsen)

ENGWR 300 (Jacobsen)

Assignment Information

your assignment

In this essay you will explore one of the controversial issues listed below by researching and analyzing various points of view. You should provide a balanced and fair overview of the different perspectives. Your thesis will take a clear stand on an issue. However, you should not try to come up with a thesis until after you have done your research. Go into the process with as open a mind as possible; your aim is to find out what the controversy is all about. After you have researched your topic, you will want to write a working thesis, which you will refine in later drafts.

Research Paper Topics

Pick one of the following topics.

1. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that kids aged zero to six get twenty-eight doses of ten vaccines. While no federal laws mandate vaccinations, fifty states require certain vaccinations for children entering public schools. Proponents argue that adverse reactions to vaccines are extremely rare. Opponents state that vaccines can cause negative side effects. Write a paper in which you argue whether or not children should be required to be vaccinated.

2. While online education allows students to participate in opportunities they might not otherwise be able to, critics argue that there are many drawbacks to distance education. Opponents point out that students don’t get personalized training or the socialization benefits of a traditional classroom education. Furthermore, online for-profit universities have also engaged in questionable business practices. Write an essay in which you argue to what extent online courses and distanced learning should be embraced today.

3. In the U.S. average tuition costs and fees have increased dramatically. These costs have contributed to a large, nation-wide student debt load. Consequently, state and federal law makers have introduced tuition-free and debt-free college proposals. Opponents argue that there are drawbacks to these ideas, though, such as they won’t help low-income and working-class students. Write an essay in which you argue to what extent higher education should be tuition and/or debt free.

4. More than half of the top fifty video games contain violence Violent video games have been blamed for school shootings, increases in bullying, and violence toward women. Video game advocates, though, contend that no causal relationship exists between video games and social violence. Write a paper in which you argue to what extent video games contribute to youth violence.

Note: Please avoid bringing in religion to support or argue a point. If you have any questions about what is acceptable to use in your paper, please feel free to talk with me.



The audience is your classmates. Because your readers may be only marginally familiar with your issue or problem, you may need to orient them to it and familiarize them with the concepts and terminology relevant to the discussion.


The Process:

1. Pick one of the prompts.

2. Conduct research on the various sides of the question. Don’t rely on Google or Yahoo for your research. Be sure to consult library sources. Your essay will be evaluated on the quality of your source material as well as on how well your essay is written. Remember that anyone can publish anything on the web—you will have to weigh the reliability and authoritativeness of each source you consider.

3. Narrow your topic area further, if necessary, and pick out the main arguments and points each side makes.

4. Take a clear stand on your topic. Argue a point.

5. In citing sources, both at the end of your paper and within your text, use the MLA format.

How the library can help

Successful essays will have six to eight different sources that you cite in your paper. Every source that you mention in your paper must be cited in your works cited at the end. (Your works cited needs also to have six to eight different sources.) Your sources should be recent (within the last five years).

Your sources can come from the following places:

• Internet sources (no more than one)
• Interviews (no more than one)
• Journal articles
• Magazine articles
• Newspaper articles
• Books
• Encyclopedias (no more than one)
• Rereading America (no more than one)