The goal of this paper is to construct a fair-minded, unbiased, analytical analysis of a topic in a
This is not an opinion piece or a persuasive essay that simply aims to prove or reinforce what you already
believe. This would be confirmation bias, and bias must be avoided in this project.
This project needs to avoid harsh rhetoric or language that is harmful and hurtful in nature. The point is to
be objective and unemotional in your approach.
This essay should be written in a fair, academic, respectful, and analytical manner regardless of any of your
opinions, feelings, or preconceived notions about the topic.
Both sides of your topic must be treated with equal attention, both in terms of the number and quality of
sources and in the depth and breadth of their presentation in your essay. Both sides should be addressed
in the same number of paragraphs in roughly equivalent detail, and should be supported by the same
number of quality sources.
You must identify and define rhetorical devices and logical fallacies on both sides of the argument. Be sure
you indicate which specific rhetorical device and fallacy you have found, and there is evidence in your
sources of these course concepts in practice that is cited in your paper.
You will present statements and claims for analyzing both sides of the topic. Only then should you state you
own conclusion as an objective, critical thinker given the information presented. The abstract, title page,
and reference list do not count in the page or word count. The essay must have the following elements:Times New Roman
Proper Level I and Level II APA section headings for all major sections of the essay
All other applicable APA formatting
A properly formatted APA title page
A properly formatted APA abstract
Body of the paper
Introduction: Identify the issue. Provide the necessary background and/or important recent developments.
Define key terms and concepts. Engage the reader and explain the broader significance of the issue.
Arguments and Counterarguments: Summarize the best arguments on both sides of the issue. Include
relevant research from credible sources used to support each conclusion. Devote at least one paragraph to
Evaluation of Critical Thinking: Assess the strength of the arguments and the quality of thinking surrounding
Identify weaknesses in critical thinking such as fallacies, rhetorical devices, vague language, and cognitive
biases. Provide specific examples of how these weaknesses appear in arguments you encountered, using
terminology and definitions from the course. Be specific! Present evidence from your sources that show
these fallacies/biases being used.
Evaluate the quality of scientific and anecdotal evidence using the standards of inductive and deductive
reasoning described in the course. Consider the quality of causal relationship, analogies, generalizations,
and/or moral reasoning.
Conclusion: Analyze the totality of research and offer a critical thinker’s response to the issue. Identify your
own position and experience with the issue and explain how your thinking of the subject has evolved as a
result of your analysis. Your conclusion does not have to be absolute, but it should not be equivocal. If both
sides have good arguments, which is better, even if only slightly better, and what is the argument that tips
the scales in the sides’ favor? Why does that point tip the scales?
A properly formatted APA reference list
Sources should appear in alphabetical order according to the last name of the first author listed on the
If there is no author(s), then the source should be cited by title or organization.
Sources and Research Sources: You must use five scholarly or academic sources and all research should
be published within the last five years.
Eligible sources listed best-to-worst:
Peer-reviewed journal articles
Peer review is the process that allows scientists to trust the reliability of published journal articles. The only
way to tell if a journal article has been peer reviewed is to look for information about the journal, normally
on the publisher’s website. Most databases do not indicate if an article is peer reviewed or not.
Scholarly research articles
Research articles (original research articles, primary research articles, or case studies) are your standard
scientific articles. Most often published in peer-reviewed journals, primary research articles report on the
findings of a scientist’s work.
They almost always include a description of how the research was conducted and what the results mean.
This is also a highly desirable type of research to use for your papers.
Government and state reports
Many government agencies like the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute of Mental Health (NIHM), and the Federal Bureau
of Investigation (FBI) may have studies and statistics that may be useful for your topic. However, these
sources are usually informational reports in nature, and therefore they rarely dig into the critical arguments
used by the sides of a topicThough usually credible and reliable source, government reports should generally be used as
supplemental, secondary sources to support or rebut academic sources. They should not be the main
sources of your argument.
Other articles or sources
When you assess these resources, make sure that they are appropriate to use as evidence because they
may contain bias. You should look at the sources these articles are using, determine if they are legitimate,
reputable, and credible, and then make a judgment call.
These types of articles are the least desirable type of articles from the list of acceptable types to use
(depending on each course’s expectations).
Editorials, opinion, commentary, and perspectives
Trade publication articles
Interviews or TED talks
Sources that may not be used on this essay include the following:
Wikipedia and information from freelance websites (check with your professor before using these sources)
Information from general or reference sources such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, general information
websites, or other reference works online or in print.
Articles from publications or magazines that lack research to back up their claims
Religious texts of any kind
Obviously or highly biased sources that contain no credible or reputable support
Avoiding plagiarism: Remember that avoiding plagiarism is priority number one for credible academic
It is always better to cite and attribute to a source than not to cite. If you are ever unsure, cite and attribute.
Anything that you copy word-for-word from a source must be quoted, attributed to its original source, and
parenthetically cited in APA Style.
Anything that you take from a source and put into your own words must be both attributed to its original
source and parenthetically cited in APA Style.