In this paper, you will construct a causal argument. You should feel free to use one or more of the three typical forms of causal argument outlined in Writing Arguments as a guide (256-57), but strict adherence to a specific format is not a requirement of this paper. A clear thesis with substantial supporting material throughout is a requirement. Your thesis should include a direct causal claim and reason(s) supporting that claim. You need to provide grounds for the reason(s) and backing for the warrant(s).
Bearing in mind that your subject requires instructor approval, you are free to write on any topic that interests you. You are by no means required to write on the causes and consequences of mass violence in American society. The topic should be arguable, though, and you’ll need to develop exigency with regards to your position.
The minimum expectation for this paper is an assertion of some kind of causal relationship; however, you should not see that as a limitation. Arguments for this paper can be somewhat hybrid. As we’ll see in the readings for this unit, speculations about a given problem’s causes are often developed in advance of proposed solutions. While the bulk of your paper should focus on establishing causality, you may want to devote some of your essay to proposing a reform or to promoting a policy that would lead to desirable consequences an explicit way. In many cases, creating a coherent and compelling position will mean employing the minimum analysis to some other argumentative end.
Issues Questions for Possible Topics:
How will the American political system be affected by current demographic trends away from a white majority?
What are the underlying causes of the “obesity epidemic”? Which is/are most important?
Is the neoconservative foreign policy of the Bush administration responsible for ongoing political upheaval of the Arab world?
Is the correlation between leaded gasoline and the mid-twentieth century spike in crime rates strong enough to be a legitimate concern for future public policy?
These are only examples and shouldn’t be taken as an exhaustive list of acceptable topics.
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