Students are to write an 8 – 10 page Final Essay on a class topic of their choice. The paper must include both the required and supplemental readings as well as 10 additional sources. A good place to start is the notes and references for that chapter in the Visions of the Heart Text + independent class contributions from class-mates presentations; but students are required to go further and use library resources and databases. The sources can be varied; books, chapters in books, academic journal articles, newspapers and magazine articles as well as web-sources, but at least 4 of the additional 10 sources must be academic (i.e. peer-reviewed academic texts and/or academic journal articles.
The Final essay is not simply a summary of content; it must engage the students critical and analytical skills and begin with a clear statement of purpose and intent. The discussion paper is an opportunity for the student to learn about a topic and then compose a paper that allows for the expression of personal voice, thoughts, ideas and reflections.
In order to facilitate this process the following structure is highly recommended: Thesis (a clear, simple and direct statement of the main idea) three supporting thoughts/arguments; a counter-argument (what is left out or excluded by the Thesis; a counter-to the counter or synthesis; wherein the student incorporates and transcends an opposite point of view and a strong conclusion. More detailed discussion of this type of structure will be gone over in class and there will be plenty of opportunity for additional guidance from the professor, both in class and during office hours.
Explain Essay Topic and why it matters
State Thesis This paper will ..(argue) (demonstrate) etc that.. x because of y.
Define Terms (explain how you use key concepts and terms)
Give Brief overview/signposting of essay sections
Main Argument #1 —–Thesis expanded and developed
Total = 2 – 3 pages
Supporting Argument #2 ———–
(1 – 2 pages)
Supporting Argument #3———-
(.5 – 1 page)
Counter-Argument ——–(what a debating opponent would argue against your main thesis) “It could be argued that…..” Find the truth in the opposition – there is always an alternative explanation for what you are arguing) Present and Explain why it is a valid point and then;
Counter the Counter – provide your own reasons how and why your point of view is superior; account for the truth in the opposition and then transcend it by incorporating its concern within your own explanation
Conclusion: Bring it all home; now that you have proven your argument, restate main theme, allow your subjective voice to highlight why its an important issue that matters and finally suggest areas for further related research and inquiry