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Prior to beginning work on this assignment, read the assigned chapters in your textbook and watch the videos Identifying Premises and Conclusions (Links to an external site.), What Is an Argument? (Links to an external site.), What Is a Good Argument? (Part I) (Links to an external site.), and What Is a Good Argument?: The Logic Condition (Links to an external site.).

In this class, we learn to evaluate issues in light of the reasoning on all sides prior to arriving at conclusions. We aim to evaluate the quality and quantity of evidence, striving to be as objective as we can about what is most likely to be true.

If you have not done so already, begin by choosing a topic from the Final Paper Options list to use in your writing assignments in this course. The next step is to formulate a specific research question that is important regarding this topic. You may review The Research Process (Links to an external site.)resource for more information. So, if your topic is gun control, you would formulate a specific question, such as, “Are universal background checks effective at reducing violent crime in America?”

Once you have formulated your question, conduct research from non-scholarly sources on the internet (e.g., news articles, op-eds, etc.) that present substantive reasoning on each side of the issue.

Your task is to present and evaluate the reasoning from a non-scholarly source on each side of your issue. There is no need to take sides on the issue at this stage. In your analysis, strive to be as objective as possible, evaluating the reasoning from a neutral point of view. For an example of how to complete this paper, take a look at the Week One Example paper.

Your paper should include clearly labeled sections addressing the following elements:

  • Introduction (approximately 100 words)
    • Explain your topic.
    • State the specific question that you are addressing.
  • Presentation of an Argument 
    • Describe the non-scholarly source (e.g., an op-ed, newspaper article, website, etc.) on one side of the issue and summarize the key points made (approximately 50 words).
    • Present what you see as the main argument from that source. Make sure to present your argument in standard form, with the premises listed above the conclusion. (approximately 100 words)
    • Evaluate the quality of the reasoning in this source (approximately 200 words)
      • In completing your evaluation, consider assessing how well the research supports the premises of the main argument and how strongly the reasoning supports the conclusion of that argument.
  • Presentation of an Argument on the Other Side of the Issue
    • Describe the non-scholarly source on the opposite side of the issue and summarize the key points made. (approximately 50 words)
    • Present what you see as the main argument from that source. Make sure to present your argument in standard form, with the premises listed above the conclusion. (approximately 100 words)
    • Evaluate the quality of the reasoning in this source (approximately 200 words)
      • In completing your evaluation, consider assessing how well the research supports the premises of the main argument and how strongly the reasoning supports the conclusion.

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