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HUM 115 - Riley


HUM 115 - Critical Thinking: Ethical Issue Synopsis

This paper is an opportunity to put your finely honed critical thinking skills to the test. In conjunction with the instructor, you will choose a contemporary issue to examine. You will give a brief study of the issue along with different perspectives on approaching the issue.  Write these perspectives as arguments and in your conclusion choose the argument that is more compelling.

In the beginning of the paper, introduce the issue to the audience.  Define the term(s) associated with the issue, provide relevant history, and other helpful background information.  Next, support the arguments with reason.  Offer support from varied sources.  This will be the bulk of your essay.  Finally, offer a conclusion based on the support given.

After doing this, offer your understanding of how the issue should be evaluated. Your paper will contain following sections.  Though you will write in paragraph form, number each section of the paper (1, 2, 3)

1) Begin with an introduction of your issue.  Include why it is relevant for our consideration. Provide ‘background’ information about the topic that will help the reader understand the arguments that follow.  You may offer a brief history of the issue, including events that shape how we view the issue

2) Offer alternate or opposing ethical viewpoints (arguments)   of your issue. Construct each viewpoint as fairly as possible. Remember that ‘completeness’ and ‘fairness’ are standards of critical thinking. Cover the dynamics of each viewpoint, the values underlying each viewpoint, and why one might be compelled to this agree with this perspective. Use logic as you construct each argument and use relevant facts to support each point of view. Argument claims should logically imply a conclusion.  Each side’s argument should be “strong”. 

Use two types of sources.  One will be articles written by credentialed authorities (journalists, researchers, professors).  These will be come from the library’s databases.  The other sources will be an interview with someone directly involved with or affected by the issue. 

3) Conclude with what you believe to be the most logical point of view and why. What compels you to accept this perspective? Why does this point of view seem the most ethical to you? Base your decision on the claims of each argument.  Show that you have accomplished the goals of the introduction. 

Chapter 12 - 13 of your textbook offers an excellent guide to finding sources and writing argumentative essays.

This assignment is a formal paper. I will expect the paper to be well-organized and easy to follow. You may use first person in your essay, but use it sparingly.  If you reference personal events, you may use first person.  The conclusion is another place where first person could be used.  Again, use it sparingly since it is understood that it is your conclusion.  You will be graded on the proper use of grammar, citations, and formatting. 

Cite at least four (4) sources.   Three sources must come from 1) books or 2) articles available through the library research databases (NC LIVE, JSTOR, SiRS, Opposing Viewpoints, etc) or 3) primary source material.  One source must be a primary source material in the form of an interview.

In the Works Cited page, only include the sources you cited in the paper. All citations should adhere to MLA guidelines regarding citations.  If you unsure about a source, ask me if it is appropriate for the paper.

Your paper should be at least 4 full pages and should not exceed 6 pages (excluding the Works Cited page). Papers should be typed, double spaced, 12 point font, and standard margins. The first page of your paper should include your name, course number, and section number in the upper left corner. This information should be single-spaced. Then include a title in 12 point font.  Do not include a cover page or a binder.                 

Your paper will be due at the beginning of class on November 13. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade for each day (not class period) they are late. Submitting any time after the beginning of class will be considered LATE. 

How to be Successful for this Assignment

Welcome to the Research Guide, a place to get the research you need to complete your assignment.  You will find pages to help with your research.



  • Should genetic testing be required in healthcare screening?
  • Is it unpatriotic to burn the American Flag burning or sit during national anthem?
  • What is the Just war theory / has there ever been a just war?
  • Gentrification of American cities.
  • What should America do with Middle Eastern refugees?
  • Pros and Cons Genetically Modified foods.
  • Is the practice Plea Bargaining ethical?
  • Should civil service be mandatory for all citizens?
  • Are more laws needed to protect transgendered people?
  • Is Global Warming inevitable?
  • Are Voter ID laws necessary?
  • What should the U.S. do about illegal immigration?      
  • What to do about jail / prison overcrowding?
  • Should community college be free?
  • How should K-12 education be reformed?
  • How should the U.S. respond to ISIS?