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HUM 115 - Caruso

This is the research guide for Caruso's HUM 115 Spring 2020 critical thinking essay.

Assignment Overview

As you now know from reading Chapter One in your textbook, which deals with barriers to critical thinking, there are many psychological and sociological reasons that people choose to believe things that are not verifiably true or rational. In this paper, you will demonstrate the critical thinking skills you have been working so hard to cultivate over the course of this semester by writing critically about one of the proposed topics provided below.

Explore how opposing views on either side of the political spectrum view the issue. These topics are prompts, or jumping-off points for you to begin your research. As you explore your topic, you may narrow the scope in order to form a cohesive argument.


1. North Carolina Medicaid Expansion

Passage of this year’s North Carolina state budget was impeded by disagreements between Governor Cooper and the General Assembly regarding expansion of Medicaid. A 2012 Supreme Court ruling makes it optional for states to accept federal monies to expand Medicaid; as of March 2019, 14 states had chosen not to expand, including North Carolina. What is the general history of Medicaid? What are the reasons provided by lawmakers to expand or not expand Medicaid in North Carolina? Are they logically sound arguments? Why or why not? Do you think North Carolina should expand its Medicaid program? Why or why not?

2. North Carolina Bottle Bill

A bottle bill, also known as a container-deposit law, is legislation that requires a minimum refundable deposit on recyclable beverage containers. Currently, North Carolina is not one of the states that has a bottle bill in place. What is the history of bottle bills in the U.S.A.? How does bottle bill legislation function? What states have one, and what have been the results? Should North Carolina seek to pass bottle bill legislation? Why or why not?

3. North Carolina Free Tuition for Public Higher Education

Free college tuition, particularly for two-year institutions, is a popular topic that is being frequently discussed today on both federal and state levels. Currently, North Carolina residents must pay tuition to attend community colleges and public universities. What is the history of requiring students to pay for higher education in North Carolina? What about other states? What are the arguments for and against free tuition? Do you think tuition for higher education institutions should be free in North Carolina? Why or why not? 

Paper Structure

Refer to your textbook for helpful information, especially Chapters 1 – 3, 12, and 13.

All papers should follow the basic structured outlined below:

1)   Begin with an introduction and overview of the topic and any relevant history or information. Next, introduce the main arguments being offered by the various sides involved.

2)   This section will constitute the majority of your essay.

Present the two main opposing arguments related to the issue. Offer support and evidence of these perspectives from reliable sources. Regarding the topic, what are the arguments given by either side? Are they sound or strong arguments? 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 agree with this perspective. 

Take care to point out any logical fallacies you encounter and why they are illogical or specious. Do you see strong examples of groupthink, unwarranted stereotypes, egocentrism, group bias, or simply self-interested thinking? You may need to reread Chapter One to establish a strong foundation with these terms. Are people arriving at false conclusions?

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 and rational to you? Base your decision on the claims of each argument.


This is a formal essay, and should adhere to the following guidelines:

  • Avoid 1st person; contact the ILC for help with writing in an appropriate academic voice
  • At least 4 credible sources must be used, and one must be a primary source, such as an interview. Access this course’s research guide with the library for more information. These should be the same sources you defended in your annotated bibliography presentation.
  • All formatting should be in MLA.
  • Standard 1 inch margins all around.
  • Paper length: minimum of 4 full pages and no more than 6, excluding the Works Cited page (in other words, your paper may be 7 pages with the Works Cited page included).

Every day the paper is late after the due date, it will be dropped one letter grade.