Write a formal research paper of at least 2,250 words (12pt, double space, 1” margin, conformed to Turabian) reflecting on some current injustice or moral problem that impacts people in the world today. The paper should demonstrate rigorous and careful research regarding the situation, various perspectives on the injustice, and possible responses to the problem. The paper should make extensive use of at least two ethical theories. Through this assignment, students should demonstrate a solid grasp of the way ethical theory operates with respect to the topic (i.e. which theories you are using to address a problem, how ethical theory identifies or evaluates the injustice). Significant deductions will be incurred for poor formatting, failure to follow directions and lack of adequate research. Since this is a “research paper” students should utilize 5-10 sources in writing a unique thesis about one of the topics covered in the course.
Students are encouraged to contact the professor by email to propose a topic for research. Students should avoid generic and broad term paper topics (i.e. “Abortion: Pros and Cons”) and strive to write a paper that explores the issue with significant creativity and depth (i.e. The Ethics of Clothing: Where Target Gets Its Threads). Topics can be related to issues discussed in class, but should be much narrower and deeper in scope.
Common problems on this assignment include: 1) failing to identify which ethical theories are active in a particular debate, 2) failing to identify a clear thesis and itinerary for the paper, 3) lacking proper research and resources, particularly from the field of ethics, and 4) lacking adequate editing, formatting and paper structure. These problems will result in significant deductions. The professor cannot stress in strong enough terms the danger and consequences of plagiarism on this assignment. An exhaustive description of what Dr. Severson considers plagiarism is linked as “Avoiding Plagiarism” in the course modules. Various writing tools, including “Writing Guide” videos are available on Canvas.
Grading deductions will be incurred for spelling and grammatical errors, improper documentation (beware of relying on treacherous internet sources). Research papers will be scored according to the following grading rubric:
Grammar, spelling, sentence structure, readability, consistency of notations/spacing/pagination (20%)
Quality of research, accuracy of citations, connection of thesis to the scholarly field, use of primary sources (20%)
Logical connectedness of the paragraphs/points, visibility of a structure/outline, transitions between points/paragraphs (20%)
Thesis development, quality of argument, appropriate length/word count (20%)
Strength of conclusions, scope of argument (whether or not the paper accounts for the range of opinions on the topic), overall presentation of thesis (20%)