Issue Proposal

The issue proposal is your written commitment to me to a specific focus of research this term.  This research will be connected to many of the assignments you will need to complete throughout the term:  the issue presentation, the annotated bibliography, the exploratory paper, and the position paper.

You are to select a current controverisal issue in the United States that interests you and has not yet been resolved and upon which there is disagreement.  I will not accept issues on abortion rights, the legalization of any drug, capital punishment, or religion.  I also do not accept papers that rely on religious beliefs as their major support.  Certainly, no one wants to persuade you to change those beliefs.  

First you need to insure that the issue you have chosen is indeed arguable.  Complete the Twelve Tests of an Arguable Issue below.

NOTE:  If you cannot answer yes to all of these questions, you will need to choose another issue or somehow modify the current one issue.  The issue that you write about this semester must be controversial and cannot be an issue that has already been resolved.  There must be disagreement on the topic.

If for any reason you are unsure if your issue is "arguable," contact me immediately for feedback.

Phrase your issue as a question:  ___________________________
(ex.:  What should the future policy be toward gay adoption?)

YES ____       NO____        1.  Is this an issue that has NOT been resolved or
YES ____       NO____        2.  Does this issue potentially inspire two or more views?
YES ____       NO____        3.  Are you willing to consider a position different from
                                                      your own and perhaps even modify your views on
                                                       this issue?
YES ____       NO____        4.  Are you sufficiently interested and engaged with this 
                                                     issue to inspire your audience to become interested
YES ____       NO____        5.  Do other people perceive this as an issue?
YES ____       NO____        6.  Is this issue significant enough to be worth your time?
YES ____       NO____        7.  Is this a safe issue for you? Not too risky? Scary? Will
                                                      you be willing to express your ideas?
YES ____       NO____        8.  Will you be able to establish common ground wit your 
                                                      audience on this issue--common terms, common 
                                                       background and values?
YES ____       NO____        9.  Can you get information and come up with convincing 
                                                      insights on this issue?
YES ____       NO____        10. Can you eventually get a clear and limited focus on \                                                           this issue, even if it is a complicated one?
YES ____       NO____        11.  Is it an enduring issue, or can you build perspective
                                                       by linking it to an enduring issue?
YES ____       NO____        12.  Can you predict some audience outcomes? (Think of
                                                       your classmates as the audience.  Will they be
                                                       convinced? Hostile? Neutral? Attentative?
                                                       Remember, any outcomes at all can be regarded as 
                                                       significant in an argument.

After you have made certain that your issue is arguable, it is time to commit to the issue that you plan to work with for the remainder of the term.  Your proposal  should be 250-300 words long and respond to the following four items (roughly a paragraph or so for each item):

a.  Introduce the issue, and then present it in question form.
b.  Explain why the issue is compelling to you.
c.  Describe what you already know about the issue.
d.  Describe what more you need to learn.
e.  Explain where you plan to find the info for your paper.

NOTE:  For letter "a", present the question that you would most like answered about your issue today based on the knowledge that you possess now.  Phrase this question in a manner that allows these three answers:  yes, no, and maybe.  For example, "Should gay marriage be legal in all 50 states in the United States?"  There is a yes answer to this, a no answer, and a maybe.  These three responses will become the "for," "against," and nuetral stances of your exploratory paper later on and you will research each of these positions for your annotated bibliography before you begin that paper.

Be sure that it is typed, double-spaced, & Times New Roman Font, 12 point.

The issue proposal is due Tuesday, March 18, 2008.