As you move through this unit, you will need to have in mind a topic about which you want to research and argue for the final essay. Please see the attached list for your options. If you wish to investigate a different topic, you must obtain instructor approval. Essays on unapproved topics will receive a zero.
Here are a few steps that might help you select and focus your topic:
Choose your topic from the ones provided for this unit (or seek instructor approval to use a different topic).
Once you’ve found a topic, determine if it needs to be narrowed or if a particular focus might help the argument.For instance, if you were writing about obesity, you might need to find a slant that creates a more interesting argument than “obesity is a problem” (of course it’s a problem!). Narrowing helps a bit, but not enough: “to avoid obesity, Americans should exercise more” (of course Americans should exercise more!). But what if we narrow the topic further: “Schools in Texas need to ban unhealthy foods from the lunch menu and eliminate vending machines with unhealthy snacks and sodas.” This sentence establishes a more focused and nuanced argument than the earlier topic of obesity. To create a more interesting topic, you might then move to question who is responsible for obesity. Is it individuals, corporations, cultural norms, the government, or some other entity? What can we do to change the culture in the United States so that obesity is not so prevalent? The more focused and nuanced the topic, the better the paper usually is. Starting with the topics from the list provided in the lesson, try to find a focused topic for your essay.
After narrowing your topic, you should make a list of everything you know about the topic and everything you want to know. This list will guide your research.
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