Thursday, February 7, 2013

Essay 2

Our eventual goal in the class is to produce a term paper that offers a detailed analysis--and it need not be of something that is narrowly economic or political--of a particular topic of interest to you. 

In preparation for this, our next paper will aim at producing an analytical summary of a particular policy, issue, or topic. For this assignment, I want you to design an argumentative paper that explains and informs a general reader about your particular policy/issue. Do not list disjointed pieces of information about the subject, but rather make an informative argument about what people often misunderstand about your issue, how it is possible to clear up those misperceptions, and what is most important to know about your issue in order to understand it most accurately. In other words, you want to explore the argumentative potential of informational modes of discourse, rather than just list facts.

Do not feel that you are stuck with whatever topic you choose. In fact, I want us to use this assignment as an opportunity for teaching each other about various different policies/topics. After we turn in this paper, I want us to briefly share our findings with the class through short, informal, 5-10 minute presentations. Just prepare a small handout that distills your findings and then present it to the class. Hopefully, this will serve as a kind of "topics fair" that allows the class to explore a wide variety of different subjects that might be of interest to them.

For this paper, I'll ask that you include at least one academic source (books, journal articles) and two other sources (can be academic or from substantive newspapers or periodicals). You can of course use the blogs we have been reading or other similar websites, but avoid using online encyclopedias or informational websites (, for example) as a source. You can read these for background information, but don't cite them as sources. The paper should be in the neighborhood of 4-5 pages, double spaced, in 12 point Times New Roman Font, with one inch margins all around.

Finally, remember that the more specific you can be, the better. Medicare is a better topic than health insurance in general; the Medicare Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) is a better topic than Medicare in general; and comparisons of two specific cost-reduction schemes associated with IPAB is a better topic than IPAB in general.

Bring a rough draft (at least 3 pages) to class for peer editing Thursday, February 21st. We will start our presentations that day as well. The final will be due Wednesday, February 27th by 12pm. 

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