Portfolio 2: Topic Proposal
Overview: To complete this assignment, you will select a publicly debated issue that you’ve become familiar with via your New York Times clippings during the first portfolio. You will choose one such issue to research. The first four weeks of the course and a daily subscription to the NYT should have exposed you to a number of potential issues and have provided a good foundation of knowledge for you to build on through your research. The issue you select should be complex - that is, there must be more than two sides to the debate. For instance, the issue of how to reduce teenage pregnancy is probably a more advantageous topic than the abortion debate, since sides tend to polarize around pro-life and pro-choice positions in the abortion discussion. Ideas about solving the teenage pregnancy problem, on the other hand, are varied and numerous, including (but not limited to) those who believe in the value of sex education, those who advocate strict family and abstinence training, and those who argue for wide and free distribution of contraceptives. Once you’ve selected an issue, you will begin reading articles on your issue to become familiar with the debate (and the perspectives represented in the debate) and you will decide on a general focus or direction for your research.
Purposes for this Proposal: To define a clearly debatable issue that you'll want to write about; to explain why this issue is important to you (why you chose to write about it); and to explain why this issue is relevant to a college-age audience (why they should care about it).
Audience: Your primary readers for the proposal are you and your instructor; however, you'll also need to consider your larger classroom audience of peers to help you decide which issues will be of greatest interest to this audience.
Proposal Requirements: Your proposal should be between 300 and 400 words in length. In it, you should clearly define your issue, refer to the Times article or articles (clipped and included) that prompted your interest in the issue and include a research question to help clarify a specific focus for your topic and its investigation. The research question should be narrow and debatable. It should also lend itself to complicated responses (more than simply pro/con). Also, in your proposal you should briefly describe who is currently debating this issue, and discuss what their general concerns are. Finally, you should explain why you chose to write about this issue, and why you believe it is an important issue for your class and instructor to know more about.
Proposal Submission: Post your proposal to the Writing Studio or follow the instructions of your instructor.