Critical Thinking

Critical thinking

The task for this essay assignment is to select a social problem, and evaluate an organized response
designed to address it. The social problem can be the same from your first essay. The response to
the social problem should focus on a law, policy, or other existing practice designed to address the
social problem. The goal of the essay is not to propose your own response to the social problem.
Your essay should address the following questions:
What is the social problem?
Your essay should describe the social problem you select, even if it is the same from your previous
essay. Specifically, what is the social problem? Who is affected by it? What are some of the negative
consequences of the problem? This portion to your essay should be one or two paragraphs long.
What is the response to this problem?
Select one existing organized response to this problem. It should be a law, policy, or some other
frequent and widespread practice. Your essay should describe this response. What changes does
the response require? Who is enacting this response? What is its goal? You may discuss multiple
responses that are significantly related in some way, but your essay will likely be stronger if it
focuses on only one. This portion of the essay should also be one or two paragraphs long.
What is good/bad about the response?
Your essay should describe the impact of the response, and make an argument for how well it does
or does not work. Does the response improve the negative consequences of the social problem?
Does it make other social problems worse?
Your evaluation of the response will require you to make an argument, and support that argument
with evidence. This portion of the essay will be the most important, and should be the longest
portion of your essay. Still, clear and informed descriptions of both the social problem and the
response (the first two questions) are crucial for making a compelling argument.
You will need to use evidence from the assigned readings and lecture material, and/or additional
sources that you research, throughout your essay. The essay should be four double-spaced
pages long, not including the reference list. Please consult the previous prompt for guidelines
on the use of evidence, citation formatting, etc.
1Essay Evaluation
Essay Content
Addresses Main Questions 55%
& Clear/Logical Argument
Use of Evidence 25%
Grammar and Spelling 10%
Proper Citation 10%
Appropriate Evidence
Acceptable evidence includes all class readings and lecture materials, as well as research reports
from government research agencies (i.e., the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, etc.)
and other research institutes (i.e., the Urban Institute, Brookings Institute, Pew Research Center).
Journalistic accounts, including opinion editorials, can be used to identify claimsmakers, but are
not considered appropriate evidence for the impacts of social problems, or the effectiveness of organized
responses to them.
Lecture notes from other classes will not be allowed for this paper. Materials from other classes are
certainly valid and valuable information. However, this information has been collected from other
sources that you should be able to locate independently.
Submission Checklist
As with the previous essay, please submit a paper copy of your essay to your discussion section
instructor at the beginning of class on Wednesday, March 4. Please also submit a pdf copy of the
essay in the “Assignments” section of SmartSite. Recent versions of Microsoft Word are capable of
exporting documents directly to pdf, as are most other word processing programs. Many free web
services, including Google Docs, can also export to pdf. Before submitting your essay, be sure it is
consistent with the following:
• All of the main questions above are answered in your essay.
• The main parts of your essay are all supported with references.
• Your essay has used spell/grammar check.
• The in-text citations and reference list are in ASA format (see previous prompt).
• The digital copy is in pdf format.
• Your name and the name of your discussion instructor are at the top of the essay.

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