Contemporary Political Issues Final Exam
Choose ONE of the following issues:
*Fiscal cliff negotiations
*Whether and how the US or any outside power should intervene in Syria
*Whether the US government should fund research on human embryos
Note: This is NOT a research paper; the amount of research required is minimal, and centers mostly on finding and determining the credibility of various sources. Instead, the emphasis is on how you would analyze the issue and what would lead to understanding.
Once you’ve chosen your issue, answer ALL of the following:
1. Assuming you don’t know much about the issue, where would you look to find information about it? What sources would you use to learn about the issue? What kind of variety would you seek in your sources? Why? List the sources. How would you make sure that your sources were “legitimate”?
2. If your various sources have different points of view, how would you determine which were more credible? If you agreed with the source, would that make it more or less credible to you? Why?
3. How would you determine what are the crucial factors in understanding this issue? How much research would you have to perform to consider yourself knowledgeable about the issue? What questions would you ask to determine your own views?
4. If you did form an opinion about the issue, how would you make sense of arguments with which you disagreed? If there were a great deal of controversy over the issue, how confident would you be in your own opinion?
5. Once you formed an opinion, would you continue to try to learn more about the issue? Why or why not? What (evidence, reason, events, etc.) might make you change your mind?
Note on determining sources: When looking for sources, consider the types of those source both in terms of type of media (scholarly journals; governmental reports; transcripts of speeches; print or online newspapers, popular magazines, t.v., radio, & film; institutional & interest-group publications; archival and primary-source material; etc.) and form (research articles, investigative reporting, governmental & institutional reports, advocacy & opinion essays, etc.).
Your essay should be typed, double-spaced, 750-1000 words (4-5 pages), and in the form of a continuous essay. Please do NOT include a title page; instead, list your issue as the title on the top of your first page.
The essay is due 4:00 pm Thursday, December 20. I will be in 222 Carman (our classroom) between 4:00 & 4:30 to pick up the exams. If there are any problems, contact me.
Finally, you must RETURN YOUR BOOKS to the College Now office (Carman 189) by December 20, or you will lose a grade. So: turn in your exam to me, then turn in your books to College Now—and enjoy your break!