Munzenmaier • Hamilton College • Urbandale, IA
Topic Exploration Project
On paper, the research process looks very smooth. You find a topic, locate sources, take notes, and start writing.
However, if you've chosen an arguable topic, you may find your opinions changing as you read. For example, you may start out wanting to prove that capital punishment deters crime. You will find experts who support that point of view. However, others question these statistics.
As you read different points of view, you may find yourself favoring one side of the argument, then the other. That's part of the process. Give yourself the freedom to explore all sides. A good example of how to do this is Patrick Johnson's "Obesity: Epidemic or Myth?"
For now, remember Thomas Dewar's saying: "Minds are like parachutes—they only function when open." Once you've explored the arguments on all sides, you can decide which ones are the strongest and the most consistent with your values.
Your final stand will be stronger because you considered many points of view. In addition, you will be more credible. If someone brings up an argument against your position, you'll be able to respond logically instead of having to say, "Um, I never thought of that." Being aware of all sides of the argument instead of just one will make it easier for your audience to trust that you are knowledgeable and fair-minded.
How to Write Your Topic Exploration Project (50 pts)
1. Choose a topic.
2. Explain why your topic is controversial.
3. Describe your thinking on the topic at this point in your research.
Topic Exploration Organizer (.doc)
Topic Exploration Rubric (.doc)
Use of topic exploration
materials is restricted to students or faculty of Kaplan University.
Last updated 8/11/2010