The purpose of this paper is to allow you to explore and evaluate a contemporary geographic problem in more detail than is covered in class. You will select a topic from a list located on Blackboard or you may choose your own topic with your instructor’s approval. An issue is an idea or practice that is subject to differing interpretations and opinions. It is inherently conflict-ridden, whether it is physical or just philosophical. Your job will be to look at the existing arguments and derive your own opinions about the issue.
Step 1. – Pick a topic from the list. Pick a topic that you are interested in or be bold and pick an unfamiliar topic. (Cuban Embargo – What is it? Why? Effective? Should we keep it?)
Step 2. – Research. Get familiar with your topic by reading multiple sources of information. Good sources include Books, Academic Journals (Journal of….), News and Policy magazines (The Economist, Time, Foreign Policy…), Newspapers (Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal…). Bibliographies of articles and books are good sources to find follow-up material. Look at the online databases on the library home page, particularly the Academic Search Premier (many full text articles). Google Scholar is another good place to find full text articles. Also look at websites. For this type of assignment, look at opinion pieces and editorials as well. As with all sources, see if you can pick up biases in the reporting. Many magazines and websites either slant conservative or liberal. Sometimes it is subtle but other times the writer has an agenda.
Part 1 Background – what is the issue and how or why did it get that way. Why is it important to the parties involved? This sets the foundation for the rest of the paper.
Part 2 What are the varying perspectives on this issue. For example, this group thinks this about the issue because… Why is it in their interest to think this way?
Part 3 Your take on this issue. How do think this issue can be resolved? Is it even possible? Compromise? Which side do you tend to support? Why? Neither?
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