The Critical Thinking Paper is an argumentative essay using the process of thinking critically about the themes and topics presented in the course to develop a clear and cohesive position on a specific issue. These papers are designed to help you become better researchers and writers in the process of investigating topics related to the course.
Ideas to consider as you develop a topic:
Relationship of the physical feature/concept/form to local, regional, global patterns/activity/circulation/flows
Relationship to the human landscape
Controls, limits, and change…
Resulting impacts of that change and what may be done to adapt to or modify living conditions
Essential information includes; Name; Word Count; and Title
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeGrammar & Spelling
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeCorrectly Formatted Bibliography
(MLA or APA format). Entries must be alphabetized. Access date for websites must be included.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIn-Text Citations
We accept only this format: (Friedman, 2008; p. 16) or “As noted by Friedman (2008; p 16),…” Page number must be included for all citations
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeIntroduction
The goal of this section is to convey to your audience the meaning of your topic, its significance, and how your paper will clarify and elucidate the issue. It might be helpful to attempt to write this section in three sentences: the first clarifying the topic, the second justifying why it is worthy of attention, and the third acting as a thesis statement (a concise explanation of your side of the argument). Condensed to its bones: Introduce the topic, connect your topic to the broader themes of the course, and present a clear argument (thesis statement).
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeAnalysis (425 ± 25 words)
The Analysis section is the longest part of your paper. This is where you develop and explain your overall argument. Start by re-stating your thesis statement and then explain how each supporting argument informs your overall position. Consider writing one paragraph for each supporting argument, using your research to back up your position. Be sure to provide logical transitions from one idea to the next, elucidating your train of thought, if necessary. Condensed to its bones: Develop and explain your argument using only facts that support your specific argument. Connect your supporting arguments back to your broader thesis statement. This is the largest component of your paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeEvaluation
This section provides an opportunity to point out any of your biases or the biases that might exist in the studies, experiments, or statistical analyses of the research that you cite. Discuss the possible impact that these biases have on your conclusions. Use this section to think critically about your own position and thesis statement. It is not sufficient to write that the sources were all taken from academic journals and are therefore valid. Condensed to its bones: Identify bias in the arguments of at least two sources that you are using [be very specific]. You can think of “bias” as the limitations of a particular journal article or book. Identify your own bias from your upbringing, education, and peers. Learn to recognize yours and how it applies to this topic. “I’m rich and from a rich country” won’t cut it here. Where does your bias come from?
This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeConclusion
In this section, you will summarize your thesis statement and discuss how your position and this topic connect to the themes of this course and have broader consequences. Highlight for the reader why this topic matters. It may be helpful to think in terms of scales; if your issue is on a local scale, what might the effects be on a national, international, or global scale? As another example, if your essay focuses on effects of an issue to natural systems, consider how this issue might affect human populations or vice versa. Condensed to its bones: Summarize your overall argument and make the connection to its broader impact and importance. Why does this topic matter? Wrap up your arguments and conclude.
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