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November 30

posted Nov 29, 2012, 2:57 PM by Peter Knowles   [ updated Nov 30, 2012, 5:55 AM ]
Today we continue working on your Civil Rights Research Assignment 

Your assignment is to:
  1. Choose a current question/issue related to people's rights in the United States as defined in the Constitution
  2. Do some research about the issue and its history
  3. Write a formal research paper that explores the questions surrounding your chosen issue
  4. Clearly connect your issue to the Constitution
  5. Make predictions or informed suggestions about how you think the issue should be resolved
Expanded requirements for each of these parts are shown below.  NEW: Suggested Outline Below
1. Choose a current question/issue related to Civil Rights in the United States (Due by 11/28)  
A good topic is one that 
a) interests you, and 
b) has been in the news recently. 
Good places to finding such topics include:
>>Once you've found your topic, SUBMIT IT HERE!<<

2. Do some research about the issue and its history (Classwork and homework, 11/28-12/3)
Research for this project includes both: 
a) BACKGROUND research -- understanding what the fuss is all about in terms of the Constitution (what section or amendment is in question) and what similar questions or cases have existed in the past, and 
b) CURRENT research -- finding what's happening NOW with regard to your question. This means reading news articles from the past year or so, and looking for  updates, if necessary, to see what the current status of the issue is. 
Be sure to take good notes and keep track of where you get information. You'll need to cite sources for your information in your finished paper.

3. Write a formal research paper that explores the question (Classwork and homework, 12/3-12/4)
Use your ability to write a complete academic research paper, with introduction, thesis statement, body, conclusion, citations, and reference list. Use either MLA or APA format (but be consistent). Be sure to clearly address all the required elements of this paper. 

4. Clearly connect your issue to the Constitution (Classwork and homework, 12/3-12/4)
As part of your paper, be sure to explain how your current issue fits under the umbrella of the Constitution.  What section or amendment is in question with regard to your topic? What conflicting sections or interpretations are there? Where do people, and their Constitutional arguments/perspectives, disagree?

5. Make predictions or informed suggestions about how you think the issue should be resolved (Classwork and homework, 12/3-12/4)
Also as part of your paper, make sure you look to the future with some ideas about how you think this issue will be, or should be, resolved. In many cases, this means "What will/would the Supreme Court say if/when the issue reaches them?". If your issue has already reached the Supreme Court and they've decided, be sure to include that information in your paper, but take a few minutes to consider how that decision will impact people in the future. Will it lead to more questions in your chosen topic area, or will it resolve the issue for good? Will others push farther with their interpretation of their rights, or will others pull back? 

DUE DATE: Wednesday, December 5. 

Suggested outline for Civil Rights Research Assignment

I) Introduction -- gradual introduction to your topic, including thesis statement

II) Background -- clearly explain the area that your topic addresses. Define the Constitutional connections as well as similar questions and/or court cases that have dealt with issues like yours in the past.

III) Current issue -- clearly explain what’s happening now. What is your exact issue? Why is it an issue right now? What do the opposing sides have to say about the issue?

IV) Predictions -- explain where you think this issue is headed. If it’s in the court system (headed to the Supreme Court?) predict what you think the result will be, and why.  If it isn’t, how will it be dealt with in the near future. Why do you think that?

V) Conclusion -- wrap up your argument with a review/summary of key points you’ve made, as well as a clear sense of completion.

VI) Works Cited -- Accurately list all sources used to help you write your paper using the correct format (MLA or APA; your choice).