I’m stuck on a English question and need an explanation.
Context: Throughout the semester, we have been focusing on various themes such as technology and media, and now we will turn our attention to local issues. As residents of Southern California and Mexico, we are frequently faced with decisions that affect our lives. Often, we go about our business—working, going to school, spending time with friends and family, unaware of events occurring outside of our comfy bubbles. So, for this project, you will have the opportunity to become a more knowledgeable and active participant in your community.
Writing Task: You will choose one controversial, local issue, to write about in a six-eight page, research-based, persuasive essay. In addition to devising an arguable claim, you will convince your readers (including myself) to take some type of action (this is where the “proposal” aspect comes into play). It is vital to choose a subject that you find interesting, but keep an open mind while you’re doing your research. To build an effective argument, you need to present the best positions, which support your ideas as well as demonstrate why the best positions against your ideas (the counter argument) are insufficient.
Where to Start? Below you will find some topic suggestions. Obviously, many of these topics are not exclusive to one category, so feel free to mix and match. You’re also not restricted to writing about only the topics below.
**Now, when I planned this class (and essay), I had no idea that we would be in the midst of a world-wide pandemic that would take over just about every part of our lives. Therefore, if you would like to write your essay on Covid-19, as it relates to San Diego, or the greater state of California, that would be completely understandable. However, here are some other topics that were getting a lot of attention pre-coronavirus:
- Transportation Issues (Highway Construction, Toll Roads, Public Transportation, Bike Paths, Emission Laws, etc.)
- Homelessness (Methods of Prevention, Increasing Spending)
- Political Issues (Trump vs. California, 2020 Election)
- Food-Related Issues (Farming/Agriculture, School Lunches, Wine and Cheese Production, GMOs, etc.)
- Environmental Issues (Climate Change, Water Pollution, Wild Fires, Drought Restrictions, Alternative Power Sources, Light Pollution Affecting the Mt. Palomar Observatory, Control of Tijuana sewage in the Otay Estuary,Overdevelopment, Legal Marijuana)
- Social Justice Issues (Police Reform, Equal Pay, Veterans Affairs, LGBTQ Rights, Guns Rights and Banning Gun Shows at DelMar)
- Health/Medical (Opioid Crisis, Vaping/E Cigarettes, Suicide Epidemic, Healthcare)
- Educational Issues (Teacher Shortages, Bilingual Education, Education Reform in Secondary Schools and/or Colleges (adjunct/equity issues), Cameras in the Classroom, Free Tuition, etc.)
- Religious Issues (Cross on Mt. Soledad, Mega-churches, etc.)
- Immigration/Border Issues (Trump’s Border Wall, Separation Policy, Border Patrol, Sex trafficking, Sanctuary Cities, etc.)
- Animal Issues (Seals in La Jolla Cove, San Diego Zoo, Kill Shelters, Dolphins and Military, Sea World, Whale Captivity, etc.)
- Entertainment/Pop Culture Issues (Hollywood and Media’s Influence, ComicCon Expansion, Making San Diego More of a Cultural Landmark, etc.)
- Sports-related Issues (College Athletes and Endorsements, Bringing in Professional Hockey, Basketball or Soccer Teams to replace Chargers Departure, New Football Stadium for SDSU, etc.)
- Finance/Money issues (Housing Price Increases/Rental Issues/Millennials are Leaving San Diego or Not Moving here, Minimum Wage Increase, Tourism, etc.)
Placing Your Argument into a Larger Context:
Most local issues are subdivisions of broader national and international issues. For example, the coronavirus crisis is affecting the entire country (and world). However, to give this more of a local perspective, you should research how Californians, or even San Diegans, are being affected by this pandemic, and what is being done to combat it. Therefore, when you do your research, you will be able to take advantage of national publications as well as local ones. Striking a balance here will be your goal.
Guidelines for Choosing a Subject
- Some of the best research subjects stem from the writer’s lived experience. Select a subject that has some relevance to your life, one that you desire to explore in depth and detail. You might even consider writing about a topic related to your major.
- Choose a subject you can explore fairly and thoughtfully. Do not research a subject that you are not open-minded about. If your mind is already made up, why do the research?
- Choose a subject you can explore in depth in the time we have for this project. If, after doing preliminary research, you discover that your subject is too difficult, or you cannot find credible source materials, choose another subject (All subjects, however, must be cleared with me before you can write on them.)
**I recommend that you check out the San Diego Union Tribune, (Links to an external site.) The LA Times (Links to an external site.), San Diego Reader (Links to an external site.), San Diego City Beat (Links to an external site.), Voice of San Diego (Links to an external site.), Pacific (Links to an external site.), and any other local news publications/web sites. Also, check out Ballotpedia (Links to an external site.), which provides information about upcoming elections and propositions.
**This is also an election year, so you might focus on an important election-related issue.
This should give you a good idea what issues are the hottest at the moment. It will also encourage you to get a head start on your research, introducing you to the key names involved in your issue.
Requirements for Sources:
- Your essay must have at least six credible/reliable sources
- You must include at least one article from an electronic database
- You can use magazines (e.g. Time, Rolling Stone, GQ) and newspapers (e.g. San Diego Union Tribune, New York Times) **the web sites are fine, of course
- Do not use general encyclopedic works (eg., the dictionary, the Encyclopedia Britannica, Wikipedia) in your essay
- You should also consider contacting people by telephone or email. If you need help formulating questions or with anything else, please let me know
- You could also do a survey and analyze the data
- Start as soon as possible
**Another point on using sources for this topic:
While you need to localize your topic, you can always use more national and general sources to give background or history about a topic or as a comparison/contrast to what is happening locally. For example, let’s say you are writing about homelessness in San Diego, you could read about what other cities such as Chicago or New York are doing to help with this issue.
**Remember that a well-researched paper will include a variety of sources. Also, for academic papers, books and scholarly journals tend to provide the most credible information.
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