Deliberative Course Project
HU101I- Fall 1999

This assignment asks you to continue the work you have been doing in class by examining an issue concerning nature, science, and/or medicine in light of the different ways of seeing, describing, categorizing, and “constructing” knowledge in these areas. The issue you choose should be one that you find interesting and compelling enough to write about for the next several weeks. However, it should not be an issue that you feel so strongly about that you will be unable to suspend your own judgment long enough to examine the potential validity of other perspectives offered. Keep in mind that the purpose of deliberative writing is not about debating a pro/con argument, but instead is a careful consideration of multiple (more than two) perspectives and the beliefs that motivate them. This means that you will need to examine and discuss all perspectives so that you: can eventually express a strong belief in your position; can offer adequate and convincing support for you readers; and can possibly suggest a new way of resolving or lessening the conflict.

One useful way to think about this course project is as a conversation with your audience. As in a conversation, you want to present your perspectives concerning this issue to your audience in ways that will be clear, interesting, and persuasive. You want to provide enough information so that others understand the context of the issue, without bogging them down with simplistic, repetitive, or otherwise unnecessary details.
Project Proposal (Due Thursday, September 30): For this 3-5 page proposal, you will want to research and describe who the various stakeholders are in the issue you have selected. Explain who this issue is important to and why. Who and/or what does this issue affect? What are the environmental, political, economic, and/or social aspects involved? Why is in an important issue to continue to research and discuss? Why is this issue important to you? How does it affect you directly or indirectly? You should not be attempting to draw any specific conclusions at this point. This is an exploratory paper that asks you to momentarily suspend your opinions to allow you to explore the complexity of the perspectives relating to this issue.

Intermediate Drafts (First draft due Tuesday, October 19; Second draft due in conference, week 9): After you project proposal has been approved, you will begin writing drafts of what will eventually become your final essay. As you continue writing over the quarter, you will be expected to incorporate a variety of outside sources (a minimum of four) into your text. Some of these sources must address opposing or competing viewpoints on the issue. As you continue revising, you should begin to sort out what you think the most credible and persuasive perspectives as, and to provide insights and documentation to support why you believe they are sound.

Final Draft (Due in portfolio, Wednesday, November 17): Your final draft should be 7-10 pages in length, typed and double-spaced. It should draw from the research and writing of your previous drafts to present a well-researched and -reasoned analysis of the perspectives and positions that surround the issue, including ones you found to be the most persuasive and informative. Include any possible options or actions that you feel will be especially important to how the issue is addressed in the future.