Present research relating the
responsibilities of a critical thinker to contemporary society.
- Research one aspect of a contemporary social problem.
- Define the problem.
- Propose a possible solution for the problem.
- Create an argument that supports your thesis position.
You should take on the perspective of a critically thinking researcher.
The argument must present a thesis statement and evidence to support the
- Evaluate the ethical outcomes that result from the
position you take on the issue and explain how those outcomes would
influence society and culture.
- Interpret statistical data from at least two
peer-reviewed scholarly sources.
- Evaluate evidence using the following standards:
validity, reliability, and bias related to the chosen topic and accurately
identify strengths and weaknesses.
Research and Define the Problem
Must take on the perspective of my major field (Early Childhood Education) of study and explain in
your paper what that perspective is and how it informs your view of the topic.
The topics listed above are far too broad to write about in 10–12 pages (3,300–3,900
words). Instead, you must choose a narrowly defined thesis and approach it from
the perspective of your field.
Example: If you are an economics major, and you are interested in
immigration reform, you should approach a very specific aspect of immigration
reform through the lens of economic theory and practice. A specific thesis
question would not be, “How does illegal immigration influence the U.S.
economy?” One could write thousands of pages on such a topic. Instead, a better
question would be, “How do illegal immigrant hotel workers in Chicago impact
the economy of Northern Illinois?” You would then want to do the research and
determine the positive and negative impacts they have, ultimately trying to
conclude how illegal immigration in this area should be approached ethically.
How to Hone Your Thesis: It is important that you start your research early in this
course. Try to find the most important contemporary questions and theories in
your field of study and then align the most important questions with a very
specific aspect of the general topics above. For example, if you are a
psychology major, you might want to start thinking within the realm of
healthcare reform or aspects of mental health and criminality in the prison
Mmust present a complete argument, including a major claim with at least five
points of evidence, information, or data that will prove the claim.
- The thesis statement must be
- A clear, simple declarative sentence as the first or
last sentence in the opening paragraph of the essay.
- Of such a nature that it can be substantiated,
corroborated, verified, and proved through appeal to primary or secondary
academic research source materials.
- The introductory paragraph must
- Present the thesis statement, an explanation for the
importance of the topic, and its relation to the student’s field of
- Beliefs, opinions, and personal opinions must not be
introduced at any point in the essay.
- All beliefs and opinions should be supported with
academic evidence. Sweeping generalizations with no supporting academicevidence do not reflect adequate critical thinking skills.
- Do not include rhetorical questions in your essays. All
the questions that are pertinent to your project need to be answered in
your essay and your answers again need to be supported with evidence from
peer-reviewed journal articles and academically published books.
Attributes of Good Critical Thinking
- Your paper should include academic sources that explain
multiple sides of the issue.
- The evidence that you use should come from high-level
researchers engaged in your field of study.
- Your interpretations of the evidence should be
objective and state the conclusions and theses presented in the evidence
clearly and fairly.
- Your paper should place the various forms of evidence
in relation to one another and demonstrate why one form or perspective is
stronger than the other positions that one could take on the issue.
- Your paper should point out the limitations of current
evidence and attempt to indicate areas for future research.
Ethical Outcomes of the Position You
After you have defined the problem and created an argument about how one ought
to respond to the issue, you need to explain the ethical outcomes of the
position you have taken. This should again be in relation to the field of study
in which you are working. There might be different ethical outcomes that result
from your analysis. For example, going back to the example issue above, from an
economic standpoint, illegal immigrants might contribute positively to the
economy of Northern Illinois in a specific number of ways. Thus, an economist
who believes that positive impact to the economy is the greatest good would say
that one should promote the use of illegal immigrants. However, because these
workers are often paid less than others and eliminate jobs that could be done
by residents of Chicago, there could be other negative ethical outcomes that
would outweigh the positive impacts to the economy. It is your goal to draw out
the ethical implications of your thesis and explain the underlying rationale
that is the foundation for your claim that one action is better than another.
- Critical thinkers are those who can outline the
positive and negative ethical impacts of their positions. In addition,
they are able to provide a rationale for why they believe a specific
position is the right position, even when it leads to negative outcomes.
- Critical thinkers are also able to be honest and
objective about the limitations and gray areas that pertain to their
Final Research Project Requirements
The Final Research Project may be presented as a formal research paper (essay
format), to a minimum of 10 – 12 pages in APA format (approximately 3,300 –
3,900 typewritten words, excluding title page and reference pages). Written
essays must adhere to all APA formatting standards and requirements.
There must be no more than 15% quoted content in the body of your essay. All
quoted material must bear quotation marks and a full quotation citation.
- There must be 10 or more source documents used, cited,
- Multimedia sources (such as videos) may be used, but no
more than two such sources may be used. If multimedia sources are used,
then they must be authored and distributed by credible sources, such as
universities, law schools, medical schools, or professors, or found in the
Ashford University Library.
- Where print documents are used for source materials,
those must be peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles, and academically
published books. Popular media sources (e.g., newspapers, magazines,
television and radio shows, etc.) may not be used. Materials from advocacy
groups (e.g., Greenpeace, Human Rights Campaign, National Organization for
Women, etc.) may not be used.
- Two of the peer-reviewed scholarly sources used must
include statistical evidence, which must be accurately interpreted.
- Sites such as ProCon.org and Wikipedia should not be
- Religious texts are neither peer-reviewed nor scholarly
and so may not be used in any way.
You must have a summary conclusion as the last paragraph(s) of the project, presenting
the major point of the essay and the evidence supporting that point.
The content body of the project must be 3,300 words or more. The word count
does not include anything in the title page, running header, or reference list.
It is expected that you meet all logistical requirements of this paper.
- The list of references must include only those source
documents that are cited within the body of the project.