Prompt: Research Paper on Poverty in the United States
We are in the middle of discussing the idea of “poverty” and reading works by a variety of writers who have their own thoughts about the matter—what poverty is, what causes poverty, what the impacts of poverty are, and, most importantly, how we might be able to work to alleviate poverty. For instance, DESMOND makes a link between eviction policy and poverty that has previously not been considered. It is time that we joined this debate.
Your job for this, our second major essay, is to:
A) Research poverty in the United States generally, including what causes poverty, what impacts it is having, and what we are doing to alleviate it.
B) Write an essay in which you suggest and detail your OWN original idea about how we might deal with ONE SPECIFIC ASPECT OF poverty that is either a) a variation on a plan that is currently being implemented or b) your own completely original idea.
Keep in mind the following as you work, that SOLUTIONS to major social or economic problems usually come in ONE of four forms:
1. You can suggest a change in the law or in policies, such as by supporting raising the minimum wage.
2. You can suggest raising awareness and educating people, such as by encouraging large corporations to recognize that constantly changing work schedules is very difficult for low-income workers and makes them feel even more “unstable.”
3. You can help to found an organization or a non-profit—an NGO: “non-governmental organization—to provide a service not otherwise available. For instance, some organizations exist now to provide CHILD CARE to low-income parents so that they can work and not have to offset their earnings by hiring a babysitter.
4. You can develop a new type of technology or consumer product that might help alleviate poverty. For instance, the SMART PHONE that we all rely on has been a very important tool in helping to alleviate poverty, as it gives many poor people access to critical information that they might not otherwise have. Take a look at this article, for instance, if you don’t believe me:
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/poverty-smartphone_uk_5dcd260ee4b0d43931cfcabb?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAErC20uLfcqoe994pltarm2HQOAWwuzxjeT0sa7PswbigC-yQMrsnBJS_1LHHX3FRG8ktH8kKhSwxwJ9TA0IAR1WW-THwKrpmxnBtuAnQ3YYkBsz7sI905wyHqpPO-kT9XVWQW-xwmclcdN0eCz7hqAwb73abtDVwVt9bp3TWHEZ (Links to an external site.)
• The paper must be between 2200 – 2500 words long. (Include a word count near the top of page 1, please).
• The paper needs to be in MLA format and a Works Cited page is necessary. You must include a variety of sources, including at least ONE newspaper article, ONE “scholarly” article, and ONE source for statistics / basic facts on poverty released by the United States government.
• The paper needs to carefully follow the mandatory outline below.
• You need to quote at least FOUR of the articles listed on your Works Cited page using the classic “quote sandwich” technique in which you lead-into the quote with context information, such as the author’s name, and follow the quote with an in-text citation in MLA format and commentary about how the quote relates to your larger point. In addition, you are encouraged to quote from any of the articles we have read in class. However, these will not count towards your total of four articles that you need to quote.
• The paper needs to make multiple and frequent use of relevant cause-and-effect words, such as “because,” “impacts,” and “makes.” Further, every time you use these terms they must be in bold. A minimum of SIX uses is required. Please count these for me and list the number near your name on the rough and final drafts.
• The paper needs to go through a writing process, meaning that you need to do pre-writing, brainstorming, and a draft review stage, all before the final draft is due.
• INTRODUCTION: The introduction to the paper should begin with a HOOK that helps you engage the reader and make clear just how bad the problem of poverty in the United States is. It should go on to give some general background by a) defining what poverty is and b) summarizing a variety of sources that explain what factors are causing poverty and what we are doing to alleviate it. You should end your introduction by focusing on a SPECIFIC and NARROW ELEMENT of poverty, such as the “health impacts” of poverty or on “lack of access to education” and suggesting that you have come up with a way to deal with that narrow and specific problem.
• LITERATURE REVIEW: The next part of the paper should be a literature review in which you try to summarize what others have said about this NARROW AND SPECIFIC aspect of poverty that you are now focusing on. For instance, if you’ve narrowed your focus to the issue of FOOD STAMPS, you should try to summarize all of the different ideas and opinions about food stamps that you can find. This section should begin with this sentence, or one very similar to it: “We are currently trying to deal with this problem in a variety of ways.”
• PROPOSAL: Next, you need to present your own original solution to the problem OR a variation on a currently-implemented solution to the problem that you think would work better. This should take you 500 words or more in which you might a) name your solution, b) go into detail about what the solution would do and why it work better than what is currently available to the poor, and c) discuss practical details such as how the solution would be funded, what political opposition there might be to the idea, and so on. This section should begin with this sentence, or one very similar to it: “My solution, which I will outline below, is more likely to work than these other attempts for a variety of reasons.”
• CONCESSION/REFUTATION: Next, you need to present a concession and a refutation to your proposal in which you consider at least two different reasons why a reasonable person might not agree that your proposal is best and then refute that position by offering good arguments as to why that “reasonable person” would likely be wrong. This section should begin with this sentence, or one very similar to it: “Some might argue that my solution may not work, for a variety of reasons.”
• CONCLUSION: Finally, you should conclude your paper by doing all of the usual things one expects in a conclusion: panning to the horizon, appealing to the audience, and some capping irony.
A rubric is also attached to this assignment. Please make sure to read the rubric as I will be using it to grade your paper.
Some Rubric (1)
Some Rubric (1)
Criteria Ratings Pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome Basic Prompt Requirements
To earn credit here, the paper needs to meet the basic prompt requirements, including meeting the minimum word count, including a proper MLA Works Cited page, following the mandatory outline, and quoting from at least FOUR sources.
15.0 to >0.0 pts
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The Introduction
To earn credit here, the introduction needs to follow the prompt outline for the “introduction,” which includes providing background on: the definition of poverty, what factors cause poverty, and what, in general, we are doing to alleviate poverty. The section also needs to be professional, which means that it needs to be in MLA format, contain few grammar or mechanical errors, and be stylistically appropriate for a college-level paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The Literature Review
To earn credit here, the literature review needs to follow the prompt outline for the “literature review,” which includes summarizing the major opinions and ideas related to whatever narrow focus the writer has decided upon. The section also needs to be professional, which means that it needs to be in MLA format, contain few grammar or mechanical errors, and be stylistically appropriate for a college-level paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The Proposal
To earn credit here, the proposal needs to follow the prompt outline for the “proposal,” which includes offering a specific plan to help solve whatever narrow issue the writer has decided to focus upon. The more specific, the more points! The section also needs to be professional, which means that it needs to be in MLA format, contain few grammar or mechanical errors, and be stylistically appropriate for a college-level paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The Concession/Refutation
To earn credit here, the concession/refutation section needs to follow the prompt outline for the “concession/refutation,” which includes offering at least two possible concession ideas and refuting both using analysis and empirical evidence (if possible). The section also needs to be professional, which means that it needs to be in MLA format, contain few grammar or mechanical errors, and be stylistically appropriate for a college-level paper.
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome The Conclusion
To earn credit here, the conclusion needs to follow the prompt outline for the “conclusion,” which includes some panning to the horizon, some appeal to the audience, and some capping irony at the end. The section also needs to be professional, which means that it needs to be in MLA format, contain few grammar or mechanical errors, and be stylistically appropriate for a college-level paper.
Total Points: 75.0
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