Question Description


  1. Is there a meaning to life? If so, what is it?
  2. What benefits does art provide society? Does art hurt society in any way?
  3. Is humanity headed in the right or wrong direction?


  1. Is it possible for a human to fathom the true depths of reality and existence?
  2. Why do we resist doing things that we know are good for our well-being while craving things that are detrimental to our well-being?


  1. Is justice a human construct or is it independent of humans?
  2. Should there be limitations on the right to free speech?


  1. If you could start a country from scratch, what would it be like?
  2. Would the world be a better or worse place if everyone looked the same?
  3. What causes the most harm in the world, but is completely avoidable?
  4. What should the role of a government be, what boundaries and limitations should it have?


  1. Is technological advancement a net positive or a net negative?
  2. Is technological progress inevitable as long as humans exist or can it be stopped?
  3. Assume that in the future there will be huge leaps in human augmentation. Given a scale from completely human to completely machine, how far would you choose to augment yourself with robotics? What parts would you augment and why? What parts would you not augment and why?

Research Essay Description

POINT VALUE: 100 Points


LENGTH: 3-5 pages of text (excluding title page and works cited/references page)

FORMAT/FONT: Follow M.L.A. style, (1” margins, double-spaced, 12 font)

SOURCES: Three sources minimum are required, but no more than five are allowed, to not equal more than 20% of the essay. I want this assignment to be an opinion paper marked by your intellectual evaluation of the individual leader. I don’t want to read textbook interpretations…I want your evaluation. Essays loaded with more than 20% source documentation will be severely penalized in points received. This essay isn’t about sources—it’s about your interpretation of a leader. Use your source properly—just not excessively!


THE DEPTH OF YOUR ANALYSIS. In other words, discuss specifics and wrestle with them. Dig down under the surface and analyze details. Most body paragraphs (aside from the intro and conclusion) should have P.I.E: POINT (a topic sentence that states the main idea of your paragraph) · ILLUSTRATION (an example or bit of proof, make sure any quotations are cited from the text using MLA guidelines) · EXPLANATION (your reasoning). In general, you should state your point in a sentence, the proof in a sentence or two (make sure you cite examples from the text using MLA or MLA guidelines), and then give your explanation in several sentences.

SAVE YOUR WORK OFTEN & IN MULTIPLE PLACES. I know that you have heard this before, but do not let yourself fall victim to a crashed hard-drive or bad flash drive. The assignment is due when the assignment is due and it will be on you to take proper precautions with your work.

TYPE YOUR DRAFTS AND FINAL VERSIONS. Word processors catch most spelling mistakes and typos and make revision painless. Use twelve-point Times New Roman (or a similar font), double-spaced, with one-inch margins.

CREATE A TITLE for your work that makes the reader curious about your essay. (“Essay 1” is a poor title.) Include a title page to MLA standard.

WRITE FIRST, EDIT LAST. After you are satisfied with the content of your essay, edit your essay for grammar and style. Begin the writing process early so that you have time to revise & perfect your paper. You will amaze yourself, when given adequate time to write the paper, at how well you can craft an essay. Do not save the paper for the night before the due date! A rushed paper is obvious to the grader and is often riddled with multiple mistakes.

TURN YOUR WORK IN ON TIME. It’s hard enough to write a good essay without working against yourself worrying about the deadline. Late essays will NOT be accepted— you will receive a zero for that grade.

WORKS CITED OR REFERENCE PAGE. Follow the MLA guidelines. The works cited page or reference page will be fairly short in this length of the essay, but it will give you practice in how to follow the MLA style. This should be the last page of the paper.


When I evaluate your essay, I will consider your focus (thesis), analysis (how well you explain and analyze your subject), organization (how the pieces fit together), strength of proof (persuasiveness), ingenuity (novelty of approach), rhetorical awareness (the effectiveness of your essay given its context), style (tone/word choice), and mechanics (grammar and spelling). More specifically:

An “A” essay needs to have an introduction that engages the reader, an innovative thesis, a forecasting statement, a purposeful structure, in-depth analysis in the form of extended PIE paragraphs, perfect or near-perfect use of mechanics, a mix of sentence structures, and accurate, college-level vocabulary. Your essay also needs to match or stretch beyond the assignment and demonstrate a purposeful use of tone and style. The essay uses high-quality sources effectively and appropriately in number and content.

A “B” essay needs to have an introduction, a conclusion, a discernible thesis, a forecasting statement, a purposeful structure, multiple examples and associated analysis (PIE paragraphs), appropriate tone and style, good use of mechanics, and a mix of sentence structures. The essay also needs to match the assignment. Sources documented are good quality and adequate in number.

A “C” essay needs to have an introduction, a conclusion, a discernible thesis, and a coherent structure. The body paragraphs need to have at least minimal discussion and examples. The essay needs to adhere to the assignment and demonstrate an adequate use of mechanics. A minimal standard of source documentation is achieved.

A “D” essay fails to satisfy one or more expectations for a “C” essay. There is an incorrect or inadequate use of source material.

An “F” essay completely misinterprets the assignment, contains severe problems with mechanics, or is too short. A NOTE ABOUT GRAMMAR: College writing requires the use of Standard Written English. If your essay contains multiple mistakes per page, your essay will be marked down a letter grade. If your essay is riddled with mistakes (you have multiple mistakes per paragraph), your essay will receive an “F.” In other words, you will need to compose your essays in standard written English.