Instructions for Critical Papers
I want you to imagine that a friend has found out you’re taking a biomedical ethics course and expressed an interest in one of the assigned topics, for example the
Willowbrook case, Han Jonas’ article, or the debate between the Hellmans and Eugene Passamani, etc, and they asked you about the things you’ve been reading about it in
class and what do you think about the issue. Think of the critical essays as your thoughtful response to your friend’s inquiry.
The first thing you need to do is pick a topics for and decide what you’re going to say about it.
I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist so I always like so see a good beginning, middle and an end. I will now go through the basic structure I’m looking for.
Your introduction should provide three important pieces of information:
1. What is the topic?
2. Why is it important/interesting?
3. What are you going to say about it?
Since your friend has not read the assigned readings on the topic you chose you are going to have to provide a summary of the issue and an account of what the assigned
authors have so say about it. Provide a summary of the important points raised by they author(s) so your friend will be able to follow the discussion. Once you have
provided this foundation I want to see you dig in and critically evaluate what the authors have to say about the topic. What did you like and/or dislike, did if find
it convincing or not and, most importantly, I want to know your reasons for accepting/rejecting what they have to say.
What I basically want you to do is convince me that you understand the issue, what the authors have to say about it, that you have evaluated it critically and that you
have a thoughtful position on the issue. I want you to try to convince me you’re right about the issue.
Provide a nice summary, tie up any loose ends, draw your conclusion and your done.
What am I Looking For?
I am absolutely NOT looking for the CORRECT answer to the question. Whatever position you take will have no bearing on your grade.
I will look very carefully at your presentation of the author’s views. Do you have a solid grasp of what they are saying? Are you providing an accurate and respectful
summary of their main points?
I will also look very carefully at your analysis. Do you address the issues raised by the summary? Do you demonstrate a solid grasp of the issues raised? Do you
provide reasons for what you say? Do you provide reasons for why I should agree with you?
OBVIOUSLY thing like spelling and grammar are also very important, you are trying to impress your friend that you know what you’re talking about and you lose
credibility if you make those kinds of mistakes.
Papers should be about 4 to 5 pages double-spaced and are due as email attachments on Friday, March 8. 2013.
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