Euthanasia will certainly be an appropriate topic. You need to mention the states in which euthanasia and PAS are legal and the current controversy. You also need to read about Dr. Death (Dr. Kervorkian), the Hemlock Society, and Final Exit.
This paper requires that you provide a detailed synthesis of at least five articles related to your topic. You will summarize the main points in each article and explain the ways in which they are similar or differ. You must include paraphrased or verbatim passages from the articles to support your points and present a conclusion for each article in which you summarize the most important point made by the author. You should read several articles related to your topic and select five that exhibit different points of view so you will be prepared to explain various assumptions about the topic. You should select articles written by individuals with ethos, considerable experience or expertise dealing with your topic. You may need to conduct some additional research on the authors to determine if they have the proper background and knowledge on your topic.
The final assignment gives you the opportunity to construct a forceful argument in which you try to persuade your audience to accept your point of view on the controversial issue that you chose. Please refer to the class handouts on the creation of an argument and follow the steps. Your argument must include all three rhetorical appeals: logos, ethos, and pathos, but perhaps the most important one will be logos. You must present facts, figures, statistics, quotations, surveys, interviews, or other information to convince your reader that your view is the most rational approach to this particular topic. You may include examples of your personal observation or experience to support your argument, but you must cast those arguments into third person. You should clearly state your main point in the thesis statement, provide a preview of the topics for your thesis, provide evidence to support each point, and present a memorable conclusion.
You should also include at least two visual documents in an appendix to supplement your main points. The visual documents may include graphs, tables, figures, statistics, or other visual information. Although you may include a photograph in your appendix, it should be included in addition to two other documents that summarize factual or numerical data. Please include a statement in the paper such as “Please refer to Figure 1” so readers can consult the supplemental information. The visual documents should expand on the points made in the paper, note merely repeat the same information. You may want to create your own visual documents using an Excel worksheet and graphs. Please remember to include the most relevant information to persuade your reader. Some students inundate a reader with too much information because they want to impress others with their research, but the most effective papers will include information selected to support your major points.
Your paper should anticipate the most common objections to your view and respond to those objections with logical information. As indicated on the handout for argumentation, you must acknowledge these opposing views with statements such as “On the other hand, some people may oppose this view because” and then briefly state the opposing views so the reader can be assured that you understand all sides of the issue. You should also give careful though to the sequence of your arguments. You will provide three major points in your argument, and you may wish to present the most forceful as the final point as you refute the possible objections of opposing views. Readers and listeners tend to remember the first and final points of any presentation more than the middle section. You may want to incorporate rhetorical devices that you learned in the second paper in your argument to help the reader remember important points. Some of the most forceful rhetorical devices for an argument are parallelism, cultural allusion, juxtaposition anaphora, and chiasmus.
One final note on the argument: please avoid ethnocentrism. One of the most damaging faults of first-year students is that they often assume that everyone thinks the same way as they do. In the modern world with more than 7.2 billion people living in more than 200 countries, you must acknowledge that some of your readers will exhibit different cultural assumptions than you and create an argument that does not rely on these assumptions to be effective. You may also want to solicit feedback from classmates as you work on your argument so they can help you identify any weaknesses in your argument. Although you should include pathos as an appeal in your argument, you must support your arguments with facts, statistics, and logical reasoning and be sure to avoid common logical fallacies.
When you are reading about euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (which are two separate but closely related concepts), make sure that you read about the status in Oregon, Washington, and Vermont and the reasons that these states have made it legal. I know there are a couple of other states in which PAS is currently being considered, but the tide has turned gradually in the past 20 years to more people accepting this action. Also, make sure that you talk about a group called The Hemlock Society and I think it is called Compassion and Choice today. Finally, you should get a copy of Final Exit from the library if possible and read a few pages. This is an important work that favors PAS. Remember that in your research, you will gather information both to support and to oppose this action, but in your final paper (Major Paper 4) you will take a position and argue one or the other. Obviously, you must know both sides so you can present the opposing view and then rebut the opposing view in your argument.