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Ethical Issues Debate Project: Guidelines and Content Checklist


This project is to be done in groups of four. Each team will take opposing viewpoints regarding an ethical issue that they will have to debate; two members who are `for` a particular issue and two members who is `against` it. 
Purpose and guidelines: 
Ethical issues will be debated throughout the semester. In order to develop critical thought about such matters, you are to each submit one 1000-1500-word essay about an ethical issue of your choice- therefore each group is to submit 4 separate papers (one for each member, each graded separately). In each group of 4, 2 members should research their “pro stance” and the other 2 members should research their “con stance”. Individual research papers will be preparatory for the live in-class debate. In other words, the main points of your paper will be reflecting in the arguments you will debate in class against the opposing team. 
You must confirm your ethical issue with your instructor.  
Groups will be presenting their debates in interactive PowerPoint presentations to the class.  
Content checklist: 
1)Introduce the ethical issue and the debate surrounding it. You will need to present he viewpoint on each side of the argument(s). Use factual information from your research. Make sure you are not merely stating an opinion your arguments must need to be backed up with proven facts, not opinions or assumptions. This link can give you guidelines on credible sourcing: 
2)A conclusion: write about your experience doing the project- what did you learn? What was easy or difficult?  
3)Back it up with at least 3 individual arguments to defend your position on the issue, and 6 in total to be debated with your teammate against the other 2 members of your group. Make sure your arguments do not overlap. It will be important to work 
with your teammates on this, as you need to make sure not to double up on positions. Why did this point of view `win you over`?  

It is very important to have a good perspective of the debate and to identify what the key arguments are.  It isn’t enough to rebut a few random arguments here and there.  Of course the techniques used above are invaluable but they must be used appropriately.  There are a number of things you should do to systematically break down a team’s case:   
1.Ask yourself how the other side have approached the case. Is their methodology flawed?  
2.Consider what tasks the other side set themselves (if any) and whether they have in fact addressed these.   
3.Consider what the general emphasis of the case is and what assumptions it makes. Try to refute these.   
Take the main arguments and do the same thing.  It is not worth repeating a point of rebuttal that has been used by someone else already, but you can refer to it to show that the argument has not stood up.  It is not necessary to correct every example used.  You won’t have time and your aim is to show the other side’s case to be flawed in the key areas. 

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