English Composition II
December 1, 2019
Research question: How should ethical concerns direct the choices that people make about
Working thesis statement: For ethical and environmental reasons, people should limit their
beef consumption, and the beef that they do eat should be humanely raised, locally sourced, and
I. Working Thesis in Introduction: For ethical and environmental reasons, people should
limit their beef consumption, and the beef that they do eat should be humanely raised,
locally sourced, and grass-fed.
A. Hook with description statistics on beef consumption.
B. Introduce two concerns: humane treatment, environment
Source: Davis and Lin on statistics on beef consumption in the U.S.
II. Ethical Issues
Comment [SL1]: HiLogan!Thisisaverygoodresearchquestion.Itisrelevant,debatable,andisadequatelyfocusedforapaperofthislength.
Comment [SL2]: Thisisaverywell-constructedthesisstatement.Youtakeaveryclearstanceontheissue,indicatinghowyouplantoargueoneaspectoftheresearchquestion.
A. Animals feel pain
B. CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations)
C. Inhumane treatment of domesticated cattle
Source 1: Grandin and Smith, paragraph 2
Source 2: Pollan on ethical conflicts, paragraphs 32 and 40
III. Environmental Issues
A. Mono-cropping: feed for cattle and transport
B. Manure: contamination, transport, ground water
C. Antibiotics: rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria
Source 1: Lappe on mono-cropping com/soy and production, page 22
Source 2: Sager on manure issues, paragraph 7
Source 3: Palmer on antibiotics, paragraph 12
IV. Health Benefits of Grass-Fed
A. Higher in vitamins A and E and contains half the saturated fat and more omega-3
fatty acids, all of which fight cancer and heart disease
B. Cows are healthier, so their meat is healthier to consume.
C. Note that organic is a separate category.
Source 1: Ruechel on health benefits, page 235
Source 2: Sager on organic note, paragraphs 10-15
V. Environmental Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef
A. Local production is better for the climate
B. Forage is better for the climate than corn/soy
C. Some meat consumption is good for the planet.
Comment [SL3]: Good.Youareindicatingwhichsourcesyouplantouseinsupportofyourdiscussionandhighlightingthespecificpartofthesourcewhichwillbeusedhere.Thishelpsyoutofindexactlywhatyouneedwhenyouarewritingyourfinalpaper.Welldone.
Comment [SL4]: Yourargumentisprogressinginaverylogicalmannersofar.
Source 1: Lappe on climate change, page 11
Source 2: Pollan on local and diverse, end of article
A. Rainforest razing in South America – increases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere
and depletes the ozone layer
B. Travel distance from S. America & Australia is environmentally negative –
depends on fossil fuels
Source 1: Brown and Funk, and Sage, on issues w/grass-fed cattle in the
Source 2: Pollan (and possibly Lappe) on “season” for beef
A. Grass-fed is better on both ethical and environmental grounds, but the real answer
is to eat less beef overall.
B. Emphasizing respect for animals solves ethical dilemmas
Source 1: Pollan on eating less and the ethics of being choosy, paragraph 82
1) Learning to conduct research is important because it is a skill you will use both in
academia and in your professional life. It improves critical thinking and empowers
you to find information for yourself. Consider the process of researching as a whole.
What was the most challenging aspect of the process for you? (2-3 sentences)
Comment [SL5]: Good.Itisimportanttopresentthecounter-argumentsinordertoestablishabalancedperspectiveontheissue.
Comment [SL6]: Excellent.Thissummarizesthemainpointsyouhavemadethroughoutyouressayandtiesthediscussionbacktoyourthesisstatement.
One of the most challenging aspects of researching for me was how much time it took to
find all of the different types of sources for this paper. It was also very difficult to assess
each source and determine whether the information it provided was credible and useful
for my essay. I really thought this would only take an hour or two, but it ended up being a
much more involved process. Now I know that if you want to really learn about an issue,
it takes more than a quick web search for information!
2) The working thesis statement is a proposed answer to your research question. It
should clearly identify a debatable topic and take a position on one side of that topic.
Analyze the effectiveness of your working thesis statement.
My working thesis statement is one sentence that presents one side of a relevant and
debatable argument. In addition, I tried to be as specific as I could. Instead of simply
saying “People should not eat beef” I stated that it was for ethical and environmental
reasons. I offered an alternative for what should be done if people would not avoid beef
completely. I really tried to explain why this issue was important and discuss what could
be done to improve the situation.
3) A detailed outline is an effective tool for laying out the progression of an
argument. It allows you to consider the arrangement and organization of your ideas,
as well as choose places to incorporate outside source materials. Review your
detailed outline and summarize the argument you've presented.
I start by laying out the ethical issues and inhumane treatment of mass-produced cattle
and discuss the environmental concerns of feeding and transporting cattle. I then switch
to discussing the health and environmental benefits of grass-fed, humanely raised beef.
The counterargument outlines a few issues that still exist with grass-fed beef and the
conclusion reiterates that eating grass-fed beef is better but eating less beef is the more
environmentally friendly option. I think that the argument progresses logically in this
way and I think that the information I provided in my introduction and conclusion will be
very helpful in introducing and summarizing the topic.
4) You will use the same topic on three of the remaining Touchstones in this course.
What kind of feedback would be helpful for you? What are specific questions you
might have as you go deeper into the research process?
I’m pretty confident in the information I provided, but I would like additional insight into
the structure of my essay. I think that my outline is clear, but I am not sure if it will make
as much sense to someone who is not as familiar with the topic. I would also like some
guidance on my use of formatting. I tried my best to use APA guidelines, but I’m not as
familiar with these Comment [SL7]: You’vedoneareallygreatjobwiththesethings.Itcanbedifficulttostriketherightbalanceinprovidingenoughinformationinthebibliographyandoutline,butyouhavesummarizedthesourceswellandyouroutlineclearlyshowshowyouplantodevelopyourtopic.Yourformattingisalsoverypreciseandadherestoalltheconventionalguidelines.Verywelldone!
Touchstone 1 Rubric and Feedback
Feedback Score (acceptable, needs improvement etc.)
Your research question is very precise and represents a relevant and debatable topic.
Your working thesis is also very clear and you clearly state which side of the issue you plan to take.
Detailed Outline Your outline is clearly labeled and demonstrates
the logical progression of your argument. You have provided sufficient notes so that the reader can easily see how you plan to use each source to support the discussion in each section. You also include all of the required components.
Your tone is consistent and informative. 5/5
Conventions Your use of English conventions is consistent.
Reflection You thoroughly answer all questions and provide insights, observations, and examples in your responses.
Overall Score and Feedback: 46/50
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