In my English 5, Critical Thinking classes, I often ask students to find opinion-based articles in topic areas of their interest. I ask them to do this, so that they go out into the world and begin to look at topics as debates or discussions that they can then analyze to deepen their understanding of the issue and how each debate is being framed.
So, how do you do this?
To start, you need a general topic area and then narrow by choosing issues that are being debated an interesting to you. Once you have an issue, then start brainstorming the different people who might have different perspectives on an issue. For example:
- Topic: Professional Sports.
- Issues/Questions: How safe is playing football?; Should Division I athletes be paid? Why are professional women’s sports not watched or compensated in the same ways as men?
- Who might be interested in concussions: NFL Players’ Association, NFL owners, parents of high school football players, physicians, etc.
- Topic: Parental Leave for New Parents.
- Issues: How much time should be given to newborn parents to care for their children? How much should stay-at-home parents be paid to care for their child? Who should pay for that time? What are the emotional benefits for children? How does paternity/maternity leave affect the labor market? What do businesses gain (if anything)?
- What are the emotional benefits of parental leave for children? : Parents, educators, child psychologists, managers of employees, human resource experts, etc.
Now that you have some ideas of what issues you’d like to investigate and who might care about them, you can begin exploring library databases and other online forums to find people writing arguments about these topics. In some cases, like the parental leave issue, no one is going to say outright that it’s best for the child NOT to have their parents around for the first year, so you’ll have to think about other ways people ignore this issue or create a different argument to avoid it.
If you need help, please don’t be afraid to ask!