Critical Thinking Papers

Critical thinking papers serve to encourage the development of creativity and critical thinking through writing. Three to four pages in length, these assignments require you to dig deeper into a research article or book chapter related to course topics. For the first critical thinking paper, you will read “A Tale of Two American Cities: Disaster, Class and Citizenship in San Francisco 1906 and New Orleans 2005” by Kroll-Smith and Brown-Jeffy (2013). You can access a pdf copy of this reading by viewing the “Readings for Critical Thinking Papers” folder on the “Course Content” page.

In your critical thinking paper, you will answer the questions posed below. Note: You should paste the questions directly into your paper and write your answers below each one. Do not include extra space before or after the questions—simply list them in bold.

  1. What aspect of social life does the author focus on? What is the author’s main point or argument?
  2. What kind of evidence does the author give to support their point?
  3. How does this reading help you understand a current or personal event?
  4. Can you think of any counterarguments that would contradict/weaken the author’s main argument? Explain.
  5. How does this reading relate what you’ve read/discussed in class so far? Explain.
  6. Did you enjoy the reading? Hate it? Explain. Here is your chance to vent! Tell me why you think this reading is a masterpiece or a disaster.
  7. Come up with one possible discussion question for class. Explain why you think your question is important, and describe how the author addresses/answers/fails to answer your question.

Formatting Guidelines: Use 12pt Times New Roman font, 1″ margins on all sides, double-spaced, and no extra space between paragraphs (search online for directions to remove the paragraph space if you don’t know how). The paper should only have your name in the top-left corner and no title (no date, nothing except your name). Your paper should exhibit clear paragraph structure as well as proper spelling and grammar.