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WRT 101S - Downtown (Graham) Writing I: B: Controversy in Your Career

For Essay #3: Documented argument

Assignment 1B

What work or professional community do you envision yourself joining in the future?  In this essay, you will have the opportunity to research your area of interest (possible major, targeted job, or potential career) and write a persuasive essay about it.

Assignment: What is a debate currently going on in your field of interest? What controversy is being discussed? Explain the debate and argue for your position. 

Note: This is a summary of your assignment. Please refer to full assignment from your instructor.


MegaSearch - Advanced Search


Finding a controversy in your field

1. Open MegaSearch

2. Enter your occupation in the top box. Search.

3. Copy the string below, and paste it in the 2nd box:

controvers* or debate* or disagree* or ethic*

4. (To the right of this box) Select AB Abstract from the pulldown.

Stage 1: Identify a possible career/occupation to research

Make sure to find out the following facts:

  • How is the career or occupation formally named? Are there different names for the same career?
  • How does it differ from related occupations?  Example:  In nursing, there are RNs and LPNs. What is the difference?

You will use the following library database:  AZCIS: Arizona Career Information Service

  • Note: Before you use this database, you must have a librarian set up an account for you.
  • Then you can use the following links.

Option #1: Do you want to SEARCH FOR A SPECIFIC CAREER?  

  • Click the link above to open the database.
  • Use the Search box (at left).
  • Search for your occupation, and click its link.  Example:  plumber, nurse, real estate
  • Each career has its own web page, with many topics. (See the image below)
  • Explore the topics, especially the ones highlighted in yellow.

Option #2: Do you want to EXPLORE RELATED CAREERS?

  • Click the link above to open the database.
  • Click on a cluster link that interests you.  Example: Education & Training
  • Click on one of the occupations listed   .  Example: Coaches & Scouts
  • Each career has its own web page, with many topics. (See the image below)
  • Explore the topics, especially the ones highlighted in yellow.

A list of topics in every occupation page

Finally, choose a career for your paper, and take some notes.

  • How is the occupation or career is named?
  • How does your career differ from closely related careers? 
    • Example: Radiologist vs. Radiologic Technologist
  • Are there hints about a debate or controversy within your career field?

Bookmark the page, or copy and paste its URL into an email to yourself.

When you are finished, go to Stage 2.


Stage 2: Explore debates or controversies in this field, and choose one.

When you finish this stage, you will have identified a controversy in your career field as your paper's topic.

You will search MegaSearch, which allows you to simultaneously search through 50+ databases for articles and more.  From browsing these articles, you will choose a controversy for your topic.


Career field       Controversy

Should we do more to prevent prescription drug abuse among nurses?

Real estate sales   What is the the agent's responsibility for warning buyers not to become over-indebted?


Before you begin, review ALL the directions below, including the sample search.

  • Follow the sample search below. Of course, you will be searching for your career.


Sample Search:  I want to be a fashion model.  What is a controversy or debate in this field?

Note: Unless you want to be a fashion model, too, you'll want to substitute a keyword or phrase for your occupation!

In the top box, enter a word of phrase for your career.  Then click Search.

  • Enclose a phrase in "quotation marks"
  • Use an asterisk* as a wildcard to find different endings.  Example:  model* will find any of these words: model, models, or modeling.

Now we want to focus on items that contain keywords that signal a controversy.

  • controversy  controversies
  • debate         debates
  • disagree       disagreements
  • ethic             ethical

To find all variants of these words, we add wildcards (asterisks*) to the stem of the word.

In the second search box, type in the following: 

controvers* or debate* or disagree* or ethic*

NOTE: These keywords will work just fine for your search, too.

Before you search, click the pull-down menu (to the right of this search box).

  • Select AB Abstract       NOTE:  You should do this, too.
  • Now, click Search.



Now, click here to open a hidden tab.  It shows you how to review items and email articles to yourself.

After this, you'll be ready to search for a controversy.



Join the Conversation!

What are news sites saying about your career or occupation? News often focuses on controversies..

Stage 3: Develop your thesis and argument

Once you have identified a controversy, work with your instructor to develop a provisional thesis and argument.  "Provisional" means that it is a "working" argument that may be revised if new information turns up.

Controversy:  [Can you state the disagreement in the form of a question?]

  • Example:  Should under-age models be allowed in fashion modeling for major labels?
  • Remember: you need to explain the controversy to your readers before they can understand your argument.

Thesis:  [In a persuasive paper, your thesis is your position on the controversial question.]

  • Example: No, under-age models should not be allowed to work for major labels. Appropriate legislation is needed.

Argument: [What are the main reasons for accepting your thesis?]

  • Example
    • Under-age models don't have the maturity to manage in such a cut-throat business, as examples prove.
    • The fashion industry is built upon attracting more attention than the competition.  If teenage models become accepted, what will be the next move to gain attention?

  • Deal with opposing arguments: What arguments has the other side made?  What objections will your readers likely raise?
    • Shouldn't the young models and their parents be allowed to decide?
    • Doesn't the fashion industry have its own ethical and labor standards that govern this? Are new laws necessary?

Once you have a provisional argument. You can search for information to support each point in your argument.

Now see the directions in the box below.

Stage 4: Find information that helps you: 1) explain the debate/controversy; 2) support your argument; 3) deal with opposing arguments.

To find sources that support the points of your argument, you can search MegaSearch in a more targeted way.

Here is a strategy:

Let's say I'm looking at the danger of being injured as a firefighter My basic search looks like this:

(The asterisks are wildcards that pick up variant endings: firefighter or firefighers;    injury or injuries

I find 223,000 items that mention both concepts.

Now I can focus the search to find specific supporting sources.  I use the third search box.

Search 1:  Add statistics to the third box:   I find 11,000 things.

Search 2:  Replace statistics with burn*:  I find 75,000 things.

Search 3: Instead of burn, add: training: I find 31,000 things.

Notice that you can add more search boxes.  Just click the Add Row link, to the right of the search boxes.

Now click for a hidden tab that shows how to limit your search to scholarly sources

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