This is a detailed assignment for a short documented persuasion paper on the issue of oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The assignment introduces students to research and documentation and also covers essential elements of persuasion - consideration of audience, identifying underlying assumptions and values, arguing a narrowed-down topic, distinguishing between fact and opinion, laying out an argument, and, above all, thinking critically. It guards against plagiarism by requiring prewriting, written planning, notes, and drafts. Following a period of reading and discussion about the drilling issue, students should complete the paper in about one month.
For preliminary reading and discussion I have used Subhankar Banerjee's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life and Land (http://www.mountaineersbooks.org/productdetails.cfm?PC=1277), material obtained from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see http://arctic.fws.gov/issues1.htm#section4), newspaper articles, the films Oil on Ice (http://www.oilonice.org/) and Being Caribou (http://www.beingcaribou.com/beingcaribou/index.html), and other sources. In the computer lab I've also introduced students to pro-drilling sites such as http://www.anwr.org/archives/american_petroleum_institute_supports_anwr.php, as well as the views of the two native villages that would be directly affected by drilling: the Gwich'in in Arctic Village (http://www.gwichinsteeringcommittee.org/) and the Inupiat in Kaktovik (http://www.kaktovik.com/perspectives.html).
I also give students a handout on MLA guidelines and a sample research paper done in MLA format.
As with all of my offerings on this site, this assignment is fully editable/adaptable to your needs.