• Write a paper that explores a debated issue (related to your major) from FOUR different perspectives.
  • After beginning the essay with a summary of the issue, discuss and compare and contrast four different stances on the issue.
  • Finally, end the essay with a description of your own personal perspective.


  • Five or more double-spaced pages (over 1,250 words) for the final version; four or more pages (at least 1,000 words) for the draft.
    • Note: There is no such thing as “too much writing” in this collegiate writing course!
  • Include at least seven research studies published in peer-reviewed academic journals.
    • Use the online databases to find at least seven peer-reviewed research studies in academic journals, cited in your IEE.
    • Other unimpeachable sources may be used to provide context (e.g., government statistics, “newspapers of record*”)
  • Follow MLA formatting guidelines:
    • MLA-styled citations throughout, with quotations from your research, alongside explanatory context
    • A properly MLA-formatted “Works Cited” page
    • In the heading, at top right, set up automated page numbers, with your last name, a space, and the page number
    • At top left, put your name, then your instructor’s name, the course name, and the CURRENT date
    • Center your title, in the same font, which should be descriptive and engaging (not “Assignment Name”)
    • Indent the first line of each paragraph
    • Works Cited page in MLA format
    • Underlined thesis statement
    • An appropriate title
    • If you aren’t sure how to set those up, there are thousands of “MLA How to…” tutorials online
  • Save the file name in this format: Your Last Name – Assignment Name – Draft (or Final)(1, 2, or 3…)
  • Submit the Issue Exploration Essay in .pdf format (or .doc/.docx)

*Newspapers of Record are those which are regarded as most reliable and in-depth with the highest editorial standards; they include the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.


  • Learn how to conduct research
  • Learn how to better evaluate sources
  • Learn how to include sources in your writing with proper MLA citation
  • Explore an understanding of multiple perspectives on an issue or question
  • Practice summarizing a debate, including multiple, conflicting viewpoints
  • Analyze multiple viewpoints in an attempt to understand them

How the Essay is Graded

Consider whether your IEE answers these questions well:

  1. Does the summary of the issue provide an objective overview of the issue?
  2. Does it provide enough context for those unfamiliar with the debate to have a solid understanding of the issue?
  3. Does the first sentence invite the reader in effectively?
  4. What does the summary do especially well?
  5. What revisions would most improve the summary?

Four Viewpoints:

  1. Does each viewpoint include a summary/overview?
  2. Does each viewpoint include the integration of sources?
  3. Are the sources set up and discussed effectively?
  4. Is the essay considering the larger issue by considering each issue one at a time, or is it source-by-source*?
  5. Does each viewpoint also include an analysis, a discussion of implications, and/or a connection to the issue as a whole and other viewpoints?
  6. Is the discussion of the four viewpoints presented in an unbiased manner?
  7. What does this section of the paper do especially well?
  8. What revisions would most improve this section of the paper?

Personal Position:

  1. Is the personal position saved for the conclusion ONLY?
  2. Does your peer express his/her view of the issue effectively and clearly?
  3. What does this section of the paper do especially well?
  4. What revisions would most improve this section of the paper?

*Either approach is fine. While considering the viewpoints issue-by-issue may be more difficult, it is often more effective (refer to the studies by the author’s last name: “Smith reports that… Yet, in contrast, Jones states… Meanwhile, Brown’s studies found…”)