|SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER MATERIALS
1. SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY - APA STYLE - Brittanie Perez (Holy Names, 2009)
TOPIC: Gay Marriage
Bidstrup, S. (2004). Gay marriage: the arguments and the motives. Retrieved March 2, 2009, from http://www.bidstrup.com/marriage.htm
Cline, A. (2009). Common arguments against gay marriage: moral and religious arguments. Retrieved March 5, 2009, from http://atheism.about.com/od/gaymarriage/p/ContraGayMarria.htm
Kinsley, M. (2003, July 3). Abolish marriage. In D.U. Seyler (Ed.), Read, reason, write: an argument text and reader (8th ed.) (pp. 574-576). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Masci, D. (2008, April 24). An argument against same-sex marriage: an interview with Rick Santorum. The pew forum on religious and public life. Retrieved March 4, 2009, from http://pewforum.org/events/?EventID=180
Schiffren, L. (1996, March 23). Gay marriage, an oxymoron. In D.U. Seyler (Ed.), Read, reason, write: an argument text and reader (8th ed.) (pp. 579-581). New York: McGraw-Hill.
Sullivan, A. (2003, June 30). The conservative case for gay marriage. In D.U. Seyler (Ed.), Read, reason, write: an argument text and reader (8th ed.) (pp. 577-578). New York: McGraw-Hill.
About the articles:
I can use Bidstrup’s article because it shows arguments from both points of views. I liked this article mostly because it gives beliefs of why people are against gay marriage, which I find interesting.
Cline’s article can be useful in my essay because it shows religious views of why people oppose gay marriage, which can bring a better understanding in detail to why people oppose same sex marriage.
Kinsley’s article can be helpful because it talks about a solution to make both parties happy. It is also a very interesting and rare solution.
Masci’s interview can be helpful because it is an interview with a gay man, which I can use quotes from easily for support.
Schiffren’s article is a counterargument to the side I am choosing to take, so I can use it as contrast to my view.
Sullivan’s article fully supports the side I am taking in this controversy. From this article I am planning on using the part that discusses how other countries let homosexuals have their freedom in getting married and being able to actually call it marriage and compare it to the decision of the opposite in the United States.
2. SAMPLE ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY - MLA STYLE - Mai L (Merritt, 2010)
Clifford, Stephanie. “Growth Overseas Lifts Wal-Mart Profit.” nytimes.com. New York Times. 16 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
This piece provides the profit of Wal-Mart stores in both U.S and others countries and how the increase in sales of those overseas helps Wal-Mart. I am going to use this statistic in the introduction for the part that they expand their companies to other countries.
Fishman, Charles. The Wal-Mart Effect. Penguin Group, 2006. Print.
This book contains the history of Wal-Mart, the strategies leading to its success as well as the pros and cons on that matter. It’s good for my introduction and the body paragraph. In fact, it will be my main source.
Greenhouse, Steven. “The Nation; Wal-Mart, Driving Workers and Supermarkets Crazy.” nytimes.com. New York Times. 19 Oct. 2003. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
This article is about how Wal-Mart closes down other businesses and how Wal-Mart’s expansion may affect the worker. I will use that information to back up the ideas why Wal-Mart is bad for people and businesses.
Holt, Tony. “Wal-Mart Profits Rise: Is That Good Or Bad?” Hernandotoday.com. Hernando Today. 20 February 2009. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
This article briefly presents the pros and cons from different well-known people about Wal-Mart. I am going to use those anti-Wal-Mart opinions for my papers.
Kirklin, Paul. “The Ultimate pro-WalMart Article.” Misses.org. Misses Daily. 28 June 2006 Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
This is an article supporting Wal-Mart. I will use one quote in this piece for the history of Wal-Mart and how the strategy was build.
National Labor Committee. “Alert: Human Trafficking and Gross Worker Rights Violation Continue Under U.S Jordan Free Trade Agreement.” nlcnet.org. Alert. 15 Sept. 2008. Web. 20 Nov. 2010.
This piece includes the number and statistic relating to Wal-Mart exploitation of workers which will be used for anti-Wal-Mart arguments in my paper.
“Wal-Mart: Good or bad for America?” MSNBC’s Tucker show hosted by Tucker Carlson. 23 November, 2006. Television.
One of Tucker’s claims is that low wages and closed businesses don’t seem to stem from Wal-Mart; people have to take into account other reasons. This piece will be used for that pro purpose.
3. SAMPLE OUTLINE - Chris C (Holy Names, 2003)
TOPIC: The Effect of Technology on Youth’s Driving Habits
New technological advancements and their effect on driving habits has become a major debate topic throughout the years. Such items brought upon the huge American consumer market are: Radar detectors, cellular phones and highly efficient unleaded gasoline engines. Many believe that with certain regulations of the use of some of these technological breakthroughs driving habits will become slightly improved, whereas the opposing side are more liberal stating that the use of objects while driving is completely safe and non-hazardous.
-The commentary, “Come on - do radar detectors really work anymore?” by Driver4t5 emphasizes the positive views of radar detector use. Many have been proven very effective saving people’s lives and money for speed related tickets.
-Morally, since this is the United States of America and the moto is ‘the land of the free,’ people should thus be guaranteed to the right of liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The allowance of the use of these items while driving should be our inevitable right!
III. Con Arguments
- The article, “Speed limit rhetoric plays fast and loose with facts.” by Fumento, Michael. This is strictly against the use of such objects claiming that they distract important attention away from where sight should be focused; the road ahead. The loss of a national speed limit would definitely allow for many to take advantage of the added governmental leeway.
- “Investigation of the use of Mobile Phones While Driving” by Cain, A. & Burris, M. Strong compliance with state laws and regulations regarding the use of cellular devices while driving is the issue at hand within this article.
IV. Moderate Arguments
- “Let the going get tough - we have our SUVs” by Fraser, Ronald R. This argument does not choose a side. It basically states the benefits of technology’s effect on driving habits as not being harmful, although it can be harmful if the privilege is taken advantage of.
-It all comes down to how safe people decide they want to drive. Educational courses are provided by many driving schools to inform those risk-takers of the possibilities resulting from the abused of valued privileges.
My views, as a result of interpreting many informative articles, sides with the ‘moderate arguments.’ Knowing many teenagers myself, I recognize that at almost every opportunity they get to break national street and highway rules in their technologically advanced vehicles, they do so. Current laws are strong enough, therefore the government should not place further overbearing rules upon the drivers. The drivers should understand that if they get caught breaking the law, they will not be let off easily. Disciplinary action must take place, but how far?
4. SAMPLE OUTLINE - Lisha K (Merritt, 2005)
a) Definition and Description of Euthanasia
b) Types of Euthanasia, when they are used
c) My thesis
B. Individual perspective
a) Pro Views-Thought of those patients who don’t want to suffer the pain
b) Anti Views-Thought of those patients who want to be the survivor
c) My Views
C. Family perspective
a) Pro Views-Thought of Terry’s husband who support the Euthanasia
b) Anti Views-Thought of Terry’s family who don’t support the Euthanasia
c) My views
D. Doctor’s right
a) Pro Views-Those physicians who wants to make patient comfortable
b) Anti Views-Those physicians who wants to save the people’s life
c) My views
E. Legal perspective
a) Religious & Oregon Law
b) Other state’s law in US
F. Conclusion comments
a) Restate my thesis
b) Personal experience that relate to the serious illness
c) My recommendation
5. SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER - Lawrence Davis (Merritt, 2014)
TOPIC: Global Warming
Global warming is an extremely controversial issue and has become a major topic of debate over the past few decades. Some believe that humans are responsible for global warming, while others believe that humans are not involved, and global warming is due to earth's natural processes. Some have no opinion on the subject: they are neutral, choose to ignore the issue completely, are skeptical of both sides of the argument or are not convinced by either.
Did humans cause the recent rise in global temperature? It is very hard to know. We trust scientists to give us correct, unbiased information and conclusions. However, what happens when scientists are in dispute? Which side do we choose? This is where we are currently at. There are well-respected scientists on both sides of the debate.
Why fear global warming? What harm could an increase in a few degrees do? The temperature outside fluctuates 20°F day to night! That small amount actually has an enormous effect on climate. A common misconception is that global warming does not exist since in some areas temperatures have not increased or have even gotten colder. Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of the entire globe. Since global warming changes the climate, and sometimes creates extreme weather, some places might experience colder temperatures. 'Climate change' and 'global warming' have become synonymous recently, however there is a difference. “The term 'climate change' refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer” (EPA). Climate change also includes global cooling, though right now we are experiencing global warming.
Recently, there has been a significant amount of climate-change. Worldwide there has been glacial retreat, decreased snow cover, declining arctic sea ice, and shrinking ice sheets. Greenland lost 36 to 60 cubic miles of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost 36 cubic miles of ice between 2002 and 2005 (NASA). To put that in perspective, the average ocean depth is 2.7 miles, with the deepest part at 6.9 miles (NOAA). Yes, water increases in volume when it freezes (by 1.09 times), so 2.7 cubic miles of ice would be about 2.5 cubic miles of water, and 36 cubic miles of ice would only be 33 cubic miles of water. This is a significant amount of water, so much that “global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. The rate in the last decade, however, is nearly double that of the last century” (NASA). Considering that “each of the last three decades has been successively warmer at the Earth’s surface than any preceding decade since 1850”, and “in the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years” (IPCC), it is not a stretch to think that ice melt is caused by increased global temperature.
Another effect of this seemingly small temperature rise is the increase of extreme weather events: “The number of record high temperature events in the United States has been increasing, while the number of record low temperature events has been decreasing, since 1950. The U.S. has also witnessed increasing numbers of intense rainfall events” (NASA).
The most popular argument for those supporting the man-made global warming (anthropogenic global warming) theory is the correlation between rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and rising global temperature over the past century and a half. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a gas produced in the burning of fossil fuels, such as petroleum (what gasoline is made from), coal, and natural gases, methane for example (Lindeburgh). We have known about carbon dioxide's ability to hold heat for a long time: “The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century” (NASA). Humans began emitted considerable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere during the industrial revolution. Coal replaced wood because of its higher energy density, allowing large scale production of iron (Page). The world has been burning fossil fuels ever since. Today, coal is the energy source for almost half of all electricity production in the United States (EIA). The vast majority of cars run on combustible fuel (Baumgartner). In 2010, the number of cars worldwide surpassed one billion (wardsauto). It is not surprising that “carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times” (IPCC).
Concerning temperature rise, “the average surface temperature of the Earth has risen 1.4°F over the past century” (EPA). Looking at the trends side by side – temperature rise and carbon dioxide levels – they match up rather well. As Al Gore puts it, in reference to graphs of the two trends together, “When there's more CO2 in the atmosphere, the temperature increases.”
However, carbon dioxide is not the only heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere. There are multiple greenhouse gases (gases that have long lasting heat-trapping properties). Those of most concern are: methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and, of course, carbon dioxide (CO2). Both nitrous oxide and methane follow the historic pattern of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: “Global atmospheric concentrations of CO2, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial values” (IPCC). Could these other greenhouse gasses play a significant role?
Some consider methane to be the most threatening greenhouse gas. Who is the culprit of methane production? Surprisingly, “the world's 1.5 billion cattle are most to blame. Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together” (Lean). The significance of this is that “the global warming potential of CH4 [(methane)] is known to be 23 times more than that of carbon dioxide” (Grobler). In other words, “methane [is] a greenhouse gas [more than] 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide” (Wood). However, “the impact of 1 pound of N2O, on warming the atmosphere is over 300 times that of 1 pound of carbon dioxide” (EPA). Perhaps methane and nitrous oxide are most responsible for the global temperature increase. This might be the case, considering that “[s]ince the start of the industrial era in 1750, the global average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased by 41%, methane by 160% and nitrous oxide by 20%” (WMO). In the article "Getting Serious About The New Realities Of Global Climate Change" appearing in Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists (2013), the author suggest that “[d]iplomats must work harder on pollutants other than carbon dioxide … New science shows that soot and short-lived climate pollutants actually cause almost half of current global warming much more than thought just a few years ago” (Burney). However, the reason why you hear so much about CO2 in the news, is that it is the greenhouse gas that humans currently emit the most: “In 2012, CO2 accounted for about 82% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from human activities” (EPA).
There has been some debate about the role of the sun in global warming, whether it could be responsible for the substantial climate change. NASA claims that solar activity has had an effect on climate in the past. The Little Ice Age (a period of cooling between 1650 and 1850) was most likely caused by a decrease in solar activity. “But several lines of evidence show that current global warming cannot be explained by changes in energy from the sun: Since 1750, the average amount of energy coming from the sun either remained constant or increased slightly. If the warming were caused by a more active sun, then scientists would expect to see warmer temperatures in all layers of the atmosphere. Instead, they have observed a cooling in the upper” (NASA).
According to the Occam's Razor principle, the correlation between temperature rise and greenhouse gas increase since the industrial revolution is the simplest model for global warming, and therefore, most likely the correct model for global warming. It is a strong argument for why global temperatures are increasing. That being said, there are many who disagree with this model.
The theory of humans as the cause of global warming has been criticized from many different angles. Climate models have received the most scrutiny, being questioned about their accuracy. Past models have made predictions that turned out to be false by a large margin: “Citing climate experts, the British government-funded BBC, … [ran] a now-embarrassing article on December 12, 2007, under the headline: 'Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013’'” (Newman). In A. Parker's 2014 article “Global Temperatures May Not Increase By 4°C By The End Of This Century” appearing in Current Science, the author describes the absurdity of current climate models: “After the clear failure of climate models to predict the temperature for the past, present and near future, … surprisingly rather than reducing the modeled dependence of temperature gradients to the carbon dioxide emissions, already overrated predictions are made more and more overrated and more and more unrealistic” (Parker). Norman Paterson, former chairman of the Geophysics Committee, criticizes the global warming models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who's assessments are considered to be the most accurate and comprehensive in the field: “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and others have in some cases been shown to be incorrect and contrary to current temperature statistics” (Paterson). Also, in their article “An Evaluation Of Decadal Probability Forecasts From State-Of-The-Art Climate Models” appearing in Journal Of Climate (2013), the authors assert that “[w]hile state-of-the-art models of Earth’s climate system have improved tremendously over the last 20 years, nontrivial structural flaws still hinder their ability to forecast the decadal dynamics of the Earth system realistically.”
Others argue that global warming is a naturally occurring, self-regulating process of the earth. Climatologist Roy Spencer, AMSR-E Science Team leader at NASA and author of Great Global Warming Blunder : How Mother Nature Fooled The World's Top Climate Scientists, states in his book that “the climate system is much less sensitive to our greenhouse gas emissions than the experts claim it to be” (xi), and that “the climate system itself is probably responsible for most of the warming we have seen in the last 100 years or so. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a change in the sun or a volcanic eruption or pollution by humankind to cause global warming or cooling. Climate change is simply what the climate system does” (xii). Spencer makes an analogy between human body temperature and global temperature, that “the body has a thermostatic control mechanism that keeps its temperature right around 98.6 deg. F.” (xiv), the same way that the earth has a self-regulating temperature system. The carbon cycle might play a large roll in this regulating system: “Ocean deposits are by far the biggest sink of carbon on the planet. Owing to its large reservoir of reactive carbon and the long timescale of its turnover, the ocean effectively controls atmospheric CO2 levels on the time scale of millennia” (Indiana.edu).
Norman Paterson, in his 2011 article "Global Warming: A Critique Of The Anthropogenic Model And Its Consequences" appearing in Geoscience Canada, makes the argument that geological records reveal that temperature increases have historically always come before increases in carbon dioxide, not after; “the warming could potentially cause the CO2 increase, but not the reverse.” He hypothesizes that “there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature; for example, levels of CO2 were more than twice present day values at 180 Ma, at a time when temperature was several degrees cooler.”
Perhaps the theory of human-caused global warming has been hyped and accentuated by organizations for personal benefit. The controversy creates “a surge of media coverage and consequent public interest and anxiety” (Paterson). Also, “tens of thousands of interested persons benefit directly from the global warming scare--at the expense of the ordinary consumer. Environmental organizations – such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club, and the Environmental Defense Fund--have raked in billions of dollars” (Singer).
From my personal experience, people who are sworn to the idea that global warming is man-made generally get their information from the news, or some secondary or third party source. Anything other than the source of the information is someone's interpretation of the information. Often I read an article that someone has posted on Facebook, which is a summary of another article, which is a summary of another article, which is the summary of the original study. The degree of separation from the original source creates the possibility for change. It is like a game a telephone: you rarely end up with the exact information at the end. The news is the same, an interpretation of information, however the news industry appeals to the masses for profit (I assume). I'm not saying broadcasting companies lie, but if given the choice of publicizing one the side of the argument or the other, it would be logical that they report the most popular opinion, for personal gain and to not put-off or enrage their viewers. From a business point of view, this makes a lot of sense. I'm not saying this is specific to man-made global warming; it could be for the opposing side as well, or any subject. I believe people should always be a little skeptical of what someone tells them.
S. Fred Singer, founding dean of the School of Planetary Sciences at the University of Miami and founding director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service comments on how people do not know where their information is coming from: “In identifying the burning of fossil fuels as the chief cause of warming today, many politicians and environmental activists simply appeal to a so-called 'scientific consensus' … First, there is no such consensus. An increasing number of climate scientists are raising serious questions about the political rush to judgment on this issue. For example, the widely touted "consensus" of 2,500 scientists on the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is an illusion, its shared Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore notwithstanding. Most of the panelists have no scientific qualifications, and many of the others object to some part of the IPCC's report. The Associated Press reported that a mere 52 climate scientists contributed to the report's 'Summary for Policymakers'” (Singer). In other words, even when something comes from an original source, it might not quite be as sound as one would think.
Is global warming man made? It is hard to tell. Both sides have compelling arguments. On the one hand, there is a strong correlation between CO2 levels and global warming. However, “as every scientist knows, correlation is not causation” (Singer). People confuse belief with what should be done about a problem. A person who does not believe global warming is caused by humans might be in favor in cutting CO2 levels, because if they are mistaken in their views – which is always a possible when an issue is uncertain – and CO2 is indeed responsible, not acting as soon as possible would be the worst thing to do. One's stance on the matter depends on where their cut-off value is for proof; at what point are they 'convinced.' In a court room, the cut-off value for convicted guilty is 'beyond reasonable doubt'. This, in essence, is the degree of strength of a correlation. If there is a strong correlation, then there is a strong chance that the two are connected. However, one's stance might be dependent on whether there is a consensus on the matter. In the anthropologic global warming debate, there is no consensus. Personally, I fall in the latter category of people: we need more data. However, cutting CO2 emissions is a good idea, in the event that it is indeed what is causing global warming.
Baumgartner, William, and Andrew Gross. "The Global Market For Electric Vehicles." Business Economics 35.4 (2000): 51. Business Source Complete. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.
Burney, Jennifer A., Charles F. Kennel, and David G. Victor. "Getting Serious About The New Realities Of Global Climate Change." Bulletin Of The Atomic Scientists 69.4 (2013): 49-57. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.
Gore, Al. "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. (Cover Story)." Mother Earth News 218 (2006): 54. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
Grobler, S. M., et al. "Methane Production In Different Breeds, Grazing Different Pastures Or Fed A Total Mixed Ration, As Measured By A Laser Methane Detector." South African Journal Of Animal Science 44.5 (2014): S12-S16. Academic Search Complete. Web. 2 Dec. 2014.
Lean, Geoffrey. “Cow 'emissions' more damaging to planet than CO2 from cars.” The Independent. Independent.co.uk, 10 Dec. 2006. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.
Lindeburgh, Michael R. (2006). Mechanical engineering reference manual for the PE Exam. Belmont CA: Professional Publications. ISBN 978-1-59126-049-3.
Newman, Alex. "Embarrassing Predictions." New American (08856540) 30.16 (2014): 10-17. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
Page, Michael Le. "World Without Fossil Fuels." New Scientist 224.2991 (2014): 34-39. Academic Search Complete. Web. 3 Dec. 2014.
Parker, A. "Global Temperatures May Not Increase By 4°C By The End Of This Century." Current Science (00113891) 107.3 (2014): 356-359. Academic Search Complete. Web. 4 Dec. 2014.
Paterson, Norman R. "Global Warming: A Critique Of The Anthropogenic Model And Its Consequences." Geoscience Canada 38.1 (2011): 41-48. Academic Search Complete. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
Singer, S. Fred. "GLOBAL WARMING: Man-Made Or Natural?." USA Today Magazine 136.2754 (2008): 16. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Nov. 2014.
Spencer, Roy W. Great Global Warming Blunder : How Mother Nature Fooled The World's Top Climate Scientists. San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2012. eBook Academic Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 24 Nov. 2014.
Suckling, Emma B., and Leonard A. Smith. "An Evaluation Of Decadal Probability Forecasts From State-Of-The-Art Climate Models*." Journal Of Climate 26.23 (2013): 9334-9347. Academic Search Complete. Web. 21 Nov. 2014.
Wood, Graeme. “Moving Heaven and Earth.” Atlantic Monthly, July/Aug issue (2014)
6. SAMPLE RESEARCH PAPER - Maria A (Holy Names, 2011)
TOPIC: SINGLE-SEX EDUCATION
Gender differences play a huge role in learning environments for boys and girls. Single-sex education is when a student attends a school of their own gender, either all boys or all girls. Some people believe that these children should learn in coeducational institutions, while others believe that single-sex institutions are more beneficial. Single-sex institutions are geared to target the strengths and weaknesses of one sex in the absence of the other in order to decrease the gender gap between the sexes. Although some can agree that same sex schools have an advantage over coed ones, others still consider that coed schools are more helpful towards the student’s life after schooling. Single-sex education is more beneficial than coed schools through the means of academics, social well-being, and also parent and teacher experiences.
In order to fully understand single-sex education, coeducational institutions must be taken into consideration. According to “Single-Sex Education”, Kenneth Jost explains that coed institutions became an important asset to the school systems “during the 19th century” (Jost, 2002). Public coed schools were more realistic for those living in towns since it is more affordable as well as convenient. However by the early 20th century, coeducational institutions were questioned because the difference in performance levels between boys and girls were increasing. This resulted in creating gender segregated schools.
Single-sex education became more evident in the 1990s. As little as 10 single-sex schools were operating in the United States, with California as “the first state to experience with single-gender public education on a large scale” (Schroeder, 2001). Although some districts with single-sex education believed it could lessen distractions in the student’s learning environments, others took advantage of these types of schools by being “primarily interested in getting more money to address needs of at-risk students rather than using single-gender classes to improve learning” (Jost, 2002). This was a bad side effect to some single-sex schools because it was used to get more money rather than help the children.
Currently, advocates are trying their best to spread the positives of single-gender schools in order to create more schools. However, there are still disagreements on whether these types of schools are beneficial. Although there are many single-gender schools across the nation, including Holy Names High School in Oakland, California, some schools are only participating in gender-segregated classes before moving towards completely separated schools. In addition, enthusiasts and opponents of same-gender education can only agree on one factor: “participation in single-sex schools or classes should be voluntary, not mandatory, for students and families” (Jost, 2002). More single-sex schools will appear in years to come, but opponents to the idea will never cease.
Advocates of same-gender education claim that single-sex schools improve students academically. Kenneth Jost proves that single-sex education has improved students’ proficiency in language skills: “The results showed a tremendous advantage for single-sex education, for both sexes. 68 percent of boys in single-sex classes subsequently passed a standardized test of language skills, versus 33 percent of the boys in coed classes. Among the girls, 89 percent assigned to single-sex classes passed the test, versus 48 percent of girls in coed classes (2002). Jost’s results clearly highlight how same gender education is improving students’ learning skills, “for both sexes”. The fact that the passing rates of those attending single-sex schools are much greater than those of coed schools show that single-sex schools have a greater impact on the students’ learning capabilities.
According to “Update: Single-Sex Education” (2008), gender-segregated schools enable students to go against gender preconceptions: “It [single-sex education] reduces the preconceptions about gender that keep boys from pursuing certain subjects, such as reading and art, and girls from pursuing others, such as science and mathematics”. When gender preconceptions are reduced, this allows students to follow their dreams without the feeling of self-consciousness or embarrassment that they have interest in a subject not typically suited for their specific gender. Also, single-gender classes encourage students to seek subjects that they have not been taught to chase.
Lastly, the National Association for Single Sex Public Education emphasizes how “students in the single-sex schools had a far more positive attitude toward academics than did students in coed schools” (NASSPE, 2010). Since students are doing better in gender-segregated schools and scores are proving that they are more excited about learning because they know they can achieve higher grades. The students feel as if they are all on the same boat with academics; therefore, no one feels left out. In addition to students of single-sex education doing well in academics, supporters also believe that their social well-being is better in these types of schools.
Same gender schools create a healthier social environment for students. In “Karen Stabiner on All-Girls Schools” (2004), Stabiner emphasizes how single-sex schools “do a real favor to adolescent girls, by taking them out of our image-centered culture and into a place where what’s important is how you think and who you are”. This can be true for boys, too. Since same gender schools lack the distractions of the opposite sex, both boys and girls no longer have to focus on their appearance, but rather more on “how you think and who you are”. Single-sex education has a healthier social environment because the students are able to discover who they are before endeavoring into social relationships with the opposite sex.
Furthermore, single-sex education promotes breaking gender stereotypes: “Single-sex education in many ways enables students to more easily break away from gender stereotypes” (Kasic, 2008). Just as students are thriving academically by pursuing in subjects with gender preconceptions, they are also “breaking away from gender stereotypes”. Straying away from stereotypes is socially helpful for students because it teaches them to look past assumptions. Single-sex education enables this since the classes are gender segregated, so the students are already unaware of the stereotypes, which allow them to judge others by who they are and not by what society says. Gender segregated schools is not only beneficial for students academically and socially, but also for teachers and parents.
Some teachers and parents favor same-sex education over coed institutions for the power of control. Supporters believe that “when girls and boys are separated, teachers can overcome traditional gender stereotyping that often keeps students from pursuing, and doing well in, particular subjects” (Update: Single-Sex Education, 2008). Teachers enjoy single-sex education because they are able to alter their classrooms in such a way that motivate their students to go against gender stereotypes. Also, teachers are able to make alterations to the classroom environment, based on the specific gender, which will improve the individuals’ learning.
Likewise, parents are able to control how fast their children are growing up: “As kids are being encouraged to grow up faster and faster, it’s the parents’ job and privilege to help them put the brakes on. Girls’ schools can help do that” (Stabiner, 2004). Since single-gender schools consist of only one gender, boys and girls no longer have to live up to what society or media believes will attract the opposite sex, which is usually “to grow up faster” or look more mature. When parents enroll their children to gender segregated schools, they are limiting how much access they have with the opposite sex, which then in turn controls how fast they grow up. Although some teachers and parents prefer single-sex education to coeducational institutions, there are still many opponents to same gender schooling.
Those who are against single-sex education have four main arguments as to why gender segregated schools are not beneficial: academics, teachers, social well-being, and legality. Opponents find academics as a reason to argue that single-sex education is unjust. These opponents contend that single-sex education does not offer equal education: “Critics of single-sex education say: When boys and girls learn separately, the education they receive is more likely to be unequal. Separate classes, one gender might receive a better education than the other, they charge” (Update: Single-sex education, 2008).
Since classes are separated by gender, this means that one class may be more advanced than the other because boys and girls have different levels of learning and comprehension. In addition, given that the students receive subjects that go against gender preconceptions, these students will be more encouraged to take on these subjects over the others. For example, boys will be more stimulated to embrace in the arts since they already have interest in science or math and vice versa for girls. The unfair academics tie into the teaching styles of the teachers.
Another argument that critics have is that teachers are the ones who offer the unequal education. Ken Schroeder states, “Despite educator interest in equal opportunity, discipline and instructional practices differed for boys and girls, often based on educators’ gender stereotypes” (2001). Single-sex education promise to break gender stereotypes, but since teachers are treating their students differently, opponents argue that they are basing it off their own “gender stereotypes. In addition, students are not able to thrive as much as they would in coed schools because the teachers are treating the students unequally. The teachers’ classroom actions are just one way that creates an unhealthy social environment for students.
Those who are anti-single-sex education insist that boys and girls are harming their own social well-being if they attend an all boys or all girls school. According to the National Organization for Women, also known as NOW, students are more likely to create gender stereotypes in adulthood due to the deprivation of interaction with the opposite sex “during their formative years” (Bennett, 2006). Gender segregated schools are not helpful in a student’s social well-being because they do not interact with the opposite sex, which is something that they will have to do later on in life. NOW claims that these students will form gender stereotypes because they do not have first hand daily experiences with the opposite sex. Therefore, they are creating their own stereotypes from what they see on the media since they will not have interactions with the opposite sex in school.
The last reason why opponents disapprove of single-sex education is that it is not legal. Sax argues that single-sex education breaks the law: “Single-sex arrangement was a violation of Title IX, the federal law barring sex-segregated education in public schools” (2002). Many opponents do not approve of single-sex education because it infringes the law. Although it states that Title IX regards only public schools, advocates must also understand that, in spite of whether it is for public or private schools, single-sex education is illegal. Therefore, opponents of single-sex education have one solid, legal point as to why they are not supportive of single-sex education.
After researching this controversial topic of whether or not single-sex education is better than coed institutions, I have gotten a better grasp of gender-segregated education. I had a lot of trouble researching the topic because there were more sources that sided with single-sex education than those that opposed it. It took more in-depth research to find credible sources that covered the views of anti-single-sex education because most of the sources were testimonials rather than research conducted by professionals. However, I did enjoy researching this topic because I have never been exposed to the pros and cons of single-sex education versus the type of education I have received all my life. I never knew that students in same gender schools generally had higher passing rates in tests than those of coed schools. My research was more worthwhile because I was able to contemplate about my opportunity to experience with a single-sex class.
Although I have never attended an all-girls school, I have had experience with a gender-segregated class. During my freshmen year of high school, girls and boys were separated in the Physical Education classes. At first I was not fond of being separated from the opposite sex in class because I already had the gender stereotype that being with all girls will create cattiness. However, after a few days of this class, I realized that it was to my advantage because I did not have to keep up with the boys’ athleticism. It also allowed me to excel in sports and feel more confident because most of the girls in the class were not as athletic as I am. From my own experience of a gender-segregated class, I support single-sex education in terms of academics.
Throughout my research and experience, my views have changed about single-sex education. At first, I did not support single-sex education because I cannot see myself attending a gender-segregated school. On the other hand, after learning about the benefits of same-gender education, I realized that single-sex education is best in academics. That is where my opinion changed. I promote this type of education only through the academic sense. I feel that gender segregated education works best in academics because the students do not have to deal with distractions of the opposite sex. I disagree with single-sex education in terms of social well-being. I consider that in order to grow as a person, one must interact with the opposite sex earlier in life to prepare for the real world, especially the workforce.
Additionally, students from gender-segregated schools learn to break away from gender stereotypes. Teachers and parents find single-sex education convenient for them since it is one way they can gain control over the students in how they structure the classroom and how fast their children are growing up. Opponents argue that single-sex education is not as great as coed institutions in terms of academics, social well-being, teachers, and legality. Although both advocates and opponents have disagreements about single-sex education, the only aspect of single-sex education they can agree on is that attendance in this type of school should be voluntary and not mandatory since single-sex education is not meant for everyone.
Bennett, L. (2006, October 24). NOW opposes single-sex public education as “separate and unequal.” Retrieved April 22, 2011, from http://www.now.org/press/10-06/10-24.html
Jost, K. (2002, July 12). Single-sex education. CQ Researcher, 12(25). Retrieved from http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/
Kasic, A. (2008, August 21). Keep the option of single-sex ed. Christian Science Monitor . Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com
National Association for Single Sex Public Education. (2010). Single-sex vs. coed: The evidence. Retrieved from http://www.singlesexschools.org/research-singlesexvscoed.htm#top
Sax, L. (2002, August). Single-sex education: Ready for prime time? World & I, 257-269. Retrieved from http://sks.sirs.com
Schroeder, K. (2001, October 1). Single-gender schools. Education Digest, 67(2), 71. Retrieved from http://elibrary.bigchalk.com
Stabiner, K. (2004, January 1). Karen Stabiner on all-girl schools. Daughters, 9(1), 1. Retrieved from http://elibrary.bigchalk.com
Update: Single-sex education. (2008, June 6). Issues & Controversies On File. Retrieved from Issues & Controversies database.