Case study | writing | umuc


Case Study Project–Revised Draft


For this project, you will select one of the social issues below and you will write an essay where you complete the following:

  • Describe a “real life” instance of this social issue in a professional or a personal setting.
  • Discuss your perspective on this issue, including the reasons for your viewpoint.
  • Discuss how your core values inform or influence your perspective on this issue.

Due Date and Grade Percentage:

The revised draft of this project is due by the end of Week 8. This project is worth 30% of your final course grade.

Connection to other Course Assignments:

  • This is the culminating assignment, where you will tie together all of the information and ideas from the course.
  • All of the reading, writing, thinking, and discussing that you have done over the past several weeks have led up to this assignment.


  • Be sure to include an introductory paragraph, 4-6 body paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph.
  • In your introductory paragraph(s), clearly outline the “real-life” instance and give a thesis statement that indicates your perspective.
  • Include details, examples, and quotes from at least three of the assigned reading selections to help you develop and support your response to the essay prompt.
  • Show you are really thinking about your issue—don’t settle for easy answers, don’t pretend that conflicting evidence doesn’t exist, and don’t feel that you have to take an either-or position.
  • Talk about the complexities of your selected social issue. For example, do not just conclude that using academic language is always good, or that government surveillance is always bad, or that wealth automatically leads to health. Think about the intricacies of these issues and how they play out in everyday life.
  • Paraphrase and quote skillfully. This means: 
    • When you put something in your own words, the author’s meaning remains true, but your sentences and words are significantly different (not just a few words changed).
    • Use “quotation marks” when including an author’s exact words.
      • Ravitch writes, “yadda yadda grammar yadda yadda” (p. 178).
    • Use your critical voice to lead into quotes, and tell your reader who you are quoting.
    • Use your critical voice after a quote to explain how the quote connects to your own point.
  • Take time to proofread after you’ve written your essay. Think about the kinds of mistakes you tend to make (like using run-on sentences or improper capitalization) and watch out for those.

Length and Format:

  • Your final product should be a minimum of six paragraphs (about 900-1100 words) in length. However, the quality of the content of this essay is most important. Be sure to fully answer the prompt.
  • Your paper should be typed, double-spaced and in 12-point font.
  • Your paper should use APA-style documentation for in-text citations.
  • Your paper should be written in formal, academic prose. Be sure to pay attention to using complete sentences, correct spelling and grammar, and no “text talk.”

Choose one of the following social issues as the focus of your case study:

Issue #1: Language and Power

Language is one of the most foundational aspects of humanity. Rita Mae Brown describes language as “the roadmap of a culture” because “it tells you where its people are from and where they are going.” Language encompasses so much of who we are as individuals and as a society, yet many never stop to think about the role of language beyond its function in communicating. Rita Mae Brown further explains that “language exerts hidden power, like the moon on the tides.” If language is indeed so compelling, then, as Franz Fonan put it, “mastery of language affords remarkable power.” Our use of language can help us to connect with significant others and potential business partners. Our use of language could be the difference between a passing or failing grade. It could also be the difference between getting hired for a job and being rejected as an applicant. Angela Carter characterized language as the “the instrument of domination and liberation.” In other words, language can be used to edify, but it can also be used to exploit. It is up to us, as individuals and as members of society, to choose the ways in which we use language and the power that it carries.

Issue #2: Freedom and Security

When debating the balance between freedom and security, it is often noted that Benjamin Franklin once declared: “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” This tension between freedom and security continues to increase in light of the ever-increasing role that technology plays in our professional and personal lives. Speaking to the impact of technology, Misha Glenny asserted that, “the Internet has fashioned a new and complicated environment for an age-old dilemma that pits the demands for security against the desire for freedom.” Whether it be larger issues like cybersecurity and terrorism or a more personal issue such as monitoring our children’s online activity, the tension between freedom and security is always present. Perhaps, one of the greatest challenges that we face personally and as members of a global society is balancing our need for freedom with our need for security.

Issue #3: Health and Wealth

In our capitalist society, there seems to be ongoing obsession with money and material wealth. Everything from social media to rap music to reality television seems to fuel our desire for more money and for more things. Money and material possessions are central to our understanding of what it means to be wealthy.   Contrary to this ideal, Mahatma Gandhi explained that, “it is health that is real wealth, not pieces of gold and silver.” While most would agree that healthy living is important, it seems as though our desire for health is often secondary to our quest for wealth. As A.J. Reb Materi put it, “so many people spend their health gaining wealth, and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.” This begs the question, what exactly is health? Furthermore, what role does wealth play in living a healthy life? One would only need to walk through the organic section of the local grocery store to realize that healthy living can be quite costly. In the same way, one would only need to review a recent medical bill to see that not living a healthy life can also be quite costly. As a society and in our individual lives, we must find ways to reconcile our need for health with our quest for wealth.



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