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Essay 4 Peer Group Topic Invention

The following activities will help you to explore, organize and develop further your topic for Assignment 4. 

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Part I
Form groups of four based on the following themes. (If your topic does not fall into any of these, or if it can be classified by more than one of these, please await further instructions.)
Once your groups of four have been settled, present your topic to the other members of your group and discuss their similarities and differences. Explain to your peers your answers to the following questions:
  1. What is your main thesis in your essay about why people subscribe in general to conspiracy theories?
  2. What are two main reasons people believe conspiracies like the one in your essay? (Do not answer questions simply by discussing the details of your selected conspiracy; generalize the topic more and examine the phenomenon of conspiracies by explaining what you believe to be the causes for conspiratorial belief, conspiratorial thinking, or conspiratorial suspicion.)
  3. What are two ways in which people change, or otherwise enhance, their own identities by joining a conspiracy theory?
  4. What are four words, four concepts, or four criteria that, in your opinion, are the most important in any conversation about why people participate in conspiracy theories?
  5. What aspects of your chosen conspiracy for this assignment will be used to illustrate your answers to Questions 2 through 4?
Part II
Once you have addressed one another's individual topics and arguments, brainstorm the following together.
  1. What additional cases, conspiracies, or historical events might help to illustrate some of the arguments in your group's topics?
  2. Other than the identical (or similar) conspiracies on which you are all focusing, what are the likely common denominators in your thesis statements and essay arguments?
  3. What general topics, issues, or ideas not directly related to the conspiracy you've selected could be further researched in an academic way? Brainstorm where such research might be found; consider types of journals, databases, government agencies, statistical info, surveys, expert or scholarly opinion, graduate theses and dissertations, etc.
  4. Where does each of you stand, personally, on the conspiracy you are using for your case example, and why? (Save this question for last. Remember, you must not actually take a stance on your conspiracy in your essay!)
Last Updated: 05/17/2017

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