Argumentative Essays
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Sample 1:

Topic : Controlling Access to Pornography in the Age of the Internet - An Analysis
Level : Undergraduate

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has declared 2009 as the year for “Protecting Children in Cyberspace” and has unveiled the Child Online Protection (COP) programme, in cooperation with its global partners. Whether access to undesirable websites that cater to pornographic material should be made available without restraint, especially to adolescents and younger children, is a hotly debated topic today. It is seen as an important movement in countries all over the world.

The “net” has a very significant impact on modern life, what with the development of the information and communication facilities, like the new generation mobile phones, laptops and palmtops, Wi-Fi, blue tooth and other advances like the web2. It provides an easy, quick as well as cheap platform “to inform, educate, entertain and conduct business on a world-wide scale” (Capitanchik and Whine). Most homes have access to the internet and there are cyber cafes, libraries, both public as well as those in schools that are connected to the internet. Students are trained and expected to use the internet for research, assignments, project work and home work. Many schools insist on the child owning a laptop for doing his school work. Most of the cell phone networks also provide access to the internet. Children learn how to handle these electronic equipments from a very early age and become very adept at it. But, just as drugs can be used or misused, the internet too can be misused to disseminate undesirable and objectionable information.

The popular stand taken by most people, especially parents, educators, schools and even governments at the state, national as well as international levels is that: unrestricted access to undesirable material is harmful to adolescents and spoils their innocence. It could lead to deviant social and cultural behaviour. It could also make them vulnerable to the designs of paedophiles and other cyber criminals ( So, nearly everyone agrees that such restriction is a must.

But some others take the view that, although allowing unrestricted access to “porn sites” may be undesirable for teenagers, some serious issues have to be attended to before taking any drastic action. “Judges Blast Library Filtering”, screamed a headline reporting the third trial conducted by the U.S. Congress over the Children’s Internet Protection Act. The judges in this trial felt that constraining libraries or other public institutions from allowing unrestricted access to the Internet for anyone would be against the guarantees of the First Amendment (McCullugh), and was “overly broad, intrusive and restrictive to protect children from adult speech” (Obscenity).

Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) says that it is the censorship of the print media that has led to the problem of the internet pornographic access by teenagers. "Mere nudity, like a Playboy magazine centrefold, is banned. As a result, adults and teenagers seeking mainstream pornography online, visit overseas sites where they are very likely to be exposed to violent and extreme pornography."

There is also the problem to decide what exactly pornography is. “Pornography per se is not legally defined at all” (Lin and Lipke, Pg. 3) and secondly people of different communities interpret the word differently (Pg.2). In the dictionary the word, pornography is defined as: “obscene writings, drawings, photographs, or the like, especially those having little or no artistic merit” ( Does this mean that “obscene” does not include art like paintings, literature, films etc. that may also have objectionable material?  Further, Lin and Lipke point out that some resources, like the scientific articles on the human reproductive system, are important to adolescents but not for younger children (pg. 5), meaning that a blanket-rule to block all the sites that deal with such topics, for all minors, is not the proper approach.

The deterrents used to restrict free access to youngsters could be in three ways: Firstly, restrictions can be carried out by parents or other responsible adults by actively policing the children while they are on the net. Secondly, using electronic surveillance and blocking by putting in software that prevents access to undesirable websites or material. Thirdly, by legislating what and who the content providers can cater to.
            The best solution for preventing unrestricted access would be of course, adult supervision. It would involve the physical presence of an adult – like a parent or a teacher to oversee the child during the internet-access time, like in the school library or home work time. The computers used by minors could be located in such a place, like the living room or hall way where they can be watched. This can be done in libraries or cyber cafes too, where the person in charge can see the monitor of the systems that are allotted to adolescents. But this may not always be feasible, for many reasons. The widespread access networks like the Wi-Fi and the availability of compact accessing units like cell phones, palmtops and laptops also make it impossible for an adult to be supervising all the time. Moreover, some parents may not have the time for continuous monitoring, while others may be more permissive (Lin and Lipke, Pg. 3).

The next way out would be to install some restricting software in the computers that the children have access to. Most search engines have the family filter or safe search mechanism installed. But older children may soon learn how to switch this off. CyberPatrol, SmartFilter, WebSense, N2H2 and WebNanny are some of the software resources available for blocking websites that contain objectionable content. Parents, who find it difficult to be with their children during home work time, could use such software to protect them. But such software cannot be used in places like the public libraries or cyber-cafes because of the First Amendment issues. It was also demonstrated that such software blocked non-pornographic sites also, like those dealing with breast cancer, abortion, AIDS etc. (Hudson Jr.). Even the counties of Sussex and Essex in the United Kingdom were blocked because of the word sex in their names.

Lin and Lipke point out that such software might find it difficult to distinguish between the scientific or artistic and the pornographic material, based merely on factors like the amount of skin tone displayed. To overcome this “tagging” images or text was introduced, for example the Platform for Internet Content Selection (PICS). In this, a machine-readable label is tagged to the content by the judging party or by the content provider himself (Pg. 4). For this there are PIC-based rating services such as the NetShepherd.  Other programs like OpenDNS are based on the computer owner changing the DNS settings and blocking out the unwanted websites. This is more difficult for the teenagers to reverse, and should therefore be more reliable. 

Sample 2 :

Topic : Nurture & Nature

Level : Undergraduate

After all the furore in the press about the recent cloning of a dog by the Koreans, the author, T. C. Boyle, brings out two current and pertinent questions to the fore through his story “Admiral”: whether cloning - that is the result of the destruction of hundreds of lives - is justifiable and whether cloning and “nurture” (raising the clone in a similar environment) can create a duplicate of the natural original with all the characteristics, not just the physical ones.

            Cloning is the process by which the genetic material from a plant or animal is made use of to reproduce an exact copy of the original in its physical features and qualities. Plants and lower animals have been cloned for decades now. But what happens when animals that are higher in the ladder of evolution are cloned? Is the innate nature of the progenitor also transferred to the progeny? This is a question that is still not answered clearly by the scientists. The author explores these issues in his story as in a debate by offering three points of view (pro, anti and neutral) about cloning, its desirability and ethics, as well as the benefits or otherwise: the Strikers’, Erhard’s,  and Nisha’s.

The Strikers (especially Mrs. Striker) are placed on the pro-cloning platform. The love for their dead dog justifies their decision to spend a quarter of a million dollars to produce its clone. They do not seem very much worried about the ethics and the problems of cloning. Just that, since they have the money, and the technology is available for sale, they buy it. They consider the transaction in a businesslike manner, and don’t go too deeply into the moral principles of their action.

The husband Cliff lets his wife have her wish although he himself has no very deep personal feelings for the dog: “...and it’s too bad he wasn’t a cat” he says, and adds that he could have got a cat cloned at a cheaper price. It seems also that they could have done it for all the publicity that the cloning created for them, as they are very much excited about the media attention.

Erhard, on the anti-platform, is a fervid activist. He deplores the killing of thousands of eggs in the laboratory and the untold miseries the thousands of surrogate mother dogs undergo just to manufacture one clone. His observations are from the point of view of the naturalists as well as from that of religion. He sees cloning as going against the laws of nature as well as those of God’s. By cloning Admiral, the Strikers and others like them were trying to cheat death for their own “solipsistic desires”.

Sample - Research paper :

Topic : Colon Cancer

Level : Postgraduate

Colon cancer is also known as colorectal cancer  CITATION Win91 p 1 l 1033   (Winawer, Schottenfeld and Flehinger 1) CITATION Col091 l 1033    (Zieve) . Although it is rare in Africa and Asia  CITATION Lee10 p 1 l 1033   (Lee and Marks 1) , it is one of the leading causes of cancer-related death in the United States  CITATION Col091 l 1033 (Zieve) .About 146, 970 new cases were reported in 2009 and 49,920 deaths due to this disease  CITATION Col101 l 1033 (Colon and Rectal Cancer) . So it is essential to study this disease, its symptoms, causes and prognosis.

The colon is the last part of the intestine and also called the large intestine or large bowel. The colon is a long muscular tube (What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum 2) about six feet in length  CITATION Col10 l 1033 (Colon Cancer) .It consists of the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, the sigmoid colon and the rectum  CITATION Col10 l 1033 (Colon Cancer) . The colon absorbs nutrients, minerals and water from the food and helps the body to get rid of the waste materials  CITATION Dix09 l 1033 (Dixon) .

 Cancer refers to a group of more than 100 different diseases that are caused when cells become abnormal because they divide without any control or order  CITATION Lee10 p 1 l 1033   (Lee and Marks 1). Sometimes the older cells do not die but keep growing and form a mass of tissue called a growth ot tumor (What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum, 3). The colon cancer mostly begins in the glands in the lining of the colon and rectum  CITATION Col091 l 1033 (Zieve) as small, noncancerous (benign) lumps of cells called adenomatous polyps and some of these turn into cancers over time  CITATION May09 l 1033   (MayoClinic) . These are malignant tumors whose cells can break away from the original tumor and migrate to other organs through the bloodstream or the lymphatic system. This spread of cancer is called metastasis  CITATION Lee10 p 1 l 1033   (Lee and Marks 1). The organs like liver and lung can be invaded by the metastasising cells  CITATION Lee10 p 1 l 1033   (Lee and Marks 1) and cause secondary tumors that are called metastatic or “distant” colorectal cancer and not liver or lung cancer (What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum 4). Colon cancers mostly (about 95%) belong to the carcinoma type  CITATION Col091 l 1033 (Zieve) called adenocarcinomas CITATION Col10 l 1033 (Colon Cancer).

The article “What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum” describes the four stages of colorectal cancers (pgs 12-13):

Stage I: where the tumor is confined to the inner wall of the colon or rectum;

Stage II: where the tumor has grown extensively into the colon or rectum and invaded the nearby tissues but not spread to the lymph nodes;

Stage III: where the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes but not to other organs;

Stage IV: where the cancer has spread to other sorgans like the lungs or liver

There could also be a recurrence of the cancer either in the colorectal region or other organs after the original cancer has been treated.

The causes for colon cancer occurrence are many and not clearly understood. But most of the research points out to the risk factors that can cause colon cancer in certain types of people (What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum 4). Most studies indicate the risk factors including the age, presence of colorectal polyps, heriditary and genetic, previous cancers, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, diet, as well as cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol to be the most important. (What You need To Know About Cancer of the Colon and Rectum 5-6)  CITATION Col091 l 1033 (Zieve) .

People above the age of 50 or 60 are in the high risk category.

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