the third essay for this course requires you to write an analysis of Philip Zimbardo’s “Stanford Prison Experiment” that also incorporates one other text (or film) that we have studied so far this semester. The primary goal of this assignment is for you to develop a critical perspective on Zimbardo’s essay that utilizes an outside source to help you develop your argument.
As we have been discussing in class, an analysis need not be a complete take-down of the text at hand, and on the other end of the spectrum, it also need not be a full-scale showering of praise on the text. Instead, a good analysis engages specific aspects of the text in order to make a point about what you believe are the important issues in the text. Think of your outside source as a way to help you articulate and reflect on the big picture – the larger issues and questions surrounding Zimbardo’s study (for example, the nature of evil, or the relation between individual identity and role-playing, or the complex nature of authority and obedience, etc). A good analysis will always address one or several of these larger issues.
Use this big picture issue (which should be addressed by your thesis statement) as an organizational/structural principle for your essay. In other words, every point you make in the body of your paper should connect to an develop what you are arguing in your thesis statement about the big picture. Your second source, whatever you choose, must play a central role in helping you elaborate argument, and must be mentioned in your thesis statement.
This must be a well-structured essay with an introduction and a conclusion, and with an argumentative and detailed thesis statement at the end of your introduction and at the start of your conclusion.
Set the stage by introducing the main ideas or concerns that you will be discussing in the body of the essay. Make sure to introduce both texts in your introductory paragraph, as well as what you will be saying about them. Your thesis statement, coming at the end of your introduction, should clearly and specifically lay out the original point you will be making.
Begin your first body paragraph with a short summary of Zimbardo’s experiment. From here, transition to your critique of Zimbardo. The summary must not be longer than a page. Your priority in this essay is critique, and your critique should be structured according to the needs of the argument that you are making. This means that there is no set format for how you bring in your second source, as long as you incorporate it in a way that sharpens and develops your argument. Do not spend more than three sentences summarizing your second source, should you choose to summarize it at all.
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