Deliberation Log Assignment

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Comm 280: Reasoning and Communication

Deliberation Log Assignment



The deliberation log is a document that assists us in making responsive and responsible
decisions by helping us understand the multiple perspectives on a controversial issue. The log i
s
used to help your group prepare for the Roundtable presentations and discussion. It is also used
to help your audience prepare for the discussi
ons of this controversial issue
. There are two
sections that focus on the content of a controversy.
Section 1

provides an overview of the
various positions
C
their key terms, commonplaces, and issues.
Section 2

helps us track the central
claims, support, core values and assumptions for a particular position. Each Roundtable group
prepares one Deliberation Log on it
s controversial issue, and one grade is assigned for the log.

The paper should be about 6
-
8 pages, and all gro
u
p members are expected to contribute equally
to this paper.
The paper is due prior to your group’s Roundtable presentation.



Begin your Deli
beration Log with a statement or question that is the
A
title
@

for your
Roundtable discussion.
This statement should be provided on the title page along with the group
members’ names. The statement should reveal the main focus of your Roundtable discussion,

following the criteria for propositions in Inch & Warnick,
2002,
pp.
140
-
146
.

Example:


The negative effects of cloning (or genetic engineering) are significant



enough for us to consider banning it entirely.


Section 1:
Your group needs to figure ou
t the
A
true
@

locus of disagreements on your topic

(Makau & Marty, 2001, p. 209)
.
Focus

your attention on
3
-
5 issues that seem to be most central
to your concerns. These are called the
central issues

and are best phrased as broad questions that
allow for m
ultiple responses
--
more than
A
either/or
@

thinking

or “yes/no”answers
. Example:


Issue 1: To what extent does cloning (or genetic engineering) improve the quality of

human life?


Issue 2: To what extent do the achievements associated with cloning (or gene
tic
engineering) justify the costs?



Second,

your group needs to identify the
commonplaces

(points of agreement) shared by the
multiple perspectives on your topic

(Makau & Marty, 2001, p. 120)
. The commonplaces should
include fact, value, and policy state
ments.
They will differ depending on the issue and how
you’re deciding to frame it, but you should aim for at least 4 or 5.
Example:


1. Medical experiments should be directed at the acquisition of knowledge that will
improve the quality of human life.


2. Some genetic engineering already has furthered medical progress, which has improved
the quality of human life.



2

3. Some genetic engineering has led to false scientific assumptions that has in turn
threatened the quality of life for human beings.


4.
The American public spends approximately $_____ annually on genetic engineering.


Third,
your group needs to identify
key terms

that are crucial for the discussion of your topic

(Makau & Marty, 2001, p. 130)
. In
short
, you must provide a common vocabulary

for your
audience. These are
shared

definitions. When members of your group cannot agree on a shared
definition, the term itself becomes an issue. Ask yourselves,
A
What are the key terms needed to
effectively discuss the topic? Example:


cloning, geneti
c engineering, quality of life,
A
costs
@

of scientific experiments (not just
monetary)


At this point, section 1 of your log might look like the model on page 215 of Makau & Marty

(2001). You do not need to organize these components in columns as shown in t
he text. Also,
keep in mind that you will need to cite your sources where appropriate in APA format and define
your key terms.


Section 2:
This section helps us understand the various positions within this controversial topic.
There are three components
to section 2: the
central claims
, the
support

for those claims, and the
values and assumptions

underlying those claims.


First, look back at the central issues you
listed in section 1 and identify

the
claims

that are central
to each of them. For example,
a claim under Issue 1 might be:


1. The use of cloning (or genetic engineering) significantly improves the quality of
human life.


Keep in mind that each central issue from section 1 will have several claims related to it.
Make
sure it is clear which cla
ims in this section are related to which issues in section 1.


Next, you must provide
support
for
each of the claims you listed, making sure to cite your
sources in APA format.
For example
, we might use the following support for the first claim
related to

Issue 1
:


1a. Genetic engineering has resulted in the eradication of diseases including _____.


You may have several pieces of support for each claim.


Finally, think about the
values and assumptions

that undergird this line of reasoning

demonstrated in
the arguments you’re making
. For example:


Humans have the responsibility to use their capacity for scientific research to improve the

3

quality of human life.


Section 2 of your Deliberation Log should look like the model on page 219 of Makau & Marty

(200
1), with the exception that you do not need to use columns and you must use APA format to
cite your sources, not footnotes. Your sources should be cited within the text, and the full
citations should be listed on a separate reference page at the end of you
r Deliberation Log
.


Criteria for evaluating the Deliberation Log:


1. Does the statement of central issues capture the range of relevant issues a

composite audience should hear to reach an informed decision?


2. Does the audience share the commonplaces
as stated?


3. Does the definition of terms section clarify key terms as they are used in the context of the
discussion?


4. Overview of perspectives on the central issues.



A. Do the claims capture the locus of controversy from that particular po
int of view?



B. Is there adequate, documented support provided for each claim?



C. Are the citations adequate and in APA style?



D. Are the statements of values and assumptions comprehensive?




5
. Taken together, does the overvi
ew of arguments provide a comprehensive treatment of the
central issues? In other words, in total, does the Deliberation Log represent a good discussion of
the topic?


6. Are the lines of reasoning coherent, understandable, and generally free of the fall
acies of
language, evidence, and reasoning?