Part II: Deconstruction of the Conspiracy Theory
In Part I, you introduced us to the focus of your essay as well as the context of conspiracy theories in general, so we could understand why you chose to go into detail about your particular conspiracy theory. Now it’s time to get into those details.
In Part II, your job is to disprove the conspiracy theory you have chosen, using logic and credible evidence. In 3-4 pages, take us step-by-step through conspiracy theorists’ claims and provide evidence that those claims do not explain the phenomenon being discussed.
Here are some tips for Part II:
Since every conspiracy theory is different, there is no one template or formula that I can provide for the structure of this section of your essay. You will have to organize in a way that suits your topic. You also may decide to focus on just one aspect of your topic if the conspiracy theory is broad or has too many components.
For example, let’s say your topic is the conspiracy theory that the moon landing was a hoax. You could write an entire essay just on the theories about the photographic and video evidence of the moon landing. You probably could not discuss all of the aspects of the moon landing hoax theory in these 3-4 pages. So in that case, you should narrow your focus.
The key to success in Part II is good evidence and good argumentation. Be sure you are using only credible sources, like articles from peer reviewed, scholarly journals; scholarly books; neutral scientific publications (like Smithsonian, or Scientific American); government documents; documents from impartial non-governmental organizations, etc. Do not cite random web sites you found in a Google search. One of the problems with conspiracy theories is that so many people believe them because they rely on hearsay or flimsy sources (like social media). You have to do better than that here.
As you develop your logical argument, consider the tips in They Say, I Say, like planting a naysayer in your text (in this case, the naysayer might be the conspiracy theorist themselves). Make sure you’re very clear about who said what, and be sure to use the agree, disagree, or agree/disagree templates in order to prove some of your individual points (note: you don’t have to use these techniques and templates in every paragraph, but they will surely come in handy a few times).
Lastly, here are some logistical reminders for Part II:
You must use at least 4 new sources for Part II. At least two of those sources must be scholarly journal articles, and at least one source must be an academic book. I suspect that you will use more than 4 new sources, so consider this an absolute minimum.
Turn in Parts I and II together. Remember that you are slowly building toward a 10-page essay, so eventually all three parts of this assignment will merge together. Thus, for now, you should turn in 6-7 pages total (not including your Works Cited list).
Be sure to include in-text citations for all paraphrases and quotations, as well as a Works Cited list at the end of the essay
Use MLA formatting for your title, heading, and body, as well as all citations
Submit your essay in .docx, .rtf, or .pdf format. If you composed your essay in Google Docs, make sure to save it as one of these files.
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