Critically Thinking about Your Products

Critically Thinking about Your Products

One of the educational goals at PCC is to help students become more conscientious citizens who understand the importance of sustainable lifestyle choices. As you have hopefully discovered by now, the concepts of this class should not be limited to the classroom. “Critical Thinking” is a course designed to help you become better equipped to make reasonable, well-informed decisions in every aspect of your life.

Now is your opportunity to apply the skills learned in this course to something you do almost every day: morning grooming with various grooming, hygiene, or cosmetic products. For many Americans, morning is the time at which they are exposed to the most toxins, and morning is the time at which they consume the most products that may be harmful to other people, animals, and the environment. This assignment is an opportunity for you to learn about one grooming/hygiene/cosmetic product you use while you get ready for your day.

Choose a grooming or hygiene product that you use daily, or almost daily, as you “get ready” for work or school. It should be a product about which you have little knowledge; it can be anything from your toothpaste to your shampoo to your lipstick. Now do extensive research on that product. Your research should include the following findings:

  • The specific name/brand of the specific product you are researching
  • The ingredients of the product,
  • Any potential harm those ingredients may cause to you, or to the environment (use the skills you acquired in chapters 10 and 11 on generalizations from samples to causal studies to help interpret the findings…actually discuss the studies that “prove” that the ingredient is harmful in some way),
  • Where the ingredients are acquired and any potential environmental or human damage the acquisition of those ingredients may cause (so feel free to discuss human rights issues that you think are relevant)
  • Any potential harm the actual manufacturing of the product may cause, from the people who make the product, to the waste products from the factory,
  • Any other information you find useful for the purposes of this assignment.

The goal of this assignment is for you to become better informed about the impact a small action can have on the world, and be more aware of how you affect the world around you. Your essay should prove why the product is bad or harmful in some way, so you are essentially presenting an argument based on the findings of your research. The skills from chapter 1 about the components of an argument should be employed in your essay; the concepts from chapter 4 about credibility of sources will be relevant here, as you must use sources that are reliable in your essay (and do not forget to cite your sources in MLA format both in text and at the end of your essay); the concepts from chapters 10 and 11 will help you to interpret any studies you may find; and you must avoid the use of rhetorical devices and fallacies in your essay, thus the concepts of chapters 5, 6, and 7 are important in your essay.

  • Your essay should be a minimum of 1500 words, not including your “Works Cited” section at the end of your essay. Your essay should not exceed 3000 words.
  • Submit your responses in the text box provided when you click on “submit assignment.”
  • Do not attach any files to your submission. Any charts or other graphics should be inserted into your essay or included at the end of your essay by using the “insert image” tool.
  • Your essay will be automatically checked through the “Turn It In” system, so make sure that you are responsibly citing your sources, including quotation marks around quoted material, and using your own words for any summarizing or paraphrasing.