SAMPLE OUTLINE FOR ESSAY QUESTION
THE WRITTEN EXAM QUESTION: Describe and compare how cultural differences create misunderstanding in contemporary communities.
FORMAT: USE HEADINGS. The essay should be no more than TWO PAGES, TYPED, AND DOUBLE SPACED, using the following outline.
A. Hypothesis or question
Prior to taking this class I thought that some beliefs were strange, harmful, or very silly. This essay examines the function of belief in alleviating anxiety and uncertainty. Malinowski in 1939 thought that religion functions to relieve anxiety and uncertainty in society. Does religion function to relieve anxiety and uncertainty?
a. Holiness church
Snake handling transfers power to otherwise powerless people in society.
Prayer alleviates anxiety about illnesses.
b. New England fishermen using charms
If they had their charms, they would be protected from bad luck at sea.
They might not be as fearful and may have better judgment during a crisis (Poggie, et al. 1976).
c. Ghost dance
Native Americans were traumatized from contact with European Americans.
A prophet arose to teach them to be impervious to injury.
The examples appear to support Malinowski's hypothesis. Although previously I would have thought these beliefs would be harmful or silly, I can understand how people might respond with magical or religious beliefs in times of uncertainty or anxiety. In the same way, we can understand current events such as ___(give example)_____.
Poggie, John J., Jr., Richard B. Pollnac, and Carl Gersuny. 1976. Risk as a Basis for Taboos among Fishermen in Southern New England. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 15:257-62.
Malinowski, B. 1935. Coral Gardens and Their Magic. 2 vols. London: Allen & Unwin.
AN "A" PAPER would include an example from a source outside your text to support your argument and the article or book be cited at the end of the essay. INCLUDE A COPY OF THE FIRST PAGE OF AN ARTICLE OR THE FIRST PAGE OF THE CHAPTER USED IN A BOOK.