CS 4001

Term Paper


  • November 13th
  • Approx. ten pages
  • Double spaced
  • 12 pt font
  • Paper copy handed in during class, and electronic copy emailed to TA and instructor before class
Grading criteria:
  • Quality of research
  • Insight into computing and society issues
  • Writing
  • Bibliography


For your term paper, you will research an issue about computing and society that you are initially undecided about. In your paper, you will take a position on that issue and support that position. Your paper should be approximately ten pages long. Don't worry if it's a bit longer or shorter--just make sure to cover your issue well. (Just please don't go over twice the suggested length.)

Try to be balanced and fair in your presentation of evidence. You don' t necessarily need to take a strong stance on the issue. If as you research you find you are really undecided, you may instead write about why there is currently not enough evidence available on your issue. You can review all the existing evidence, and in your conclusion outline what sort of empirical research would be desirable to fully understand the issue.

Quality of writing counts. Please try to make your prose clear and readable. Do not use overly formal language, but also do not use colloquialisms. Your textbooks are reasonable models for the desired writing style.

To the greatest extent possible, all statements in your paper should be supported by appropriate references. If you include personal opinion or other sources of data, mark those clearly. Your bibliography should be in APA style. (See appendix of the Writing Arguments book.)

Please avoid citing the same reference over and over. Sometimes we get term papers that are essentially a summary of one source. This does not make a good paper.

Please do NOT write about sharing music and other files online, without special permission of the instructor. In the past, people have had difficulty with this topic. We'll discuss this in class.

You may not write about privacy implications of RFID tags, because so many students have written about this in the past and there are old term papers circulating on campus. Your submitted term paper will be compared to an archive of past term papers.

Reference format
Please use APA format for all references. APA format is described in Appendix 2 of the Writing Arguments textbook, and also here.