Students, perennially grappling with questions about their safety on campus, are often drawn to the topic of school violence when research is required. This book supplies basic information about school shootings and the raw information required for students to prepare an essay integrating information sources, as well as a number of technical suggestions designed to help a student understand how to frame a cause-and-effect argument supported by pieces of evidence.
This volume treats gun violence in both K-12 and higher education settings, an the many references to Virginia Tech is a reminder of its currency. The first half of the book is made up of six essays, some from nationally syndicated columnists, another from an academic, one taken from a policy brief from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun violence. The essays are straightforward and are heavily elucidated with questions to focus comprehension. Data boxes provide statistical information supporting the arguments advanced. Most students will find the text accessible.
The second half of the book differentiates this Opposing Viewpoints guide to writing a critical essay from other social issues resources. The book takes a look at cause-and-effect argumentation. To this end, the book offers a great deal of technical assistance, a guide to writing an outline from a finished piece of work, and three complete annotated sample essays. Two are the standard five-paragraph length, a third is considerably longer. All three samples use works cited and provide sources, and are well scaffolded by marginalia explaining everything from reasoning to integration of sources. The transparency of the process will make it appeal to teachers and librarians looking to provide a range of assistance in one volume. It can be difficult to demonstrate to students how to transfer argumentation from a source text into our own work, and that process is made explicit here. Elements, such as the thesis statements, introduction, transitions, and embedded support, are explained and emphasized in context. To ensure intellectual honesty, school librarians will want to ensure teachers assigning essays of this variety know about this aspects of the resource.
Perhaps the most useful aspect of the volume is its rich bank of statistical data related to school shootings in the United States and internationally. The data also includes opinion polls around issues underpinning school violence, most relating to the Columbine shootings. There is also some general technical advice about the integration of information sources into new pieces of work. There are lists of sample essay topics, MLA documentation styles for a range of resource types, organizational contact information, a subject index, and a bibliography. What the practically-driven resource lacks in subtly, it more than makes up for in utility. Recommended for school libraries.