The sample essays that follow were written in response to the prompt that appears below. The rater commentary that follows each sample essay explains how the response meets the criteria for that score. For a more complete understanding of the criteria for each score point, see the "Analyze an Issue" Scoring Guide.
As people rely more and more on technology to solve problems, the ability of humans to think for themselves will surely deteriorate.
Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.
Note: All responses are reproduced exactly as written, including errors, misspellings, etc., if any.
Essay Response — Score 6
The statement linking technology negatively with free thinking plays on recent human experience over the past century. Surely there has been no time in history where the lived lives of people have changed more dramatically. A quick reflection on a typical day reveals how technology has revolutionized the world. Most people commute to work in an automobile that runs on an internal combustion engine. During the workday, chances are high that the employee will interact with a computer that processes information on silicon bridges that are .09 microns wide. Upon leaving home, family members will be reached through wireless networks that utilize satellites orbiting the earth. Each of these common occurrences could have been inconceivable at the turn of the 19th century.
The statement attempts to bridge these dramatic changes to a reduction in the ability for humans to think for themselves. The assumption is that an increased reliance on technology negates the need for people to think creatively to solve previous quandaries. Looking back at the introduction, one could argue that without a car, computer, or mobile phone, the hypothetical worker would need to find alternate methods of transport, information processing and communication. Technology short circuits this thinking by making the problems obsolete.
However, this reliance on technology does not necessarily preclude the creativity that marks the human species. The prior examples reveal that technology allows for convenience. The car, computer and phone all release additional time for people to live more efficiently. This efficiency does not preclude the need for humans to think for themselves. In fact, technology frees humanity to not only tackle new problems, but may itself create new issues that did not exist without technology. For example, the proliferation of automobiles has introduced a need for fuel conservation on a global scale. With increasing energy demands from emerging markets, global warming becomes a concern inconceivable to the horse-and-buggy generation. Likewise dependence on oil has created nation-states that are not dependent on taxation, allowing ruling parties to oppress minority groups such as women. Solutions to these complex problems require the unfettered imaginations of maverick scientists and politicians.
In contrast to the statement, we can even see how technology frees the human imagination. Consider how the digital revolution and the advent of the internet has allowed for an unprecedented exchange of ideas. WebMD, a popular internet portal for medical information, permits patients to self research symptoms for a more informed doctor visit. This exercise opens pathways of thinking that were previously closed off to the medical layman. With increased interdisciplinary interactions, inspiration can arrive from the most surprising corners. Jeffrey Sachs, one of the architects of the UN Millenium Development Goals, based his ideas on emergency care triage techniques. The unlikely marriage of economics and medicine has healed tense, hyperinflation environments from South America to Eastern Europe.
This last example provides the most hope in how technology actually provides hope to the future of humanity. By increasing our reliance on technology, impossible goals can now be achieved. Consider how the late 20th century witnessed the complete elimination of smallpox. This disease had ravaged the human race since prehistorical days, and yet with the technology of vaccines, free thinking humans dared to imagine a world free of smallpox. Using technology, battle plans were drawn out, and smallpox was systematically targeted and eradicated.
Technology will always mark the human experience, from the discovery of fire to the implementation of nanotechnology. Given the history of the human race, there will be no limit to the number of problems, both new and old, for us to tackle. There is no need to retreat to a Luddite attitude to new things, but rather embrace a hopeful posture to the possibilities that technology provides for new avenues of human imagination.
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 6
The author of this essay stakes out a clear and insightful position on the issue and follows the specific instructions by presenting reasons to support that position. The essay cogently argues that technology does not decrease our ability to think for ourselves, but merely provides "additional time for people to live more efficiently." In fact, the problems that have developed alongside the growth of technology (pollution, political unrest in oil-producing nations) actually call for more creative thinking, not less.
In further examples, the essay shows how technology allows for the linking of ideas that may never have been connected in the past (like medicine and economic models), pushing people to think in new ways. Examples are persuasive and fully developed; reasoning is logically sound and well supported.
Ideas in the essay are connected logically, with effective transitions used both between paragraphs ("However" or "In contrast to the statement") and within paragraphs. Sentence structure is varied and complex and the essay clearly demonstrates facility with the "conventions of standard written English (i.e., grammar, usage and mechanics)," with only minor errors appearing. Thus, this essay meets all the requirements for receiving a top score, a 6.
Essay Response — Score 5
Surely many of us have expressed the following sentiment, or some variation on it, during our daily commutes to work: "People are getting so stupid these days!" Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe that technology has isolated and infantilized us, essentally transforming us into dependent, conformist morons best equipped to sideswip one another in our SUV's.
Furthermore, hanging around with the younger, pre-commute generation, whom tech-savviness seems to have rendered lethal, is even less reassuring. With "Teen People" style trends shooting through the air from tiger-striped PDA to zebra-striped PDA, and with the latest starlet gossip zipping from juicy Blackberry to teeny, turbo-charged cell phone, technology seems to support young people's worst tendencies to follow the crowd. Indeed, they have seemingly evolved into intergalactic conformity police. After all, today's tech-aided teens are, courtesy of authentic, hands-on video games, literally trained to kill; courtesy of chat and instant text messaging, they have their own language; they even have tiny cameras to efficiently photodocument your fashion blunders! Is this adolescence, or paparazzi terrorist training camp?
With all this evidence, it's easy to believe that tech trends and the incorporation of technological wizardry into our everyday lives have served mostly to enforce conformity, promote dependence, heighten comsumerism and materialism, and generally create a culture that values self-absorption and personal entitlement over cooperation and collaboration. However, I argue that we are merely in the inchoate stages of learning to live with technology while still loving one another. After all, even given the examples provided earlier in this essay, it seems clear that technology hasn't impaired our thinking and problem-solving capacities. Certainly it has incapacitated our behavior and manners; certainly our values have taken a severe blow. However, we are inarguably more efficient in our badness these days. We're effective worker bees of ineffectiveness!
If T\technology has so increased our senses of self-efficacy that we can become veritable agents of the awful, virtual CEO's of selfishness, certainly it can be beneficial. Harnessed correctly, technology can improve our ability to think and act for ourselves. The first challenge is to figure out how to provide technology users with some direly-needed direction.
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 5
The language of this essay clearly illustrates both its strengths and weaknesses. The flowery and sometimes uncannily keen descriptions are often used to powerful effect, but at other times, the writing is awkward and the comparisons somewhat strained. See, for example, the ungainly sequence of independent clauses in the second-to-last sentence of paragraph 2 ("After all, today's tech-aided teens ...").
There is consistent evidence of facility with syntax and complex vocabulary ("Surrounded as we are by striding and strident automatons with cell phones glued to their ears, PDA's gripped in their palms, and omniscient, omnipresent CNN gleaming in their eyeballs, it's tempting to believe..."). However, such lucid prose is sometimes countered by an over-reliance on abstractions and reasoning that is not entirely effective. For example, what does the fact that video games "literally train [teens] to kill" have to do with the use or deterioration of thinking abilities? On the whole, however, the response develops its ideas about the ways that technology can promote isolation and conformity with well-chosen examples, even if its ideas about the positive effects of technology are less successfully realized.
Because this essay provides generally thoughtful analysis and takes a complex approach to the issue (arguing, in effect, that technology neither enhances nor reduces our ability to think for ourselves, but can do one or the other, depending on the user) and because the author makes use of "appropriate vocabulary and sentence variety," a score of 5 is appropriate.
Essay Response — Score 4
In all actuality, I think it is more probable that our bodies will surely deteriorate long before our minds do in any significant amount. Who can't say that technology has made us lazier, but that's the key word, lazy, not stupid. The ever increasing amount of technology that we incorporate into our daily lives makes people think and learn every day, possibly more than ever before. Our abilities to think, learn, philosophize, etc. may even reach limits never dreamed of before by average people. Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race.
If you think about it, using technology to solve more complicating problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning, opening up whole new worlds for many people. Many of these people are glad for the chance to expand their horizons by learning more, going to new places, and trying new things. If it wasn't for the invention of new technological devices, I wouldn't be sitting at this computer trying to philosophize about technology. It would be extremely hard for children in much poorer countries to learn and think for themselves with out the invention of the internet. Think what an impact the printing press, a technologically superior mackine at the time, had on the ability of the human race to learn and think.
Right now we are seeing a golden age of technology, using it all the time during our every day lives. When we get up there's instant coffee and the microwave and all these great things that help us get ready for our day. But we aren't allowing our minds to deteriorate by using them, we are only making things easier for ourselves and saving time for other important things in our days. Going off to school or work in our cars instead of a horse and buggy. Think of the brain power and genius that was used to come up with that single invention that has changed the way we move across this globe.
Using technology to solve our continually more complicated problems as a human race is definately a good thing. Our ability to think for ourselves isn't deteriorating, it's continuing to grow, moving on to higher though functions and more ingenious ideas. The ability to use what technology we have is an example
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 4
This essay meets all the criteria of a level-4 essay. The writer develops a clear position ("Using technology to solve problems will continue to help us realize our potential as a human race"). The position is then developed with relevant reasons ("using technology to solve more complicat[ed] problems gives humans a chance to expand their thinking and learning" and "we are seeing a golden age of technology").
Point 1, "using technology," is supported with the simple but relevant notion that technology allows us access to information and abilities to which we would not normally have access. Similarly, point 2, the "golden age," is supported by the basic description of our technologically saturated social condition. Though the overall development and organization of the essay does suffer from an occasional misdirection (see paragraph 3's abrupt progression from coffee pots to the benefits of technology to cars), the essay as a whole flows smoothly and logically from one idea to the next.
It is useful to compare this essay to the level-3 essay presented next. Though both essays entail some surface-level discussion and often fail to probe deeply into the issue, this writer does take the analysis a step further. In paragraph 2, the distinction between this essay and the next one (the level-3 response) can most clearly be seen. To support the notion that advances in technology actually help increase thinking ability, the writer draws a clever parallel between the promise of modern, sophisticated technology (computer) and the actual "impact" of equally "promising" and pervasive technologies of the past (printing press).
Like the analysis, the language in this essay clearly meets the requirements for a score of 4. The writer displays sufficient control of language and the conventions of standard written English. The preponderance of mistakes are of a cosmetic nature ("trying to solve more complicating problems."). In general, these errors are minor and do not interfere with the clarity of the ideas being presented.
Essay Response — Score 3
There is no current proof that advancing technology will deteriorate the ability of humans to think. On the contrary, advancements in technology had advanced our vast knowledge in many fields, opening opportunities for further understanding and achievement. For example, the problem of dibilitating illnesses and diseases such as alzheimer's disease is slowing being solved by the technological advancements in stem cell research. The future ability of growing new brain cells and the possibility to reverse the onset of alzheimer's is now becoming a reality. This shows our initiative as humans to better our health demonstrates greater ability of humans to think.
One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds is the use of internet and cell phones. In the past humans had to seek out information in many different enviroments and aspects of life. Now humans can sit in a chair and type anything into a computer and get an answer. Our reliance on this type of technology can be detrimental if not regulated and regularily substituted for other information sources such as human interactions and hands on learning. I think if humans understand that we should not have such a reliance on computer technology, that we as a species will advance further by utilizing the opportunity of computer technology as well as the other sources of information outside of a computer. Supplementing our knowledge with internet access is surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race.
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 3
This essay never moves beyond a superficial discussion of the issue. The writer attempts to develop two points: that advancements in technology have progressed our knowledge in many fields and that supplementing rather than relying on technology is "surely a way for technology to solve problems while continually advancing the human race." Each point, then, is developed with relevant but insufficient evidence. In discussing the potential of technology to advance knowledge in many fields (a broad subject, rife with possible examples), the writer uses only one limited and very brief example from a specific field (medicine and stem-cell research).
Development of the second point is hindered by a lack of specificity and organization. The writer creates what might be best described as an outline. The writer cites a need for regulation/supplementation and warns of the detriment of over-reliance upon technology. However, the explanation of both the problem and solution is vague and limited ("Our reliance ... can be detrimental. If humans understand that we should not have such a reliance ... we will advance further"). There is neither explanation of consequences nor clarification of what is meant by "supplementing." This second paragraph is a series of generalizations that are loosely connected and lack a much-needed grounding.
In the essay, there are some minor language errors and a few more serious flaws (e.g., "The future ability of growing new brain cells" or "One aspect where the ability of humans may initially be seen as an example of deteriorating minds"). Despite the accumulation of such flaws, the writer's meaning is generally clear. Thus, this essay earns a score of 3.
Essay Response — Score 2
In recent centuries, humans have developed the technology very rapidly, and you may accept some merit of it, and you may see a distortion in society occured by it. To be lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in thesedays. There are many symptoms and resons of it. However, I can not agree with the statement that the technology make humans to be reluctant to thinkng thoroughly.
Of course, you can see the phenomena of human laziness along with developed technology in some place. However, they would happen in specific condition, not general. What makes human to be laze of thinking is not merely technology, but the the tendency of human that they treat them as a magic stick and a black box. Not understanding the aims and theory of them couses the disapproval problems.
The most important thing to use the thechnology, regardless the new or old, is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them, and to adapt suit tech to tasks in need. Even if you recognize a method as a all-mighty and it is extremely over-spec to your needs, you can not see the result you want. In this procedure, humans have to consider as long as possible to acquire adequate functions. Therefore, humans can not escape from using their brain.
In addition, the technology as it is do not vain automatically, the is created by humans. Thus, the more developed tech and the more you want a convenient life, the more you think and emmit your creativity to breakthrough some banal method sarcastically.
Consequently, if you are not passive to the new tech, but offensive to it, you would not lose your ability to think deeply. Furthermore, you may improve the ability by adopting it.
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 2
The language of this essay is what most clearly links it to the score of 2. Amidst sporadic moments of clarity, this essay is marred by serious errors in grammar, usage and mechanics that often interfere with meaning. It is unclear what the writer means when he/she states, "To be lazy for human in some meaning is one of the fashion issues in thesedays," or "to adapt suit tech to tasks in need."
Despite such severe flaws, the writer has made an obvious attempt to respond to the prompt ("I can not agree with the statement that the technology make humans to be reluctant to thinking thoroughly") as well as an unclear attempt to support such an assertion ("Not understanding the aims and theory of them [technology] couses the disapproval problems" and "The most important thing to use the thechnology ... is to comprehend the fundamental idea of them"). On the whole, the essay displays a seriously flawed but not fundamentally deficient attempt to develop and support its claims.
(Note: In this specific case, the analysis is tied directly to the language. As the language falters, so too does the analysis.)
Essay Response — Score 1
Humans have invented machines but they have forgot it and have started everything technically so clearly their thinking process is deterioating.
Rater Commentary for Essay Response — Score 1
The essay is clearly on topic, as evidenced by the writer's usage of the more significant terms from the prompt: "technically" (technologically), "humans," "thinking" (think) and "deteriorating" (deteriorate). Such usage is the only clear evidence of understanding. Meaning aside, the brevity of the essay (one sentence) clearly indicates the writer's inability to develop a response that follows the specific instructions given ("Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement above and explain your reasoning for the position you take").
The language, too, is clearly level 1, as the sentence fails to achieve coherence. The coherent phrases in this one-sentence response are those tied to the prompt: "Humans have invented machines" and "their thinking process is deteriorating." Otherwise, the point being made is unintelligible.
Virginia Kearney 4 days agofrom United States
That is an interesting question Oni, and I think you could possibly write a good paper about that. You could actually try an even broader question: How can the Internet Of Things be used to help in disease control?
Oni Anu 5 days ago
Is it possible to use Internet Of Things for disease control surveillance system?
Virginia Kearney 5 days agofrom United States
Hi Paola, you are right that you need to narrow the topic and one of the ways to do this is to turn it into a question which then can have several possible answers. Your answer will be the thesis. Here are some ideas:
How can parents best monitor their children's use of media?
How much online time should children have each day?
What are the risks of using the Internet that parents need to know?
Paola 7 days ago
I am trying to do a research paper on technology. The question that I came up with is: Are Parents Underestimating Children’s Risky Online
Experiences? I feel as if this question is way too broad. There are parents that are aware of how risky online experiences can be or are!
Can someone help me narrow it down?
Virginia Kearney 10 days agofrom United States
Hi Layla, I think you've written two good questions. I don't know whether these would be hard to research. The first question is descriptive and would be an explaining paper. The second paper is an evaluation. You could also do something like: How has social media changed the way the government and governed people communicate? How has Twitter changed the way people think about government? Do people know more or less now about their government than before there was technology and social media?
laylalankford 11 days ago
Aloha! I am looking for a research topic for Technology and Government. I came up with
How are technologies changing the way people interact with government entities.
Are cellphones and computers enabling us to communicate effectively with government.
I am not positive if these are strong topics to do a research paper on. Any advice or suggestions?
Virginia Kearney 2 weeks agofrom United States
A variety of topics could be done on concrete civil engineering. Here are a few:
What is the best way to make concrete earthquake safe?
How is smart concrete changing the way civil engineers design their projects? Smart concrete has dormant bacteria spores along with calcium lactate which fills in cracks and self-heals the concrete.
Is smart concrete really better?
How can concrete be used in zero energy buildings?
Virginia Kearney 2 weeks agofrom United States
Hi Sarah, you can narrow your topic by talking about either one particular kind of social network, like Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Another way to narrow the topic is to talk about what kind of information, such as political action, current news, disaster preparedness, or even a very specific situation like school shootings.
vivek behera 2 weeks ago
tell me some topic related to concrete technology related to civil engineering
Sarah 2 weeks ago
Hi, I also need a help for narrowing the topic because my teacher thinks it is kind of wide. I proposed for my topic to be "The impact of social networks on dissemination of information" but he wants me to narrow it and I don't really know how.
Virginia Kearney 3 weeks agofrom United States
Hi William, you probably want to add something about what they are hacking. If students are your focus group, then you might want to add what they hack, such as school records, or their grades.
William 3 weeks ago
Hi, could you help me narrower the topic please? My topic is to do a research to investigate the perception of hacking among student, but my teacher say it is too wide range.
Virginia Kearney 3 weeks agofrom United States
Hi Jencee, you could do a topic like: What is the best IT school for _____(pick an It major)?
Why do IT students need to take courses in English?
What is the difference between online and traditional IT schools?
Which IT major do most female students prefer?
How can more females be attracted to IT careers?
Jencee 3 weeks ago
Hello, I like your ideas but I'm still having problems about choosing a research topic. Can you help me? My teacher told us to think of what we could research about IT students or IT schools.. Thank you!
Virginia Kearney 4 weeks agofrom United States
1. How does technology use change the way a business (state a type of business) practice?
2. What is the best new technology to develop alternative energy businesses?
3. How can using new technologies help a restaurant business improve efficiency and customer service?
Showkat Ahmed 4 weeks ago
suggest me some topics about technologies and businesses???
Virginia Kearney 7 weeks agofrom United States
Hi Jerick, the science of criminology is also called forensics. The topics in this article are for research rather than experimenting. For an experiment topic, you might want to do something about trying to pick up fingerprints from different surfaces. You would have to look up how to pick up fingerprints first. This is not hard to do. My kids did this at a science museum. Then you would test different surfaces like paper, glass, wood, metal etc. The question could be "which surface is the easiest to get a clear fingerprint from?" If you do this experiment, please come back and tell me how it went!
jerick 7 weeks ago
hi ma'am, can you help us? were constructing a topic on our research but its difficult. the instruction of our teacher is, it must be apply with experimenting based on our course and my course is about criminology. thank you
Virginia Kearney 3 months agofrom United States
Ian and Aye--I'd suggest that you look at my other articles, especially the one that gives science essay ideas.
Ian and Aye 3 months ago
Hello maam! Can you help us? We are having a difficulty on choosing our topic and constructing a title for it. We are Education students major in Biology. Can you please give or suggest some qualitative research or topics? We are from Philippines and we need your help.
Virginia Kearney 3 months agofrom United States
Hi Ariemar, any of the questions here would make a good title. You can shorten it a bit. I like using questions for a title because it makes the reader interested in the answer, and therefore more open to reading your paper. Perhaps you could use, "Is Social Media Use Harmful to Students?"
IBUY 3 months ago
Hi. Its a wide range of good gopics but can I ask for your suggestion of research topics about engineering?
Mehak 4 months ago
i want to know some useful topics about educational technology
KRISHNA MAHATO 4 months ago
thanks for your topics
mae 5 months ago
good topics about digital learning please.
sebastian 6 months ago
marine Technology for good topic?
Meseret Tadesse from Ethiopia,wsu. 7 months ago
thank! for your topics and idea.
Virginia Kearney 7 months agofrom United States
Hi ASD, you would need to narrow down your topic and idea in order to find a good title. You might want to look at my other topic ideas in my other articles on Science ideas.
Philip 7 months ago
This list was super helpful, there are some great ideas and topics to write about...thanks for publishing this.
Virginia Kearney 8 months agofrom United States
Hi Ariane--check out my other ideas on science topics by looking at my profile or searching on the site for my other articles. Here are a few ideas: What are the advantages of Free Space Optics? How is the Philippines most vulnerable to cyber attacks? How can we better protect our data from hackers?
Ariane 8 months ago
Hi good day! May I ask your help?? Help me find the best title for my research..my course is information system. About the computer system..I'm from Philippines..thank you ma'am
Virginia Kearney 8 months agofrom United States
Hi, Thea--Look at my article on Science Research Topics. Find the link either in the sidebar or on my profile page.
Thea 8 months ago
I need a research topic about science. A topic which is similar to investigatory project or science project.
Virginia Kearney 8 months agofrom United States
Thanks, Allie, You might want to check my article about science topics. In reality, most of chemical engineering is moving over to computational engineering and nanotechnology. So a good topic might be, "how is computational engineering changing chemical engineering" or "how is the chemical engineering profession changing?" Many colleges are actually dropping the name "chemical engineering" entirely.
Allie 8 months ago
The suggested topics given are all good. But can you also please give me an example of a research topic about chemical engineering? Its for my research paper in K12.
Virginia Kearney 9 months agofrom United States
Hi Mitch- for robotics and computer science topics, you might want to try: How will nanobots change biology? Are smart houses safe? Is facial recognition software making privacy impossible? How should we allow facial recognition software to be used? Is it a good idea for us to move everything to the cloud? What careers will robots take over in the next 20 years?
mitch 9 months ago
can you give an example of a research topic about robots or computer science?
Virginia Kearney 12 months agofrom United States
Des, for younger students, it is a good idea to pick a topic that they can research with videos as well as well as articles. I'd suggest going to YouTube and searching for educational videos on bread and pastry. That might give you some ideas. You also might want to start with a kitchen science type of approach. Then start with a question that students can look for to answer. For example, "What are the different ways to make bread around the world?" or "What are the different ways to make bread rise?" or "What is the history of sourdough bread?"
I'm Des 12 months ago
Do you have some techniques in formulating research titles for specialized subjects in K to 12, most specially about bread and pastry. Your help and suggestion will be much appreciated. Thank you.
Virginia Kearney 17 months agofrom United States
Hi Restituto--I have everything you would need to write a research paper here on HubPages. Look for "Problem Solution paper" and "Research Essay."
restituto 17 months ago
hi! can you help me for my research paper which is all about in technology that affects in colleges student and how we solve it.. thanks!
sanjay 18 months ago
super, great job. Thank you. This can be a lifesaver :)
Virginia Kearney 21 months agofrom United States
Hi Madhavi--I don't understand why you would be running out of time trying to choose a Ph.D proposal. Generally, you should be working that out with the professor in charge of your research. However, I do think that this is something that people are actually researching on right now in education and probably this could be a general topic area for your research. However, you would need a narrow and specific focus for a Ph.D. along with specific areas of learning you would be examining.
MADHAVI 21 months ago
Hi,I would like to confirm about one essay topic of above mentioned...i.e..How important is it that schools teach using ipads,smart boards,social media and other new technologies?... is it a research topic which can be picked up for a phd research proposal????
PLz help me by responding immediately on this..am running out of time..
Doris James-MizBejabbers 2 years ago