Statement of Prospective Claims

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Statement of Prospective Claims about the theme “Free speech on campus”

Purpose: Your first attempt to write about your topic and your guiding questions will most likely be difficult. This statement of prospective claims is the first formal presentation of your knowledge about the topic and your understanding of the source material. Your primary purpose is to write something that will help further your understanding of your claims. Write your prospective statement in an experimental mindset, try to position this statement as one that captures your current understanding of your sources, your arguments, and the questions you are trying to answer. In other words, write something that will guide you as you craft, revise, and sharpen your questions and arguments.

Task: Now that you have annotated your sources, write a short statement in which you illustrate how your sources work together to support your developing arguments.


You may use the following prompts to structure a response that should be written as a short essay. Please use first-person language. You do not have to answer these questions; they are prompts to be used as you see fit.

  • State your guiding questions

-What are my guiding questions?

-How do my sources address these questions? What are their answers?

  • Describe the historical aspects of your topic and guiding questions.

-What cases or ideas do your sources trace back in time to substantiate their arguments about the contemporary problems and questions at hand?

-Can you offer reasons for why the historical aspects are important?

  • Source Integration

-How do my sources talk to or argue with each other?

-How might they fit together to support various argumentative claims?

how and why free speech might protect such views, and what problems this creates. Or, if schools are trying to protect or shields its students from racist or ethnocentric speech (in what ways and contexts?), does this work? Does it protect students? Are there other consequences? You can also try to locate the problem—where, specifically, is this problem occurring? What policy (from a school? multiple schools?) has led to censoring speech, or allowing speech that has been harmful? In what ways?

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