Of all the resources we publish on The Learning Network, perhaps it’s our vast collection of writing prompts that is our most widely used resource for teaching and learning with The Times.
This list of 401 prompts (available here in PDF) is now our third iteration of what originally started as 200 prompts for argumentative writing, and it’s intended as a companion resource to help teachers and students participate in our annual Student Editorial Contest. (In 2017, the dates for entering are March 2 to April 4.)
So scroll through the hundreds of prompts below that touch on every aspect of contemporary life — from social media to sports, politics, gender issues and school — and see which ones most inspire you to take a stand. Each question comes from our daily Student Opinion feature, and each provides links to free Times resources for finding more information. And for even more in-depth student discussions on pressing issues like immigration, guns, climate change and race, please visit our fall 2016 Civil Conversation Challenge.
What’s your favorite question on this list? What questions should we ask, but haven’t yet? Tell us in the comments.
And visit our related list as well: 650 Prompts for Narrative and Personal Writing.
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About the Contest
The Lasker Essay Contest engages young scientists and clinicians in a discussion about big questions in biology and medicine, and the role of biomedical research in our society today. The Contest aims to build skills in communicating important medical and scientific issues to broader audiences. The Essay Contest topics are announced annually no later than the second week of February and can be found on this webpage.
The topic of the 2018 Essay Contest is: How can social media help build trust in science and the research enterprise? Your answer should include a discussion of the benefits and challenges of your recommendations.
The deadline to submit all materials is March 30, 2018. Winners will be announced in early July on our web site.
The Contest is open to medical school students, interns, residents, and fellows; doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows in biomedical research; graduate students in public health programs; and graduate students in other health professions programs. The 2018 Essay Contest is open to both US and international applicants, including those from programs outside the US.
First-place award is $10,000 and an expense-paid trip (economy class travel and one-night hotel stay) to New York City to meet the 2018 Lasker Award winners (on September 21, 2018). Second- and third-place prizes are $5000 and $2500, respectively. All monetary prizes are to be used towards educational expenses.
Essays should be of 800 words or less and must be written in English. The file containing the essay should include the essay title and the applicant's name, email, and institutional affiliation. Figures and references are not required but one image (uploaded separately) and up to 10 references (included within the text body) may be submitted. Specific examples from the world of biomedical research should be included in your essay to illustrate your ideas more effectively. Field-specific scientific jargon should be avoided or explained.
Essays will be evaluated based on 1) the innovation of the ideas and proposals and 2) how well these ideas are conveyed, i.e. the quality of writing, style, and clarity. Essays that are not written in English or are longer than 800 words will not be considered.
Subscribe to our Newsletter to receive updates about the Essay Contest program and winners:
2017 essay contest and winners
2016 essay contest and winners
2015 essay contest and winners
2014 essay contest and winners
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