Purpose: To persuade
Audience: Diverse / Educated adults.
Length: about 4 pages (1000-1300 words)
Research & Documentation: Minimum of 4 sources with MLA citations
Visual Element: At least one visual element embedded in the essay (chart, graph, photo, etc.)
Your next essay will be an argumentative research essay. Once again I expect you to “join a conversation,” quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing from outside sources, while at the same time making your own individual contribution to the topic. You will choose your topic from either the New York Times “401 prompts for Argumentative Writing” or the New York Times “Room for Debate.”
For each topic there are often links to opinion pieces on the topic. Some topics have more links than others. Read all of the material available and then begin formulating your own argument in response.
In addition to the links on the “401 Topics” pages, you will need to conduct additional research to support your own viewpoint. This research can come from any reputable source, but your best option is to use the databases available through the library. See “Evaluating Sources” for tips on selecting reputable, scholarly sources.
Whichever topic you choose, you will eventually need to develop an argumentative thesis statement that clearly identifies your position on the topic. Remember that a thesis for an argumentative essay should be debatable and should clearly take a stand. Refer to the readings in this section to help you create a debatable thesis statement.
In order to make a good argument, a writer must be aware of opposing viewpoints. In this essay you should, as your reading describes, “plant a naysayer in your text.” This will add to your own credibility and make for a more convincing argument. Of course, you need to refute or accommodate each opposing viewpoint as described in the reading “Skeptics May Object.”
To supplement your argument, you must also include at least one visual element in your essay. The visual element can be a chart, graph, photograph or illustration. The visual should be used in such a way as to support the ideas and arguments in your essay and it should be embedded within the body of your essay (not added as an attachment or link). To help you choose or create a visual element, refer to the reading in this unit on Visual Rhetoric.
Finally, now would be a good time to review the readings from the first half of this course, particularly those on integrating quotations and citing sources. It is not enough to simply meet the research requirement by throwing in a quote here and there. I want to see that you can integrate the ideas of others neatly into your own argument.
When I grade the final draft, I will be looking for your mastery of the following skills:
- Ability to integrate relevant research material
- Integration and refutation of opposing viewpoints
- Use of images to engage, persuade or to quantify numerical data
- Document sources in MLA format
- Construct a convincing argument using a variety of rhetorical appeals