Purpose: To persuade
Audience: Diverse / Educated adults.
Length: 3-4 pages (900-1200 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. I encourage you to explore topics from the New York Times “100 Questions for Persuasive Writing.” However, I will allow you to choose a topic that is interesting and important to you. I recommend that you avoid overused topics like abortion, gun control, death penalty, etc. Instead, look for a topic that is timely and immediatly relevant to your life.
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 branch out and conduct research on your own. You can use the internet and the library databases to conduct your research. As you are conducting your research, be sure to view the videos in this unit and the previous unit on evaluating internet 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 unit to help you create a debatable thesis statement.
In addition to finding research that supports your thesis, a convincing argument must demonstrate awareness 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 readings 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 draft a strong, debatable thesis statement
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