Awareness of the audience to whom you are speaking. Assignment Description
For this essay, you should choose a topic from the Gale resource on Opposing Viewpoints (see below) and write a 4-5 page essay that argues a clearly defined position about that topic. The essay should have an introduction that has a clear thesis statement and demonstrates the relevance of your topic, several body paragraphs that each make focused claims, and a conclusion.
In upper level courses, you will often be asked to demonstrate your ability to converse with other scholars in your field. Your job is to change the reader’s mind about a particular subject and persuade the reader into believing your argument. Your paper must be written so that it is accessible to readers from a different perspective. In other words, be fair and unbiased when acknowledging what others say about your topic, but then prove why they are wrong using logical reasons and credible evidence. In this essay, you must synthesize various sources while persuading the reader to accept your viewpoint. You do not want to simply report what others are saying, but engage in a dialogue with them.
Purpose and Learning Objectives
The purpose of this assignment is to practice persuasive writing and synthesis of sources. You will increase your critical thinking skills by analyzing yours and others’ assumptions, evaluating multiple perspectives, and developing a clear position. Writing, research, and eloquent written expression are vital for a successful future. You will express all of these skills in this assignment. This essay will be used as the English department assessment for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s mandated core curriculum assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (SLO). This essay will address the SLO objectives of critical thinking and written communication.
Your research paper should demonstrate the following learning objectives:
- Awareness of the audience to whom you are speaking
- Awareness of the purpose of your argument
- Ability to enter into a scholarly conversation
- Ability to write a qualified and narrow argumentative thesis statement
- Ability to synthesize information from various sources
- Ability to craft an argument with different types of relevant, credible, and detailed support
- Ability to research and identify academic sources
- Ability to summarize, paraphrase, and quote while citing correctly in MLA to avoid plagiarism
- Ability to converse in standard, academic English
- 1,200-1,500 word essay (4-5 pages)
- An interesting and informative title
- A clearly stated thesis in the introduction that articulates your position and what you want to argue in your paper.
- Logical and clear reasons supporting your argument
- A document formatted in correct MLA format
- 5 sources (peer-reviewed journals, books, and reliable web sources)
- One of your sources must disagree with your argument and be used to create a counterargument. A counterargument occurs when you show what the opposing side claims and then refutes that side. For instance, if I am arguing that public schools should require children to be vaccinated unless a documented medical reason prohibits vaccination, then I might cite a source that argues that vaccinations are dangerous. I would show one or two main reasons the source gives and then show why those reasons are invalid as I prove my point about the need for vaccines.
- A refutation of opposing arguments (in the counterargument)
- A synthesis of sources; do not simply summarize your source material, but show how they are connected and respond to them.
- A works cited page in MLA format with corresponding in-text citations. The works cited page should be included in the same document as your essay.
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