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Instructions for Essay #2 : Argument Essay

Instructions for the Argument Essay
The Argument Essay

Purpose:  To persuade
Audience: Diverse /  Educated adults.
Length: 4-5 pages (1200-1500 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 the New York Times “401 prompts for Argumentative Writing”  Go Here and view the many topics available. 

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
See the assignment calendar for due dates.

NOTE:  The NYTimes.com is not 100% free.  It allows users to access 10 articles per month for free.  Once you reach that limit, the website will ask that you subscribe.  However, as a Richland student, you can access the NYtimes for free.  Click here to sign up.

The attached essay was written for this course in a previous semester.  It is an excellent example of the argumentative research essay that you are required to write for Essay #3.  As you read, notice that the essay begins with a clear, debatable thesis statement.  Also notice that the argument employs both logical and emotional appeals.  If you have been struggling with MLA citations, pay particular attention to how this students uses and cites outside sources.

NOTE: this sample essay does not include the type of visual elements that are required in your final essay.  Refer the the visual rhetoric readings in this unit to guide you in selecting and integrating visual material for your essay.

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Use this link above for article. Then write an argument paper. 

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