You are writing an argumentative essay in which you take a stand on the issue.   The paper will present a classical argument. 

Topic: You must write an argument that discusses a current controversial issue.  Your specific topic must have a narrow focus – for example, do not try to write on gun control, but you could write an argument on repelling the concealed carry on college campuses law in Texas.

Length: 1800 words MINIMUM, excluding the works cited page.  Papers shorter than the required minimum WILL NOT be graded and WILL earn a zero with no option for revision.

Audience:  You will be writing to a wavering group of your peers.  So, become familiar with the characteristics of your classmates. With a wavering audience you will need to include all three appeals: ethical (ethos), emotional (pathos), and logical (logos).

Point of view: The paper will be written entirely in third person unless you are using a direct quote.  Papers written in first person will receive a 10% (20 point) deduction from the overall grade of the paper.

Format: The paper will use a complete MLA heading rather than a cover sheet.  The paper itself needs to be typed, double-spaced with 1 inch margins.  You must use MLA format for the parenthetical documentation and the works cited page.  Papers without parenthetical documentation and/or a works cited page will receive a failing grade with zero (0) points awarded..  The works cited page is the last page of the paper.

Organization: The paper MUST use the pattern for a classical argument (this is the format required for the outline assignment).  Failure to follow this pattern will result in the paper receiving a failing grade (grade of 50%).  In your paper you will address three points for your side of the argument and two points for the opposition.  You will also need to refute the opposition’s points.  For a classical argument the thesis is usually placed at the end of the introduction.

Sources: Seven (7) sources are required.  General encyclopedias (i.e. Wikipedia, Encarta) are not allowed to be used as source. In addition, you must use at least two different types of sources (print, web, email, interview, video, etc.).  Papers that only use one type of source will receive a 10%-point deduction.

Citations: At least ten (10) in-text citations must be used – quotes, paraphrases, summaries.  No more than one long quote may be used in the paper.  A long quote is one that is four or more complete lines in your paper.  Quotes that exceed 250 words may be used only with the written permission of the author, as quotes longer than 250 words violate fair use copyright laws. Papers that have more than one long/block quote will receive a 10%-point deduction for each additional long/block quote.

Documentation:  All in-text (parenthetical citations must be in correct MLA format.  Also, the works cited page must be in current MLA 2016 format (MLA8).  If you use an outdated MLA format it will impact your grade.  If you use another documentation format (APA, CMS) it will significantly impact your grade as this course requires the use of MLA format. Please refer to the information on MLA documentation that is found in the course or click on the link to Purdue OWL MLA information:  https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

Classical argument format:

  • Introductions (may define terms, provide statistics, give background information, give historical information, and provide examples).  The introduction may be one to three paragraphs in length.
  • Thesis – must be placed in the introduction, usually at the end.  The thesis must indicate the position the paper will take on the issue.
  • Main point supporting the thesis – take time to fully detail and explain this reason
  • Main point supporting the thesis – take time to fully detail and explain this second reason
  • Opposition’s main point – present one of the strongest reasons the opposition has against the thesis
  • Refutation – take time to explain the problems with the opposition’s point or acknowledge it is valid
  • Opposition’s main point – present another strong reason the opposition has against the thesis
  • Refutation – take time to explain the problems with the opposition’s point or acknowledge it is valid
  • Main point supporting the thesis – present the strongest reason in support of the thesis
  • Conclusion

Hint: When writing to a wavering audience it is best to start with your weakest point and end with your strongest point. Also, when presenting the opposition, it is best to present their strongest points.

Learning Objectives:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of individual and collaborative research processes.
  • Develop ideas and synthesize primary and secondary sources within focused academic arguments, including one or more research-based essays.
  • Write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and inspires belief or action.
  • Apply the conventions of style manuals for specific academic disciplines (e. g., APA, CMS, MLA, etc.
 
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