Academic Argument: Adding Your Voice to the Conversation
Overview. Now that you have researched and explained your issue, you are ready to write an argument. The argument you write for this assignment will be an academic, source-based argument. You may use the sources you and your group members found, but you should continue to find new sources to support your argument. Furthermore, your argument should add something unique or new to the conversation, and not just repeat someone else's argument.
Purpose. To convince undecided readers to agree with your argument, or to make opposing readers less resistant to your argument, or to persuade readers who are in agreement with you to take action on your issue.
Audience. The audience for this argument is academic so it includes your instructor, yourself, your peers, and other members of the academic community. An academic audience expects a clear, logical argument that remains focused on proving a thesis. Academic readers expect that an argument is well-researched and that the argument will be supported with evidence. In addition, such readers require full citations for all sources you use. An academic audience also expects writing to be free from errors. You’ll need to consider these expectations, along with your readers’ needs and interests, as you write your argument.
Subject. You should write your argument about the issue you just investigated or on an issue another group in this class just investigated. If you choose your group’s issue, you may use your own sources, your group members’ sources, as well as sources you continue to find. If you choose another group’s issue, you will need to read that group’s explanation to familiarize yourself with the issue. You may use the sources that group found as well as sources you continue to find. Show your readers you have listened to many sides of the conversation on the issue and can effectively address viewpoints that differ from your own.
Author. Present yourself as knowledgeable, fair-minded, credible, and, as appropriate, empathetic person. You do not need to be an expert on your issue to write an argument, but you do need to have confidence in what you do know and believe about it.
Strategies. To achieve your purpose with your audience, be sure to:
Be active in class. We will read sample arguments, discuss argumentation techniques, and work on writing this paper as a process.
Spend time developing a thesis statement and reasons. Be sure you have gathered enough credible and convincing evidence so that you can support your reasons such that they will be convincing to your audience.
Conduct an effective research process by keeping a research log, saving sources on your computer and/or in hard copy and selecting the best sources for your argument. Demonstrate that you have conducted effective inquiry into the issue by using summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting appropriately and by documenting source correctly in MLA style. This will bolster your character appeal with your audience.
Organize your argument and use appeals that suit the rhetorical situation. An effective argument achieves its purpose with its audience and is appropriate for an academic context.
Give yourself enough time to draft.
Take full advantage of the workshop conferences.
Take time to revise and polish your argument.
Format: Your paper should be formatted according to MLA conventions. This includes: MLA-style heading and page numbers, parenthetical citations within your paper for all quotes and paraphrases, and a Works Cited page at the end of your paper. Turn in your argument with other materials specified in class.
Length: 5 to 6 pages double spaced
Sources: At least 4.
Due: Week 12.
Worth: 25% of your course grade.
[Note to GTAs: Develop criteria for grading this assignment and add it to your assignment sheet. Samples and options will be discussed in TART and E607.]