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Exploratory Essay

Purpose: The exploratory essay builds on the inquiry essay by having you look at and contribute to a range of arguments rather than just one at a time. Whereas the inquiry essay introduced you to a debate by looking at one argument a time, the exploratory essay asks you to widen your vision to the whole conversation. Here are some of the goals of the assignment:

--To continue learning to analyze arguments, but this time on a macro rather than micro level.

--To learn how to discover common points and similarities and differences among a range of arguments on a particular issue.

--To discover your position on that issue in relation to the other arguments.

Audience: Consider this audience to be the same as the one you wrote for in the inquiry essay.

Organization: See pp. 60-61 in Aims for shaping/organizational strategies. Otherwise, as long as the elements of the essay are all present and your organization is clear and easy to follow, the guidelines are open.

Requirements: Read in Aims, pp. 59-73; also read, annotate, and analyze (recall Toulmin) the selected essays from Part Two.

--Select three of those essays for this assignment.

--3-5 double-spaced computer processed/typed pages

--Again, I will ask for all rough drafts and workshop sheets when I collect the intervention draft.


--Thursday, February 8: In-class role play based on the arguments in the selected chapter determining common themes

--Tuesday, February 13: Continue working with common issues, developing and discussing your own position.

--Thursday, February 15: Bring complete typed draft for workshop.

--Tuesday, February 20: Intervention draft due

Grading criteria: Consider the following questions when drafting this essay. These are some of the issues I will consider for evaluation.

1. Focus: Does the essay focus on specific common issues between the essays? Does the essay follow these themes or does it drift into larger or indirectly related issues?

2. Organization: Is the progression of this essay user friendly? That is, is it logically organized and easy to follow?

3. Coherence: Does the essay flow smoothly, with clear, connecting transitions, or are there abrupt, unpredictable jumps from one point to the next?

4. Development: Is there enough information provided to give the audience a clear, thorough sense of the issues, agreements, and disagreements at hand? Is your own position developed and supported with specific examples?