Strategies for Writing
- Audience: For this assignment, the audience is you and I. That is, you need to show me that you're well informed on your issue, and that you understand the different positions people take as well as why they take them.
- Development: Since academic argument requires this understanding of the existing debate, you must show that the positions you've listed are, in fact, valid. This might take the form of summarizing sources, or perhaps involve quoting the sources. In short, you have to use the sources you've found to show that the positions really do exist within the ongoing debate.
- Organization: This assignment does not require that you produce an actual essay. However, do consider what will be the most effective way of organizing your material for audience and yourself. For example, you might describe all three positions, then analyze all three, and then list what you agree/disagree with in each. Or you might describe, analyze and agree/disagree with one position at a time. These are two possibilities, but there are certainly others.
- Analyzing the Positions: Make sure in your analysis to consider a variety of factors that could explain why people take this position. Consider your source and what values/characteristics they might have, but also consider what other values or people might take this position and why. You might try to establish a hierarchy of values - that is, what do people of this position value most? What is their most important concern?
- Agree/Disagree: In discovering and explaining where your own views fall, remember that you do not have to "side" with one position. You might agree with some parts of a position and disagree with others. You might also agree with parts of two or three positions at the same time. Often the most sophisticated arguments effectively combine points from different positions.
- Part II: Be sure to consider what claims and audiences are appropriate to your issue. Don't choose a claim that your audience won't accept. You also wouldn't want to choose an audience that already agrees with you (that wouldn't allow for you to argue at all), or a "fringe" audience that is unlikely to be convinced by your argument no matter how credible and well-supported.