Appendix 28: Arguing Essay

The Arguing Essay combines the skills and ideas you have been learning and practicing up to this point in the course. You will investigate an issue related to our course topic, choose appropriate sources, and argue for your position on this narrowly defined issue. .

Goals of the Assignment

The goals for this assignment are to learn and practice the following:

Subject of the Essay

The subject of this essay is a debatable issue related to our course topic. All topics need instructor approval. If you change your topic after you submit your proposal, please see me immediately! NOTE TO INSTRUCTORS: YOU WILL NEED TO MAKE THIS SECTION MORE SPECIFIC, WITH ADDED INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR OWN COURSE TOPIC.

Purpose of the Essay

To argue in support of a debatable, narrow, supportable claim (or combination of claims) of fact, value, policy, or cause-effect.


In this essay, you will be addressing an audience appropriate to the issue you are arguing about. This audience must be specific, not a vague, abstract category like "the general public" or "voters." By the time you begin constructing your argument, you will have analyzed and drawn conclusions about your audience, in preparation for deciding how to address them most effectively. Remember when choosing an audience that you will need to argue to a group of people who need to hear your argument in order to think the same way you do--not a group of people who already agree with you. In other words, to use a familiar saying, avoid "preaching to the choir."


After your proposal is returned, you will articulate your position clearly as your claim, come up with convincing reasons to support this claim, practice anticipating and refuting opposing arguments, prepare an argumentative brief in which you represent your argument in outline form, learn MLA documentation, analyze written arguments, discuss appropriate use of appeals (including avoiding logical fallacies), have at least one peer review workshop, and have opportunities for instructor feedback in the process of writing this paper.




Focus on your position on a narrowly defined issue relevant to our course topic. Clearly state an overall claim of fact, policy, value, or cause-effect.

Develop your paper to support your claim with sound reasoning; an appropriate balance of logical, character, and emotional appeals; and relevant, sufficient evidence from your research and experience. (All of this information will be chosen based on the expectations of your intended audience.)

Organize the paper to accommodate the rhetorical situation. Choose a pattern of organization that not only enhances readability but also makes the greatest impact on your audience given your purpose. Write in a style that demonstrates sensitivity to audience, subject, and occasion.

Introduce and Refute opposing arguments where necessary and appropriate.

Demonstrate through all your choices in writing this paper an understanding of rhetorical context (audience and purpose).

Note: While your opinions are valuable starting points, remember that they must be explained and supported to be convincing to your audience. The most important thing to avoid in written argument is simple assertion without support.


The requirements for this essay include: