Overview of Unit Three: Formulating a Written Argument

In Unit Three you will apply the analysis skills you practiced in Unit Two, this time toward the end of advancing your own position on a controversial issue related to a topic chosen by your instructor.

On the basis of assigned course readings, class discussions, and initial library research, you will choose a specific issue of interest to you that falls within the larger class topic area. You will spend the first part of this Unit discovering (through research) the context of the argument you are making: why this is currently a topic of interest, who is participating in the debate, what these participants are saying about the topic (what positions they are taking), how they are presenting their positions to their intended audiences, and how they choose to support the positions they are taking. By looking at the variety of arguments or positions that can be taken on the issue, you will have a more educated and informed understanding of your own position as it relates to the larger debate. By analyzing the ways that other participants in this debate are presenting their positions, you will be able to better present your own position to the audience you have in mind.

Midway through the unit, you will begin work on a focused argument about the issue you've been exploring. In your Arguing Proposal Packet, you will present and evaluate a variety of positions that authors have taken on the issue (by way of an annotated bibliography of at least 8 sources), define your own position in a cover sheet which discusses the relationship between this position and the others you have researched, present a tentative claim which articulates this position formally, analyze the claim, and analyze the audience to whom you will be directing your argument.

Your Arguing Essay is the major assignment for Unit Three. In this essay, you'll craft a focused argument about a narrowly defined issue related to your class topic. Your essay will build on the work you have done in producing your Arguing Proposal Packet and Argumentative Brief (a rough outline or sketch of your argument). Throughout the process of developing your ideas for the essay and writing drafts, you will be expected to work with your classmates to refine your ideas and to provide adequate support for those ideas. As a result, peer review activities and collaborative work will play a major role in your success with this assignment.

Your goals in this unit are to familiarize yourself with a specific issue related to your class topic, to gain an understanding of the purposes, techniques, and skills used by writers who debate that issue, and to hone your skills as a writer of academic arguments. Some of the skills you'll focus on in Unit Three include:

Copyright © 1997 Colorado State University