Arguing Essay Assignment
Due: December 10, 1998, at the beginning of class
The Arguing Essay builds on 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 general topic of technology and education, choose appropriate sources, and argue for your position on a narrowly defined issue. You will address an audience consisting of people who have been arguing about this issue in the sources you’ve read.
Goals of the Assignment
The goals for this assignment are to learn and practice the following:
- demonstrating an understanding of the approaches to an issue based on the previous work you've done in this unit
- defining, analyzing, and responding to a particular rhetorical context by evaluating and choosing appropriate sources
- synthesizing material from a variety of sources, including written texts, personal experience, and, if appropriate, field research
- making a sufficiently narrow claim and supporting a claim with sound reasoning and evidence
- documenting sources using MLA in-text documentation and a works cited page
Strategies: In this essay, you should employ the following strategies to accomplish your goals as a writer:
- Introduce the issue you are addressing by providing appropriate context to the reader -- e.g., an introduction that frames the issue and shows your interest in it.
- Show that you are accountable to your readers (and to the issue) by identifying and briefly defining the key approaches to the issue.
- Briefly critique the approaches with which you disagree.
- Contribute something new to the conversation (the debates that have been taking place in the sources you’ve read) by identifying and defining your position on the issue. In general, taking a position on an issue can involve activities such as suggesting a new approach to the issue, offering a solution to a problem, suggesting that writers have misconceptualized the problem, offering a new definition of the problem or issue, or clarifying a position taken by other authors. Your position should, regardless of the form it takes, bring something new to the conversation.
- Develop your contribution/position with appropriate evidence and support. For instance, if you are suggesting a solution to a problem, indicate what it would take to implement the solution.
- Conclude your essay by doing more than simply summarizing what you’ve said so far. In general, try to leave your reader with something to think about after they’ve read your essay.
Format: Length: 5-8 pages. Type your essay in a readable, 12 point standard font (please, no script or italics). Use margins of one-inch all around and double-space. Print on an ink jet or laser printer.
Grading Criteria: I will ask myself the following questions as I read your Arguing Essay:
- Have you clearly identified the issue?
- Have you provided a context that indicates how you define the issue and demonstrates your interest in it?
- Have you identified and briefly defined the key approaches to the issue?
- Have you cited relevant sources in your definitions of the key approaches?
- Have you briefly critiqued the key approaches that you disagree with?
- Have you cited relevant sources in your critiques of those approaches?
- Have you identified the approach with which you agree?
- Have you identified your own position within that approach?
- Does your position make a contribution to the discussion of the issue?
- Have you provided reasons to support your position and backed up those reasons with evidence and analysis?
- Have you used quotations and paraphrases effectively to support your position?
- Have you attributed information to the authors you draw upon? (e.g., Have you used author tags?)
- Have you provided (if appropriate) personal experience and/or observations as evidence to support your position?
- Have you shown how your personal experience and/or observations are related to your position?
- Have you organized your essay in a reasonable manner? (In other words, a manner that the reader finds easy to follow.)
- Is your essay written in a way that effectively addresses your audience?
- Does your conclusion offer something beyond a simple summary of your essay?
- Is your essay written in a form that conforms to standard American English? (In other words, is it generally free of grammatical, mechanical, and spelling errors?)