Final project this semester, it’s your turn to support an argument

For the final project this semester, it’s your turn to support an argument. Your objective is to use some of your research this semester to construct a persuasive essay. First, you must have a position or thesis. Through your research, you’ve surely come to certain conclusions of your own.

Final project this semester, it’s your turn to support an argument

Everything’s an Argument is the title of a college textbook authored by Professor Andrea Lunsford. And while I’ve never gotten my hands on Lunsford’s popular textbook to find out the merits of it, the premise that everything is an argument or that everything is arguable resonates with me. Some arguments are mild while others elicit strong emotional responses. But writers should observe that practically every topic has nuances or layers that can be debated and wrestled with.

This semester, you’ve engaged in your own research. Research has been the primary focus thus far. You’ve researched a topic, discovering several viewpoints concerning that topic (or even a connected subtopic or two). Yes, gathering facts or common information has been a part of your research also, but I would argue that the best part of your research has been the times when you’ve encountered information that is controversial—someone’s argument, for example—and subsequently formed or strengthened your own position.

For the final project this semester, it’s your turn to support an argument. Your objective is to use some of your research this semester to construct a persuasive essay. First, you must have a position or thesis. Through your research, you’ve surely come to certain conclusions of your own. My suggestion for you is to use one of these conclusions as the thesis of your final essay.

More details;

Next, you must consider who your reading audience is. Every argument has stakeholders (i.e., those who are affect ed by the issue or those who have something important to contribute to the argument). Consider how you might make your argument more effective to a specific audience. Whom do you envision your readers to be? What position(s) do they hold? What valid argument(s) are they contributing to this conversation? How do they disagree with your position? How will you persuade or how will you appeal to this audience that you have in mind? Where is this audience illogical? Where is this audience logical? These are just a few questions that you may consider as you construct your persuasive essay.

Below is an outline that may help you construct a classical argument. A classical argument is a popular style of argument in public writing because the thesis or primary position is present somewhere in the beginning; readers can easily follow along by noting first the thesis and then each subsequent paragraph used to support the primary thesis statement. Individuality is good, however, so although the outline below may help you visualize your own project, I’m not limiting you in how you develop your essay or which style you choose to present your argument.

For example, a very effective form of persuasion is to delay the thesis until the concluding paragraphs. An essay with a delayed thesis appears more conversational, easing the readers into issues. Placing a bold statement of position at the very beginning of an essay just may compel the stubborn reader to immediately take a defensive position instead of a healthy one that promotes conversation and growth.

Classical Argument Outline:

Firstly, Introduction to the topic.
Provides context to the topic of discussion (e.g., an anecdote or a citation of an article or recent event)
Shows why the topic of discussion is relevant or pertinent to readers (i.e., appeal to kairos)
Contains thesis or writer’s primary argument or aim.
Supporting evidence
Fully develop paragraphs are use to persuade readers.
Sub-topics are order ed or arrange d to appeal to readers.
Logical evidence is presented.
In-text citations help support the writer’s overall argument.
Counter-argument or opposing views.
Presentation of counter-argument(s).
Thoughtful discussion concerning why other viewpoints may be valid. (Credibility is garnered here by being fair to other viewpoints or arguments.)

Concluding section
Several options exist for the concluding section: rebuttal to counter-argument, concluding personal thoughts, final statement of writer’s position, additional points to consider, healthy discussion of the ramifications, *delayed thesis, etc.

Grading criteria:

Clearly identifiable position or thesis statement.
Paragraphs are fully-develop ed.
A number of in-text citations are use to either support or illustrate the argument.
Fairness is shown by considering the opposing views or the audience’s counter-argument(s).
Conversational English is used (instead of just formal academic English) so that readers are pulled along as they read.
A References (APA) or Works Cited (MLA) page lists the sources used.

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