The third essay is a Researched Argument. It combines two vital elements for intelligently navigating life in and
out of academia. In your college career, you will be assigned a plethora of research papers and projects. These
are not assigned because colleges like for you to use the research resources colleges provide or because
colleges want you to argue with everyone you meet. Life outside of school is fraught with questions that often
cannot be answered easily or correctly without some sort of investigation. In many businesses, you may find
yourself having researched enough and thought enough to arrive at a good answer, only to find that you cannot
get anyone else on board. Research is not enough, you must also learn how to present your findings in a
coherent and convincing manner.
We are writing Academic Arguments—that means arguments that delve into issues using logic supported by
evidence. Academic Arguments are presented formally, adhere to citation and copyright standards, avoid
emotional appeals (almost entirely), and meet ethical standards of honesty and integrity in our unearthing,
evaluating, and presenting of evidence. Academic arguments are supposed to make us sit back and think, and
then, perhaps over time, change our view on a particular topic.
Note that the paragraph above does not begin to define two ubiquitous elements of modern life: advertising
and politics. The last thing advertisers and politicians want you to do is think. Advertisers and politicians use
persuasion which is akin to argument but not synonymous. Persuasion is designed not to make us think, but
rather just the opposite—to make us ACT. Advertisers and politicians do not want thought, logic, evidence, or
ethics getting in the way of them getting what they want. So, persuasion casts aside logic and ethics if either
gets in the way of emotion. Advertisers prey on our desires to train us to impulse buy, buy more than we need,
buy what everyone else is buying. Act now! Supplies are limited! Politicians prey on our fear. Fear is
motivational, but it is not conducive to logic and ethics. So when we are thinking about politicians, we should
realize that if people cannot present their views logically and ethically, their views probably are not right.
We are writing argument that focuses on logical and ethical appeals, with perhaps a brief appeal to emotion if
we need to tell a real person’s story who is affected by the issue we are covering in our essay.
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