Assignment—The Persuasive Argument/Research Paper
Length: 4-5 typed, double-spaced pages and a works cited page, citing at least 4 sources.
Shared Topic: A major social issue facing the Global, National or Local Community
Your Task: Compose a persuasive argument defending your position on a specific issue under public discourse. Use the necessary structural, rhetorical and research skills to educate your readers about the issue; who it affects; how various segments of society stand on the issue; and what policies, laws or initiatives seek to address the issue.
Brainstorming: The task is to discuss a major social issue. This means a problem you are aware of or a choice our society must make in moving forward. Explore the essays in the text and find an article that discusses a social issue such as poverty, race, war, religion, sexuality, health, economics, culture or education. Reading what others have to say about these ideas can get you started in selecting an issue that’s meaningful to you.
Your goal is to defend your position; your purpose is to persuade. Your topic therefore should be arguable. Genocide, for example is a topic students have written about in the past, however no reasonable person would defend the concept of genocide. Instead, narrow down the focus to assert something specific about genocide: the US and other great nations must intercede when there is a policy of genocide anywhere in the world. The approach you take to this paper is up to you and you should feel free to discuss potential ideas with me.
Graphic Organizers: Once you’ve selected a potential topic, draft a list of what you already know and what you need to find out. Use a Venn diagram to map the two sides of the issue and the logic each side uses to support its position. Create an idea web to chart the complex relationships between ideas or the causes and effects relevant to your topic.
Structure: You will submit the paper in stages—thesis, outline, research notes, works cited page and then the text of the paper itself. This ensures that you are paced comfortably. The text of the paper should be structured with:
An introduction identifying the issue and presenting a 5-step, synthesized thesis
Numerous body paragraphs that present a point, offer evidence and then exposition explaining how the evidence supports your thesis.
A conclusion that restates the thesis and offers a clincher
Remember, throughout the paper, you must provide evidence that includes quotes and paraphrased information and opinions that you’ve gathered through research.