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According to chapter eight, “argumentative essays have changed the world. They’ve started revolutions, supported religious movements, initiated new scientific organizations, spotlighted scientific organizations, and prompted a broad range of political events” (Mauk and Metz 264). Argumentative writing is a powerful tool and a common type of writing used in a college environment. It provides you the opportunity to participate in a discussion that matters.

Assignment: For this essay I want you to research a topic of interest and help readers understand why it is important, whom it is important to, and why we should care about it. When it comes to argumentation the end goal is to show readers why a perspective is valid and worth exploring in the manner you choose to explore it. When we construct arguments we do so because that is how we help readers understand what it means to understand a point of view and it is a bonus when they buy into that point of view. However, it is important not to confuse argumentation with persuasion. Even though argumentation is persuasive, persuasive writing has a different end goal and that goal is to sway readers to think and feel a certain way.

I want you to avoid all of the cliche topics that students choose that I will not mention because you should already know them all since they are the ones that will first come to mind. Make that list if you must, but then begin to think about topics that are out of the norm for you as a person. Think about something that you have maybe considered one time and never explored further and then take time to really learn what people are saying about it and that will lead you to write an argumentative essay that is meaningful. I do not want you to write me a 5-paragraph essay where you simply explain three different ways experts/writers discuss this topic. Instead, choose one angle or aspect and explore it in further detail. In doing so, you will feel educated enough about the topic to state a claim that you will then develop and support. This is the capstone assignment in the course which means that you will need to demonstrate growth in your writing skill.

Please read below for more specifics on how to approach this assignment as well as readings from the textbook to help you understand the assignment and invention process for writing this essay. All questions about this assignment should be emailed to me at

Essay Requirements
A reflective letter (instructions are below)
1,250-1,750 words of writing in proper format; page requirement does not include elements of APA or MLA format.
Minimum of 6 Sources
2+ scholarly; 2+ popular; 1 primary (a list of examples is located in the unit folder)
An introduction that sets up the focus.
A developed argument based on a debatable thesis.
A logical discussion that stems from the research and supports the thesis.
Evidence presented throughout the essay and developed with your discussion.
Sources must be cited in the essay and at the end of the essay.

Concepts Learned and Applied
Coming up with a research question that allows you to go in search of an answer about a topic of your choosing that follows the parameters stated above in the assignment description.
Locating sources using the digital library and other online resources as part of the research process experience allows you the opportunity to explore the different ways that a topic is discussed in the many different formats such as academic journals, blogs, online newspapers, etc. Please make sure to remember what you learn about using sources in the previous essay so that you understand the importance of credibility and reliability and the ways that sources are used in writing.
Use sources to develop and support an argumentative thesis similar to the manner you used them in the previous essay and this time use them to support each talking point in the manner writers do when it comes to argumentation. Argumentative writing requires writers to state claims and to use evidence (sources) to support each and every talking point.
Addressing the opposing viewpoint on the topic in order to show you understand the complexity of the topic and the ways people discuss the topic. Do not see this aspect of the essay as a way for you to see the imperfections of your conversation and instead see it as the ways that people disagree and an opportunity to engage that perspective because that makes the argument stronger.
Developing audience awareness and tailoring writing for that audience in a way that shows you know exactly who needs to hear what you have to say about the topic because you do not want to write an argument to people that already agree with what you have to say because what would be the point of doing so? This is how I want you to think when it comes to understanding your topic. You do not want to think like the people that agree and should instead think like the people you want to hear what you have to say and that is all you should consider when searching for your sources.
Express a conclusion that leaves readers with an understanding of the purpose behind the argument that relates to a broader societal issue that helps them realize why considering your point of view is so important and why not listening could be detrimental and why that is the case.

Concepts Learned and Applied
Conducting research using the library, internet, and field research (primary research)
Interpreting and analyzing sources
Using research to develop and support an argumentative thesis
Integrating research to support, contradict, or expand your own ideas
Developing audience awareness and tailoring writing for that audience
Effectively and appropriately organize ideas

Using the textbook. While the examples in chapter 8 do not all rely on research, they are good examples of how argumentative essays are written. However, the reading “Cruelty, Civility, and Other Weighty Matters” (p. 230) does provide a decent example of how to use sources in an argumentative piece.

Reflective Letter
After you complete our essay, I want you to compose a reflective letter that discusses your essay. Please refer to pg. 264 in your textbook under the Reflection section. Responses should be developed into paragraphs. Your reflective letter is part of the overall essay grade.

Additional chapters that you should reference during the research and writing process,
Chapter 14 Finding Sources p. 427
Chapter 15 Analyzing, Synthesizing, and Evaluating Sources p. 437
Chapter 16 Integrating and Documenting Sources p. 467-476
MLA p. 477-495
APA p. 496-515
Chapter 17 Organizing Ideas p. 519
Chapter 18 Revitalizing Sentences p. 553-571