11.1 The Argument Assignment

Article links:

“Argument” provided by the authors

“Handout: How to Make an Effective Argument” provided by Lumen Learning

“Reflective Writing Prompt: Argument Assignment” by the authors

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  • Explain the five-part structure of an argument essay.
  • Recognize key questions for developing an argument essay.

Argument

provided by the authors

Now that you have learned and practiced with rhetorical tools to analyze and evaluate arguments, you are now ready to create your own argument about a topic. Note that this will not be a “formal” researched argument – that’s the realm of English Composition II. However, this project will prepare you by asking you to analyze your own views on an issue, then craft an argument that might sway an audience on that issue.

The purpose of this assignment is for you to reflect on and apply your newly gained understanding of composing strategies, genre, audience, and rhetorical situation to create an argument for a public source. Crafting an argument in this way prepares you to write an argument in any context, not just academic. This is not a research essay – you will be using your own knowledge, observations, and experiences.

Aside from reflecting carefully on your own stance within the argument, you will need to reflect back on the rhetorical tools we have been cultivating, to create an audience-centered argument. As you compose, you will need to continually consider how you can best persuade your audience to consider (or perhaps even agree with) your views.

Handout: How to Make an Effective Argument

provided by Lumen Learning

Think through the issue.

  • What’s the problem?
  • Who’s involved?
  • What’s at stake for the people involved?
  • Have other people examined the problem? What solutions have they come up with?
  • Are those solutions valid or not in the situation you are involved in? Why or why not? Are you taking an objective (arm’s length) view of the problem or are you taking it personally and subjectively?

Think about what life would be like for you and the people involved in this problem if it didn’t exist.

  • What do you think could and should be done to solve the problem?
  • Who else has worked to solve the problem?  Have their solutions been effective or not? How? Why? Could you use their solutions in your own situation?

Who should you be talking to about this problem?

  • Reflect again on the stakeholders. Get a clear picture of them.
  • How can you use the arguments that others have made to solve the problem that you’re seeing? What’s the good stuff from them that you can use solve the problem?
  • What will those stakeholders respect? What authorities will they listen to?
  • Focus on who you’re arguing with and use sources appropriate to your audience.

What kind of credible, authoritative sources should you use?

  • Ivy Tech Library databases: keyword search, limit to the last five years, full-text published articles authored by credible writers who are knowledgeable in their field. Articles should have references.
  • Online databases: must be published in reputable newspapers or professional journals. Articles must be authored by credible writers who are knowledgeable in their field. Articles should have references.

Important Concepts

effective argument

stakeholders

authoritative sources

Reflective Writing Prompt

Argument Assignment 

For this reflective assignment, you will write a letter to yourself about your argument
paper with a particular emphasis on those key terms and the way you think about
writing may have changed. Write this letter as though you are giving advice to yourself
as a writer. Your letter should be 600 – 700 words.

Your letter should include some discussion of How your awareness and perception of your audience contributed to your writing. (For example, did you have a real-world audience in mind or did you have to “imagine” an audience? How did that audience’s possible stances, values, knowledge, etc. affect your approach to supporting your argument?)

and

How your experiences with the previous papers this semester affected your writing and your writing process for this paper. (For example, what did you bring with you from those papers that you found helpful – or perhaps unhelpful – for this one? What might you use or not use in the future?)

Use examples from this text and your last paper to support your discussion of the above two points.

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Composing Ourselves and Our World,  Provided by: the authors. License: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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This chapter contains an adaptation from English 111 by Lumen Learning. License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

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Composing Ourselves and Our World by Elizabeth Burrows, Angela Fowler, Heath Fowler, and Amy Locklear is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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