Any topic (writer’s choice)

    Length: 3-4 pages, plus a Works Cited page.  MLA format.  Parenthetical, in-text citations of sources.

    Review pages 199-246 in Making Literature Matter for an overview of the elements of argument (Chapter 6 “Writing Researched Arguments”)  Consult the Elements of Argument document in the Resources Module for an explanation of three approaches to argument: logos, pathos, and ethos.

    Choose one of the following topics and write a persuasive essay arguing your position on the issue.  Conduct research to explore perspectives on the topic before drafting the essay.  Include references to your researched sources to develop your argument (logos).  Use the Collin databases for conducting research.  You can access them by clicking on the Library tab at the bottom of the home page or through the Library tab in Cougarweb.  After clicking on the tab, click on “Connecting to library databases through Cougarweb” for a short audio tutorial on how to access and use them.  Also consult the Dr. Joan Kennedy Library Resources link under course tools. The assignment requires three or more sources cited in your paper.

    Audience: The audience for the paper is your classmates.  Assume that there will be some disagreement with your position.  This prompts you to construct stronger evidence or reasons why you have taken your position on the issue.

    Develop a detailed, logical argument on the following question: What role, if any, do citizens of humanity and their governments have in trying to end violent regimes that commit acts of racial cleansing and genocide?  Research personal, social, and political attitudes toward genocide as a backdrop for your argument.
    Do you believe it is possible to have a classless society?  Why or why not?  Research the Communist Manifestoby Marx and Engels as a background for your argument.
    Does power facilitate corruption?  Conduct research to generate specific examples as evidence to support your argument.
    Research the issue of illegal immigration in the U.S.  Develop either a position or policy (plan/solution) argument that relates to elements of the issue.  Avoid fallacies of oversimplification and generalization.
    Research the issue of freedom granted by the U.S. Constitution.  Choose a specific “right” and assert a position on your interpretation.  Examples: 1st Amendment–speech, religion, etc. 2nd Amendment–guns
    Is ethnocentrism a positive or destructive attitude?  Take a position and support it with research information.  Make sure to define the term clearly.
    Take a position on some policy or practice in your local or state community or at school and argue for or against it, using research as support.
    Argue for or against virtual universities where all classes are conducted on the Internet.  Conduct research to support your argument.
    Research the issue of drug usage in the U.S.  Make sure to narrow the topic into a specific focus and state a position on the issue.
    Argue a position either for “big government” or for “small government.”  Define your terms and conduct research to support your claim.
    The following Persuasive Essay sheet provides detailed information for developing the argument.


    To formulate a perspective on a topic or issue and argue either for or against it. You cannot take a “middle of the road” approach.
    To state your assertion (thesis) about the topic clearly and state it in your introduction.  If you wait too late in the paper to assert your claim on the issue, the evidence to develop it does not have a context.  Your argument is not clear.
    To write an extended argument with sufficient evidence to persuade the reader.  Evidence is developed by presenting reasons why you have taken your position on the issue.
    To present evidence that reflects the following: variety, quantity, quality, and relevancy.
    To use counter argument to develop evidence by responding effectively to the opposition.
    To use a writing style that will capture and maintain the interest of the reader.
    To write an argument that is comparatively free of mechanical errors.
    Subjects of Argument:  The following often are central to argumentation.  Think about these questions when developing evidence to support your claim.

    What is X?
    What should be done about X?
    What are the causes or consequences of X?
    What is the value of  X?
    Reporter’s Formula Questions to Generate a Variety of Perspectives on the Issue:  Who? What? Where? When? Why? How?

    When asking these questions about your issue, you may discover a variety of ways to develop the evidence.  “Why” is the best question to generate insightful thinking on the issue.

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