Choose a Public Debate

    Instructions: Please carefully read the following assignment details in its entirety. There are many components to this particular assignment, and each component is graded.

    This essay should be between 900 and 1000 words, excluding the required annotated bibliography.

    The Toulmin essay will help you practice what you have learned so far in this course. First, you will choose a topic of interest. Make sure that you choose a public debate with clear sides and staked. Then, you need to research that debate in order to narrow the topics scope, so it can be easily discussed in 1000 word essay. For example, you may be interested in learning more about traffic issues in the United States. However, that topic is too large to cover in a 1000 word essay. After researching peer reviewed articles that discuss US traffic issues in general, you may discover that the metro system in the District of Columbia is underfunded and underutilized.  Through your research, you found that you could make a claim that more funds should be made available in order to upgrade the metro system, which would improve traffic issues in the District of Columbia. This would make for a stronger, specific argument. Attached below is a PDF on sides and stakes that can help with this process.

    This should be a thesis-driven essay, and it should be in the third person.

    This essay must include a minimum of five sources.  Three should be peer-reviewed sources, preferably from the APUS databases. From the library welcome page, click on Advanced Search at the bottom of the page and then check the “peer reviewed” sources box filter.

    This video will hopefully clarify the term, “peer-reviewed”.  You may use eBooks; however, as discussed in your textbook, books generally are not as current as peer-reviewed articles.  You may also use primary sources (interviews, statistics, etc); however, these primary sources should be obtained from experts within that field.  If you cannot find strong sources for your chosen topic, then change your topic. If you have a question about the validity of a source, please email me, or post your question to the open forum.

    Note: Consider your audience as laymen in the field with only general knowledge of your topic.

    Make sure to include the following sections in your essay:

    an introduction and claim,
    background,
    body,
    and a conclusion.

    Within the body of your essay, make sure to include the following in any order:

    support for your claim,
    opposing or alternate views,
    the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents’ claims,
    and your rebuttals of their claims.

    After you have written your essay, please make sure to revise the content of your essay. Lastly, be sure to edit your essay by checking grammar, format, and smaller technical details. Please make sure your essay is written in third person.

    The Annotated Bibliography

    An annotated Bibliography (AB) is due with your Toulmin essay. Using the MLA guide, list each source as it will appear on the Works Cited page of your essay. Summarize each source in two or three grammatically-correct  sentences, and indicate how it will be useful to your project. These short discussions are the “annotations.”

    The following is a sample of an annotated bibliography entry

    Clark, Irene L. The Genre of Argument. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1998. Print.

    Clark’s textbook identifies the major steps to developing a well-researched and well-written argumentative essay. It is older, but still contains much useful material on process. Professional essays are included in the text as models. It will help me mostly with writing and organization, since internet research has changed since 1998.

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