Argumentative Essay

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Purpose:

For this assignment you are to convince me of the validity of both sides of an argument. You are to use one of the claims from the Topics list as your thesis (see Topics For Argumentation Paper in Canvas). This assignment is in two parts. In one paper you are to affirm the proposition using convincing, logically sound arguments. In the second paper you are to negate the same proposition using convincing, logically sound arguments.

Overall things your paper should contain:

  1. A clear explanation of your issue.
  2. A clear identification of the arguments used.
  3. Clear, strong support for both sides of the issue.
  4. Appropriate use of outside source material. Arguments that do not contain direct references to supporting material will not be considered strong arguments.

Format:

Paper #1 (Affirm the proposition)

Due Date: See Course Schedule

  1. This paper is to be 4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins.
  2. At least five (5) sources used to support your arguments. These sources should be appropriate for a college level paper on this topic. These must be formatted in MLA style and cited both in the text of the paper and a bibliography at the end of the paper. The bibliography does not count toward the total page number.
  3. You are welcome to write more than 4-5 pages. I am more interested in quality arguments than specific page length. Papers that are considerably longer (or shorter) than this page range may have their grade affected as a result. For example, I generally stop reading past page 6 and anything less than 3 pages indicates a lack of development.

Paper #2 (Negate the proposition)

Due Date: See Course Schedule

  1. This paper is to be 4-5 pages, typed, double-spaced, 1 inch margins.
  2. At least (5) sources used to support your arguments. These sources should be appropriate for a college level paper on this topic. These must be formatted in MLA style and cited both in the text of the paper and a bibliography at the end of the paper. The bibliography does not count toward the total page number.
  3. You are welcome to write more than 4-5 pages. I am more interested in quality arguments than specific page length. Papers that are considerably longer (or shorter) than this page range may have their grade affected as a result. For example, I generally stop reading past page 6 and anything less than 3 pages indicates a lack of development.

Helpful Advice:

  1. Use strong language. Assert yourself. Be confident in your opinion. Arguments with too many qualifying statements will not be regarded highly.
  2. Be clear and concise. The more specific you are the better. Use concrete examples. Vague or broadly worded statements will negatively impact your paper.
  3. Use the Writing Center. My students have shown a dramatic increase in the quality of the papers by getting help from the writing center. See: LAVC Writing Center
  1. Use Clear Organization. Identify what your main arguments are. Make it clear how many you plan to make in support of your position. Use an introduction and conclusion to preview and review your main points. The organization should be clear.
  2. Use your source material properly. All information should be clearly linked to a source. These sources must be cited in the paper.

The strength of your paper is based on the following:

  1. Overall clarity and organization of paper. The easier the paper is to follow along the better your grade. There should be an introduction, clear main points, and a conclusion.
  2. A clear position taken on the proposition. Papers that do make their position clear will have an influence on grade.
  3. Quality of arguments. The clearer and more specific your arguments the better. The more valid your arguments, the better your grade.
  4. Use of supporting materials. There should be references throughout the paper to supporting evidence to back up your points.
  5. Your use of MLA format—both in citations within the paper and in a bibliography included at the end of the paper. All sources referenced in the paper should be included in a works cited page at the end.

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