For this assignment, you will present a stance on an issue that involves a difference of opinion.
Your task is to persuade your audience to agree with your position or at least consider a
compromise. An important part of this assignment is audience consideration. As such, you must
choose a reader – or group of readers – who have substantial influence over your issue and
who are initially resistant to your stance. The challenge, therefore, is convincing your audience
members to take your side and do something to resolve the issue.
Your work on the “Annotated Bibliography” and the “Issue, Audience, and Genre Analysis” will
help you find a current unresolved issue in your field, establish your stance, and identify an
appropriate audience with decision-making authority. Once you’re armed with the facts and
informed opinions from these analyses, your job is to write a persuasive, well-researched
argument about the issue. You’ll need to tailor this argument to your audience’s expectations
and present it within a specific genre. Ultimately, by the time you finish the assignment, you
should have a piece of writing that it timely enough to send to your audience.
The ultimate goal of your letter is to solve or mitigate the effects of your issue. You should
therefore present specific ideas that can be implemented by your audience members. Be
careful to avoid overly generalized advice, impossible solutions, and angry rants.
As you write your Advocacy Letter, pay close consideration to these elements:
Audience: This is incredibly important. If you don’t understand your own audience members
and construct your argument to reach them, what’s the point? You must therefore choose an
audience, research its needs and characteristics, and tailor your word choice, use of evidence,
and tone to meet its expectations.
Evidence: This is a researched academic argument, so you must use evidence from at least two
scholarly articles. Your other sources should be reputable as well. Please refrain from citing
encyclopedias, dictionaries, or other general resources. Remember that you’re writing to
sophisticated audiences who will only be persuaded if you use highly credible sources. Be sure
to introduce and synthesize the evidence you provide.
Adapted from the George Mason Composition Program, this work is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International License.
Genre: To persuade your audience to accept your proposed response or solution, you’ll write in
the genre of the Advocacy Letter. Your final version of the letter should comply with the
formatting conventions and organizational style of this genre.
Structure: Advocacy Letters have a specific structure, but that structure still requires an
introduction and thesis, body paragraphs with background information and a clear argument,
and a conclusion that goes above and beyond what is already mentioned. Be sure to use good
paragraphing techniques to help your audience move easily through your argument.
Since you are writing an argument, you will need an argumentative thesis that contains a claim
and a reason. Your thesis is most often the answer to your research question. It must take a
stand on the issue, provide reasons for your stance, and propose a solution your audience
should take. You must also address the counterarguments to your position in order to persuade
your audience. The counterargument should address the audience’s resistance, concerns, or
opposition to your position and your suggested plan of action. You might need to concede
where necessary and refute other principles of the issue where you can.
After you’ve completed the letter, add an end-page reflection to explore all the choices you
made as a writer. At a minimum, try to address these prompts:
• Describe three specific decisions you made to shape the writing of your letter to
appropriately address your target audience. Identify one or two places in your final
product where a reader could see evidence of those decisions.
• Explain how your essay contributes to a scholarly or professional conversation about the
issue you chose. Does your argument address a gap in the existing research, offer a new
solution, raise additional questions, or do something else? How specifically were you
able to effectively “join” this conversation?
FORMATTING, DOCUMENTATION, AND LENGTH REQUIREMENTS
Use the documentation style appropriate for your academic discipline – typically either MLA or
APA. Many advocacy letters use bibliographic footnotes, which are also permissible.
Your final product, including the end-page reflection, should be about 1,500 to 2,000 words. As
you draft, don’t fixate on this requirement. The goal is to make your case and convince your
audience members by telling the whole story, offering appropri
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