Your goal is to write an essay which persuades readers that your perspective on a particular issue within your topic areas is valid and fair. You will need to develop a thesis about a specific issue and convince your audience to accept your conclusions using all of the logical argumentation skills at your disposal. You do not need to convince every reader; rather, you need to persuade as many readers as possible while also showing those who disagree with you that, at the least, your position is rational and logical.
Your paper must deal with a specific issue within your chosen topic area. There are several essays in our text that deal with various issues within those broad spheres (college education, race and justice, immigration, or women in society), but you may write on any topic within those spheres. You will need to choose a specific thesis to argue, and it must fall within your chosen topic area, but what you argue and what stance you take are up to you. For instance, you might argue that accusations of racial profiling against law enforcement groups need more comprehensive and effective internal policing procedures or that protest movements must be allowed more freedom from police control if you are writing within the larger theme of race and justice; you might argue that current sexual harassment policies on college campuses are too quick to harm the accused without sufficient proof and due process. If you are unsure if your thesis fits within the prescribed area, feel free to ask (and give advice to other students about their choice of thesis as posted).
Before writing your paper, consider the different perspectives you come across in researching the topic. You will need to give the reader some background on the issue you are addressing, but the bulk of the essay should be devoted to arguing your stance. Your support should be made up of different types of evidence from a variety of sources. Eight (8) outside sources are required for this paper; at least four (4) of these must be from published sources (a book; a magazine, newspaper, or journal article; or a government document). You may use (and are encouraged to use) more sources if you wish. A maximum of two essays from Current Issues, Enduring Questions may be cited.
Though they may contain some useful information and may be a good place to begin, some sources are not sufficiently authoritative for an academic research paper. Specifically, dictionaries, encyclopedias (including online encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia), and general interest web sites (such as About.com, Yahoo Answers, Ask.com, eHow, etc.) will not count toward your required ten sources. (You may cite those sources if you feel they are critically useful, but they do not count toward your minimum requirement.) Please consult the Research Links and the Argumentative Essay Links provided about vetting internet information and follow the guidelines listed there when choosing your sources.
The steps you need to take, then, are as follows:
(1) Define the Issue: Make sure everyone is on the same page, figuratively speaking. What is the issue about which you are writing? Is there background information that will be necessary and/or useful? While you may find a wealth of history and background information, remember only to include that which helps us understand the current debate.
(2) Take a Stance: Where do you stand in the debate? Remember, a good paper is rarely just “pro” or “con,” but has a nuanced stance. While it may be tempting to weigh both sides equally, “fence-sitting” is not an acceptable stance; for the purpose of this paper, you need to take a position and defend it.
(3) Defend Your Position: Muster evidence in the form of examples, statistics, authoritative testimony, hypothetical examples, and analogies that shows why your position is a good one. The bulk of your research and evidence will most likely be used here. Consult the web links on writing argumentative papers for more information and guidelines. Non-rational appeals may be used sparingly, but care must be taken not to let them control the argument.
(4) Consider Counter-Arguments: Think about what those opposed to you might say. Can you answer their questions or prove that the points they would raise are invalid, or at least not as strong as yours?
THE TOPIC I CHOSE IS WOMEN IN SOCIETY
The final copy of your paper should be at least 6 pages long. The finished draft must be typed (double spaced, 12 pt. Times font) in MLA format.