Essay Assignment

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Klein, GWRTC 103
Fall 2009

GWRTC 103 Final Essay Prompt: Argumentative Essay

Overview: Now that you have researched an issue, you are ready to write an argument. The argument you write for this assignment will be an academic, source-based argument. You may use the sources you found, but you should continue to find new sources to support your argument and represent the conversation on the issue. Furthermore, your argument should add something unique or new to the conversation and not just repeat someone else's argument.

Purpose: The purpose for this assignment will depend on your intended audience. It will most likely fall into one of the following general categories:

  • To convince undecided readers to accept your thesis.
  • To make opposing readers less resistant to your thesis
  • To convince readers who agree with you to take action


Audience: The audience for this argument is your general academic audience who expect a clear, logical argument that remains focused on proving a thesis. These readers expect that an argument is well researched and that the argument is supported with reasons and evidence. They want to see that you are familiar with the conversation on the issue and how your argument contributes to that conversation. In addition, such readers require full citations for all sources you use. Your audience also expects your writing to be free from errors. You’ll need to consider these readers' expectations as you write your argument.

Issue & Sources: Write your argument about the issue you just investigated. You may use the sources from your inquiry essay, but you should continue to find sources to fit the rhetorical situation (which will change as you make rhetorical choices about purpose and audience specific to this assignment). You should include at least five sources, three of which must be peer-reviewed scholarly sources

Author: Present yourself as a knowledgeable, fair-minded, credible and, as appropriate, empathetic person. You do not need to be an expert on your issue to write an argument, but you do need to have confidence in what you do know and believe about it. Show that you approach the issue with enthusiasm, intellectual curiosity and an open mind.

Strategies: An effective argument achieves its purpose with its audience and is appropriate for an academic context. To achieve your purpose with your audience, be sure to:

  • Spend time developing a thesis statement and reasons and be sure you have gathered enough credible and convincing evidence to support your reasons.
  • Rely on appeals to facts and reasons (logos) and character (ethos), avoiding logical fallacies. You may, however, use some appeals to emotion (pathos) in your introduction and/or conclusion to show the significance of the issue and motivate readers to read on.
  • Organize your argument effectively to best support your claims and reasons.
  • Use appeals that suit the rhetorical situation.
  • Become well informed on other stakeholders in the conversation, including viewpoints different from your own. Accurately and fairly represent and respond to such alternative viewpoints on the issue.
  • Demonstrate that you have conducted effective inquiry into the issue by summarizing, paraphrasing and quoting appropriately and by documenting sources correctly in MLA style. This will bolster your character appeal with your audience.


    • Format: Your paper should be formatted according to MLA conventions. This includes MLA-style heading and page numbers, parenthetical citations within your paper for all sources used (quotes, paraphrases, facts, ideas, etc.) and a Works Cited page at the end of your paper.
    • Length: 1,200-1,400 words (4 to 5 pages)


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