Argument-Persuasion Essay

  1. 4-6 pages in length; not including the Works Cited page
  2. Follow MLA formatting and provide both in-text citing and a Works Cited page. 
  3. Use a minimum of four outside sources for support.  Be very careful to use reputable sources.
  4. The essay is to be uploaded to the tab in Week #16 in Blackboard.
  5. A clear thesis statement is required – for help with thesis statements refer to the handout and PowerPoint on creating them.
  6. NEVER use Wikipedia – self policed websites cannot be counted on for truthful and credible information.
  7. The essays are due on the assigned day (on the syllabus) and will be docked one letter grade per day that they are late.  That means EVERY day, not just class days.

Purpose: Argumentation-persuasion involves more that presenting a point of view and providing evidence.  It addresses opposing points of view and involves controversy.  Argument-persuasion requires that the writer take a position him or herself.  Your main concern with argument-persuasion is logos or the soundness of the argument. Facts, statistics, and authoritative statements must support the thesis and be adequate, unified, specific, accurate and representative.  Sensitivity to pathos is necessary as the emotional side of argument issues is often very powerful.  You must also establish ethos, or credibility and integrity.  For more on these refer to the chapter on Argument-Persuasion in the text.

When taking the purpose into account, it is imperative that the purpose be kept in mind so that the essay stays focused on the stated thesis.

Audience: Three types of audience must be considered when writing an argument-persuasion essay:

  1. A Supportive Audience: When the audience agree with the position of the writer and his or her integrity, a highly reasoned argument dense with facts, statistics and examples is not needed as much as with other audiences.  Logos (logic) is needed but pathos (emotion) can reinforce a position.
  2. A Wavering Audience: This audience is open to the position of the writer but not fully prepared to accept it. Sometimes the reader is just not well informed on the subject. Avoid pathos in this case because emotional appeals will not overcome lack of knowledge on a subject and rather focus on ethos and logos by establishing evidence to support a position and creating a sense of integrity and authority of the writer.
  3. A Hostile Audience: In this case, always avoid pathos completely as it will lend to the writer seeming irrational, sentimental and possibly comical. This type of audience is best handled by approaching the essay from a strictly logos-based point of view.  Relying on sources, statistics that are hard to dispute and facts makes this audience most receptive.

 Organization and Development: Argument-persuasion essays should always identify the controversy surrounding the issue to be discussed and state the position of the writer.  Be sure to have a thesis that is clear and points in the direction of that position. Be sure to avoid thesis statements that are: too broad, too narrow, opinion, or simple fact. Provide strong support for the thesis including personal experience, statistics, facts, examples, and expert opinions.  Make sure that the support is unified, adequate, specific, accurate and representative. Spatial and chronological approaches are better reserved for other types of writing and the emphatic approach is effective in this type of essay.  Other points to consider are:

  1. Creating good will with readers by no alienating their possible views
  2. Use the Rogerian strategy of acknowledging differing viewpoints.
  3. Refute differing viewpoints when a hostile audience is present.
  4. Use inductive and deductive reasoning in the argument
  5. Connect the thesis with the evidence in a logical way
  6. Avoid the logical fallacies found in the Argument-Persuasion in the text

Criteria for Evaluation: 100 points

40 points: Development

  1. Has clear introduction and thesis statement.
  2. Follows clear organizational pattern
  3. Has appropriate title in the correct placement
  4. Type of audience is considered
  5. Tone is appropriate for the topic
  6. Topic is supported fully
  7. Has clear transitions from point and paragraph to point and paragraph
  8. Style of conclusion is both suited to the topic and logical without adding new information
  9. Stays on topic and does not veer off in unnecessary directions

30 points: Grammar

  1. Has no comma splices
  2. Has no run-ons or fragments
  3. Uses correct pronoun agreement
  4. Uses varied sentence structure
  5. Spelling is carefully checked
  6. Word choice is clear and appropriate
  7. There is no faulty subject or verb agreement
  8. All sentences are parallel
  9. Commas and apostrophes are used correctly
  10. Underlining, italics, capital letters, etc. are correct

30 points: Proper Use of MLA

  1. Spacing is correct; without extra spaces used unnecessarily (2.0)
  2. Proper information is listed at the top and left (Name, Class, Assignment Type/#, Date)
  3. Name and page #’s are at the top right ½ inch from the top
  4. In-text citations are correct and in the right place
  5. Is the correct length with the correct number of sources
  6. The Works Cited page has the proper format and correct heading
  7. Information is properly credited to sources
  8. Has proper margins and fonts

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