Writing Assignment 4: Argumentative Essay (100 points)
Read chapter 7, “Arguments that Matter” in your text. Notice the discussion on how to write a thesis statement in an argumentative essay.
Read pages 178-80 about how to interview a person for this assignment.
Also read pages 254-7 about “Fallacies.”
Lecture: Presenting an Argument
Being able to present a logical and well-worded argument in a paper is an essential skill that all writers need. In almost every professional-level career, a person will find himself or herself going back to the skills in developing argumentative essays. For example, a businessperson writing up a memo about how to change an office procedure may need argumentative skills to present clear reasons for why the change is necessary. A scientist needs argumentative skills when writing grants to obtain funding for a project. The list could go on and on.
Your textbook contains an excellent chapter on how to present a logical argument in a paper. Read the material carefully before you begin your paper. How you present your ideas is crucial. For example, if you are discussing the legality of voluntary euthanasia, you wouldn’t want to give the reasons why you think voluntary euthanasia should be legal before you define what you mean by “voluntary euthanasia.” Your reader may consider putting a pet to sleep as voluntary euthanasia. (That is using euthanasia, but it is not voluntary. You pet has no choice.) Read the section on “fallacies.” These will help you avoid bad arguments.
When presenting your arguments, be sure you define any terms that your reader may not be familiar with. Sometimes, even defining familiar terms is necessary because words may have different connotations to different people, and you want to make sure that the words you are using mean the same thing to your reader. Other readers may not be as familiar with your topic as you are, so don’t take their knowledge for granted.
Please remember that it is essential to have a clear thesis statement. You need to present the argument you are going to explain in your paper in a logical, well-reasoned way that reflects what you will say in your paper. You must take a position. You cannot remain neutral.
These are the important parts of your paper:
1. Your introduction gives your position on the argument and can also state your opponent’s position. This will show the contrast between what you believe and what others argue. Your thesis statement is essential here. Make sure it clearly gives your side of the argument.
2. Your body paragraphs give the supporting information. This should include statistics, quotes from authorities in the field, and your own ideas. Be sure that you address each part of the argument that you have outlined in your thesis statement. Also, try to think of what your opponents might say and give counterarguments to refute these arguments. To do this, you might try out your arguments with someone you know who believes the opposite way you do. Make sure you read articles that give your opponents’ positions so that you can make good counterarguments.
3. Your conclusion restates your position. This presents what you have argued in your paper and why it is the only conclusion to come to. It presents your wrap up of your arguments so that you can persuade your reader.
I suggest drafting an outline before you begin writing. The development in an argumentative paper is very important. You want to present your ideas in a logical and careful manner. For example, if you are discussing the legality of voluntary euthanasia, you wouldn’t want to give the reasons why you think voluntary euthanasia should be legal before you explain what you mean by voluntary euthanasia.
Writing Assignment 4: Argumentative Essay
Your argumentative essay for this class should be typed (printed on a word processor or computer). It should be between 3-4 pages. No cover sheet is necessary.
Write an essay in which you give a well-reasoned argument on the topic of the Affordable Care Act enacted by Congress. Be sure you narrow your topic so that you are not covering too much material in your paper. MAKE SURE THIS PAPER IS NOT JUST A DIATRIBE for or against the President. You must have sources to back up all the points you argue!
The purpose of this essay is to provide you with an opportunity to do some research and state your argument with facts to back up what you say. If you just give your own opinion without using some sources you have researched, your paper will be much less authoritative. Therefore, for this assignment, you are required to use at least three sources that you quote in your paper. Do not use Wikipedia or other encyclopedias. Your sources can be Internet articles, newspaper articles, magazine articles, excerpts from books, etc. Be sure to use what you learned in doing the quoting exercise to introduce and quote your sources appropriately. Include quotes with source notes in MLA style. Be sure to include a bibliography (Works Cited) of your sources at the end of your essay.
Use the following information to pick a topic to write your paper: Select an aspect of the health care bill that you would like to learn about.
a. Which aspects of the ACA should the president keep in national health care and why?
b. Should a health-care bill include regulations on the insurance industry, and if so, what should they be?
d. Do you think revisions of the bill or its replacement will cause massive budget problems in our country, or will the Congress be able to manage the cost of covering all Americans with health insurance while changing legislation?
e. Is the health care mandate that forces everyone to buy insurance constitutional or unconstitutional? Should it be keep despite changes in the bill?
f. Should insurance companies be able to do business across state lines? Why or why not and what will be the result?
Find sources for and against the aspect you picked. Reading sources who disagree with you is just as important as reading sources that agree with your point of view.
After reading these sources, come to a conclusion for or against that aspect. You must take a position. Write your paper, including arguments and counterarguments for your conclusion. Your paper must be based on facts and expert advice about the topic you selected, not just your opinion. I will give a poor grade to any paper that doesn’t back up all opinion with quotes and/or facts.
Use the interview you did for your other assignment this week in your paper. Use quotes from your interviewee and use source notes and a citation for this person.
Your essay will be evaluated on how well you state your argument in your thesis statement; how you explain your reasoning through supporting ideas; how you give supporting facts, statistics, and data; how you present counterarguments to head off ideas that your reader may have on the opposite side of your arguments; how you use your interview; and about the correctness of your Works Cited page. PUT YOUR THESIS STATEMENT IN ALL CAPS.
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