English Composition: Discussion And Paper

1) Discussion:  Academic Writing

Move away from expository writing (like Narrative and Descriptive writing), and into academic argument. Most academic writing takes the form of argument. Persuasive writing, also known as argumentative writing, utilizes logic and reason (and sometimes emotion) to show that one idea is more legitimate than another idea. It attempts to persuade a reader to adopt a certain point of view or to take a particular action. Ideally, the argument should always use sound reasoning and solid evidence by stating facts, giving logical reasons, using examples, and quoting experts.

As we prepare to write our persuasive essays, think of a time when you were engaged in an argument, either written or verbal. Tell us about the argument and what it entailed. Were you able to use logic and sound reasoning? Did it help with the outcome? Were you successful in being persuasive? Should be 75-150 words.

2)  Paper:  Invention and Organization

For this week, we will be practicing topic selection and outlining. Because this is preparation for next week’s persuasive essay, you will need to start by picking a topic that is persuasive. This topic must meet the following criteria:

  • Arguable (are there at least two logical, yet opposite ways to look at the issue? Are there at least two sides?)
  • Solvable (i.e. avoid religious, moral, or politically charged topics)
  • Manageable (keep your topic focused and specific)

Think of a specific problem or issue that you are interested in researching and writing an essay about. This issue should be argumentative in nature, so the topic that you choose should have an equally valid opposing viewpoint.

An example of an appropriate topic would be this:

A specific community is debating an ordinance banning the ownership of pit bulls. Some residents agree that pit bulls should be banned, while others disagree with this position (there is plenty of research to back up either side of the argument).

Your job from there will be to explore the issue, look at both sides of the argument as completely as you can, and take a side. Your essay will be an attempt to convince others to join you in your decision.

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