THE EXPLORATORY ESSAY

Part I — Stating Your Initial Ideas on the Topic (two pages).

This will become the FIRST PART of your exploratory essay. You will submit it on the above due date. You may include any visual support such as photos, graphs, etc. to help your readers enhance their understanding of your topic, but should not be part of the two page required length.

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What is an exploratory argument?

It is a written argument in which you critically examine the assumptions and warrants used by a group audience to take specific positions on serious issues that plague their communities.

In this part of the essay, you will do the following:

1. Write a general introduction on the topic you have chosen to show what you know about the issue. You may introduce the different perspectives on the topic at this point.

2. Describe the general background of the topic: what has been going on in the society about the issue? Who is saying what about it? What are some problems and questions arising from the issue? Account for the exigence. Etc.

3. Describe the context: timing, limitations, audiences, significance of the topic to communities, related and unrelated issues, how or where you learned about the topic, etc.?

4. Carefully describe your position on the issue by presenting your claims, support for your claims, grounds, and backing for your argument.

5. Identify a specific audience group who will benefit most from your discussion of this topic. Using the six questions for audience analysis we learned in class, study your chosen audience.

As we have discussed, an exploratory essay takes one issue and explains it through multiple perspectives. The purpose of an exploratory essay is to help identify and examine multiple opinions on an issue through open-minded inquiry.

In the exploratory paper, the arguer:

Identifies not just one position but many of the major positions on an issue as possible, both past and present
Explains these positions – in your case you are required to use the parts of the Toulmin model: claims (main and sub claims), proof (main and minor), assumptions (logical and contextual, stated and unstated),
Thus, for each perspective, do the following:

1. Provide claims

2. Explain support ideas for the claims

3. Explain warrants (such as in “how does it make sense” or what are the assumptions held, what evidence proves those assumptions, etc.)

4. Highlight the controversies arising from the above

You have written about your initial opinions on your issue and explained the rhetorical context of the argument and your perspective. You have researched and identified five (5) sources that explain or argue your issue through different perspectives. You annotated those sources and documented them in MLA style. Now, you will COMPLETE the entire exploratory essay. For this final part, you will explain at least four positions involved with your issue.

Assignment Checklist

1. I have identified at least four perspectives on the issue I selected for parts one and two of this assignment.

2. I have named or labeled each perspective using a relevant and specific term that defines the beliefs of its supporters, e.g. political labels such as Democratic, Republican, Independent; ideological such as Liberals, Conservatives, Libertarian; Religious such as Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc.

3. I have used the elements of the Toulmin Model to examine each perspective

4. I have cited from five new sources or from each of the sources I annotated in my Annotated Bibliography assignment, using the MLA in-text format, and I have included a works cited page.

5. I have checked to make sure that each perspective is examined in about half a page to be considered complete.

6. I have ensured that my language expression reflects college-level analytical strength, not just a mere narration of incoherent ideas.

7. I have revised my first draft to produce a final draft, and I have edited for errors (You must submit the first draft showing that you revised your ideas and edited your language use, or you lose 10pts from the total score of part three).

8. The length guide for this assignment is 5-7 pages long.

9. Double spacing is required; use Times New Romans, size 12.

10. Do not create a title page.

11. Center the title, Exploratory Essay and the issue you are exploring, at the top of the page. Put your name, date, course name in the upper left-hand corner.

12. Submit in blackboard

13. Merge the two-page Part 1 with the rest of the essay and you should have about 5-7 pages, which you should submit as one.

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