Formal Writing Assignments: 2nd Assignment
(6 pages, MLA citation style, 12 point font, double-spaced).
Write an argumentative essay on a topic of your choice (related to our course texts and discussions) using any 5 or more sources.
The research paper is an essay that integrates a variety of complex sources (primary and secondary, text and visual) in making a sophisticated and compelling argument about a topic of significance. This paper is designed to demonstrate your ability to deploy rhetorical strategies and appeals to best effect, and to connect effectively and appropriately with your intended audience. Since this is a course in persuasive writing, persuasive visual culture & oral communication, your paper must be an argument, not a report or an annotated bibliography. That is, the entire essay, including any illustrations or other non-textual elements, should be designed to support a thesis statement through strategic use of your research and through effective use of rhetorical appeals.
Research and Persuasion: Helpful Hints:
1 Gather a wide range of information on the topic of your investigation. Rely on books, articles, web sites, documentaries, and your own primary research (if applicable) — whatever seems like it might help you better understand your subject. Research should not merely give you “material” for your project, but better inform your own understanding of the issues.
2 Recognize that the raw information is of little intrinsic interest or value to your audience until you marshal it into a coherent shape and form. Apply your own intellectual and creative energy to the material, insight, vision and intuition. Evaluate the quality of the information, the motivation of the information purveyors, the context of the debate with respect to longer historical trends that you’ve studied in your contextual analysis. Give your data life through your insight and imagination.
3 Evolve your own thesis about the debate — a thesis that rises above the position of any single source, synthesizing and refining the use of information in order to lead us down the path of greater understanding. This task is essential to your success on this project.
4 Use your rhetorical space not to regurgitate data, but to deploy information artfully in the articulation and support of your thesis.
Think of the project as having three tiers: the information tier (data you collect from sources), the transformation tier (in which you apply energy, insight, vision and intuition to your data), and the clarity tier (in which you use your own rhetorical work to guide us through the issue and toward what you feel is the most viable perspective to take on it).
You will need to be succinct in your summaries of the main points of each text and make clear choices about how to put the texts (perhaps visual and written) into conversation with each other. Your essay should read as a holistic piece of writing (a series of interconnected thoughts that transition smoothly from one to the other, rather than a list of unconnected ideas).
*A solid research paper contains:
• A strong, unique, specific, and compelling thesis about your aspect of your group project
• A fully developed introduction, body, and conclusion
• Strategic use of persuasive appeals
• Strategic incorporation of your research as a means to support your claims through evidence (primary and secondary sources).
• An articulation of the context and significance of this issue
• An articulation of what we can learn about this issue through the lens of some analogous debate from the past
The proposal of some kind of solution to the problem at hand or the delineation of a new way of looking at the issue (this might come in the conclusion and should be developed further in the group visual project)
• Organization of your writing with attention to overall coherence, transitions, balance between parts, and the relationship of part to whole
• Understanding of the conventions of academic discourse (correct usage, diction, syntax, grammar, and documentation format)
• Insertion of images, if appropriate, according to academic convention.
• Polished work: printed in clear ink, on clean paper, and in color.
• Free of typos, careless errors, and proofreading mistakes.
Please cite and list sources according to one of the commonly used academic writing citation styles. A formatted bibliography is required for this paper. Please use MLA citation style.
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