For the next two essays we will be expanding the issues discussed so far. For the third major assignment, you will be researching an issue related to composition and then writing an essay that presents the existing conversation about the issue before making an argument. I have outlined your rhetorical situation below, but it will be modified a bit according to your particular focus.
- Occasion: special issue of an academic journal showcasing scholarship by first-year writers, additional motivation for the specific focus should be clear from the issue or problem you are addressing
- Audience: the journal is read by high school teachers, community college professors, university professors, and composition scholars (you may choose to focus on one or two of these)
- Purpose: to inform about your topic and convince the audience of the truth of something or need to do something
To present the academic conversation and support your argument, you will need at least three scholarly sources. For the purposes of this essay, scholarly means an article from a peer-reviewed academic journal or book from an academic publisher (i.e. university press). One of those sources may be an assigned reading. If appropriate, you can use up to five sources with the additional sources from a scholarly place (academic journal, university press, dissertation), a periodical (news, magazine, or trade journal articles), non-fiction book, or special report. No websites or blog posts are allowed for this assignment.
To find the academic sources, you will want to use the databases available through the college library. This will make it easier to find peer-reviewed sources that you can access for free. Since quality research is important for this essay, you will first make an annotated bibliography. See the Annotated Bibliography assignment description for details.
The Academic Argument
You will need to have four main sections as outlined below. The number and organization pattern of the paragraphs within each section is up to you.
In this section, you should establish the context for and then provide your thesis statement. Refer to chapter 6 and chapter 11 for strategies.
In this section, you should familiarize the reader with basic information about the issue such as what the problem is, causes and effects, or definitions of terms. You should be giving the information in an order that makes sense, and leads to the argument you will make. While you may be introducing multiple points of view, you should not make any claims at this point.
Finally, in this section you should make your own claim of fact, value, or policy that is appropriate for your intended audience. This claim should be supported by sources. You are encouraged, but not required to include a counterargument. Refer to chapter 4 for claims.
This section should wrap up your essay, emphasize the importance of your argument, and leave an impression on the reader. Refer to chapter 11 for strategies.
- 1250 – 2000 words excluding works cited (about 5-8 pages)
- At least three scholarly sources and no more than five sources total
- MLA style