16 Argument Essay Materials

Argument Essay Prompt

In this assignment choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented the following:

  • Clearly opposing positions, and
  • Clear agendas.

Choose the position you agree with and argue that position using:

  • Three separate lines of reasoning to support your position
  • Research to support each line of reasoning (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position
  • Research about the opposing position’s views
  • Presentation of the opposing views, along with lines of reasoning to refute them

Essay Requirements

This assignment requires an “issue statement” (refer to the ANNOTATED Student Sample for further explanation about issue statements).

This assignment requires a two-part thesis:

  • Statement of position; and
  • Forecast (essentially a “preview”) of your lines of reasoning

The assignment also requires:

  • A minimum of three credible outside sources formatted on a source page (MLA, Works Cited)
  • MLA citation style for the paper
  • Minimum of four (4) FULL pages not including the Works Cited page

Writing Tip #1

This Argument Essay is a Classical Argument Essay aimed at both arguing the author’s thesis and refuting the opponent’s thesis. It is NOT a Persuasive Essay, where the purpose is to pursuade without necessarily arguing against an opposing perspective. The difference is that an argument essay tries both to persuade and refute against an opposing view.

With this in mind, you should not choose a generic issue that has no credible opposing view – like “energy conservation” – for a Classical Argument essay. One can try to write a persuasive essay that makes an appeal to a reader to conserve energy. But unless you can find a credible opponent with an active agenda opposing your appeal (“We should NOT conserve energy”), then you cannot write a Classical Argument essay.

Writing Tip #2

It can be helpful to look into current legislation under debate everywhere from your city council, state legislature or even at the federal level. But be careful with large issues. Students often like to take them on, but they can be too unwieldy for a short assignment like this.

Writing Your Argument Essay

To get started writing your essay:

  1. Review “What Is An Essay?”
  2. Take time to review possible subjects.
  3. Use prewriting to help you narrow your topic.

Remember that “story starters” are everywhere. Think about issues that come up in status updates or “likes” on social media. What issues are being debated in student forums on your campus? What are the headlines in the college paper? Your local television news or newspaper website? Your topic may be closer than you think!

 

Outline

ATTENTION: For this assignment you are not required to write a complete draft of your Argument Essay. Instead, you are to select a topic for your Argument Essay and write a detailed outline of your essay based on the model below.

Argument Essay Outline

1) Issue statement
2) Two-part thesis (assertion plus forecast)
3) Opponent’s first claim

  • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support
4) Opponent’s second claim

  • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support
5) Your first claim with “keyword”

  • One sentence summary of your source support #1
  • One sentence summary of your source support #2
6) Your second claim with “keyword”

  • One sentence summary of your source support #1
  • One sentence summary of your source support #2
7) Your third claim with “keyword”

  • One sentence summary of your source support #1
  • One sentence summary of your source support #2
8) Conclusion: Summation of arguments and why should we care? What’s at stake?
Please Note: a “one sentence summary” is the same thing as the first sentence in a normal summary, i.e., author, title, source, and “main point” of the source.

Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

Assignment Checklist

Be sure to:

  • Choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented clearly opposing positions and clear agendas
  • Choose the position you agree with and argue that position using the following:
    • Three separate lines of reasoning;
    • Each line of reasoning will support your position with research (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position; and
    • Research about the opposing position’s views
    • Present the opposing views and refute them.
  • Include a two-part thesis with:
    • Statement of position; and
    • Forecast of your lines of reasoning
  • Develop an enticing title that implies your position.
  • Use a sympathetic appeal and/or cited research in the introduction to establish the issue.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to argue about…” Instead, introduce the issue in a more compelling way that makes the reader care.)
  • Your voice should be professional and scholarly.
  • Package your source material with appropriate signaling and commentary.

5. Submit your detailed outline as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay Outline

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 50
Ideas

15 pts: The outline demonstrates outstanding idea development.

12 pts: The outline demonstrates above average idea development.

11 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.

9 pts: The outline has an idea that needs to be developed.

0 pts: There is no coherent idea.

15 pts
Content

15 pts: The outline demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.

12 pts: The outline demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.

11 pts: The outline demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.

9 pts: The outline requires more supporting evidence of the main point.

0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.

15 pts
Organization

15 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.

13 pts: The organizational structure is above average.

10 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.

8 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.

0 pts: The organization is poor.

15 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions

5 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

3 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

2 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.

1 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.

0 pts: No marks.

5 pts

 

 

Draft

For this assignment, you will work through the drafting stage of your writing process in an argument essay.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Review the instructions and writing tips on the “Argument Essay: Writing Prompt” page.

3. Review the Argument Essay Outline you submitted along with feedback you received from that assignment. Make adjustments to the outline in accordance with the feedback. This may include strengthening lines of reasoning, expanding or improving research sources for supporting evidence, creating a more sympathetic introduction to your position, etc.

4. Develop a complete draft of your essay using your improved Argument Essay Outline. It should meet the following requirements:

  • A two-part thesis including statement of position; and forecast of your lines of reasoning
  • A minimum of three credible outside sources formatted on a source page (MLA, Works Cited)
  • MLA citation style for the paper
  • Minimum of four (4) FULL pages not including the Works Cited page

*Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

Assignment Checklist

Be sure to:

  • Choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented clearly opposing positions and clear agendas
  • Choose the position you agree with and argue that position using the following:
    • Three separate lines of reasoning;
    • Each line of reasoning will support your position with research (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position; and
    • Research about the opposing position’s views
    • Present the opposing views and refute them.
  • Include a two-part thesis with:
    • Statement of position; and
    • Forecast of your lines of reasoning
  • Develop an enticing title that implies your position.
  • Use a sympathetic appeal and/or cited research in the introduction to establish the issue.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to argue about…” Instead, introduce the issue in a more compelling way that makes the reader care.)
  • Your voice should be professional and scholarly.
  • Package your source material with appropriate signaling and commentary.

5. Submit your detailed outline as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay Draft

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 50
Ideas

15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding idea development.

12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average idea development.

11 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.

9 pts: The paper has an idea that needs to be developed.

0 pts: There is no coherent idea.

15 pts
Content

15 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.

12 pts: The paper demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.

11 pts: The paper demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.

9 pts: The paper requires more supporting evidence of the main point.

0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.

15 pts
Organization

15 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.

13 pts: The organizational structure is above average.

10 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.

8 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.

0 pts: The organization is poor.

15 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions

5 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

3 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

2 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.

1 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.

0 pts: No marks.

5 pts

 

 

Writing Community Review

For this assignment, you will need to share your Argument Essay with your writing community via the discussion. Then you will choose a peer’s essay outline from your writing community and conduct a review.

Directions:

1. View the grading rubric for this assignment on this page.

To post your Argument Essay to the discussion:

  1. Copy and paste your draft in a new Google Doc. If you aren’t familiar with Google Docs, try this resource by Google to assist you.
  2. Title the Google Doc with your first initial, last name, and Argument Essay Outline, example: RSmith Argument Essay Outline
  3. Set the share and edit permissions of the Google Doc to “Anyone with the link.”
  4. Copy and paste the URL address of the Google Doc into a new discussion post.

To review a peer’s Argument Essay in your writing community:

  1. Select the URL address of the peer’s essay from the discussion you want to review.
  2. Develop your response to your peer’s writing by focusing on each of these talking points:
  • What makes the essay memorable? What did you like best?
  • What makes the topic important to the writer? What makes it compelling to the reader?
  • How did the writer structure the essay? Is there a beginning, middle, and end?
  • How effective are the author’s lines of reasoning arguing his or her position?
  • What details may be missing and are needed for clarity?  Is there something that the writer implies but does not actually carry out in the reasoning and discussion within the essay?
  • How compelling is the supporting research and/or evidence for the author’s position? How might it be improved?
  • How well does the author present and refute the opposing position’s viewpoints (including supporting sources/evidence)? How might this be improved?
  • Is the essay focused at an appropriate level? Is the topic narrowed enough?
  • What specific places in the essay did your peer succeed in describing a singular event or vivid, memorable details or experiences?
  • Where might the essay need cuts, adds, or reorders?
  • Using the 6+1 Traits Rubric, are there any weaknesses in the essay that stand out?
  • Using the Dartmouth Writing Program “Attending to Grammar” link, do you recognize a grammar problem with the essay? If so, where?
  • What other supportive suggestions can you identify to improve the writing?

3. Copy and paste your response at the end of the peer’s Argument Essay in their Google Doc.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay – Writing Community Review

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 10

Student shares their essay with the class via

Google Doc URL posted in the discussion

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

 1 pts
Student chooses a peer’s essay to review

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student addresses what makes the essay

memorable

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses the theme or meaning of the essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses essay structure

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student addresses essay details to enhance clarity

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student addresses supporting research and evidence

provided in essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student addresses whether essay might need cuts,

adds, reorders

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts
Student applies 6+1 Writing Rubric and Grammar

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

Student makes supportive suggestions for

improving the essay

1 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

1 pts

 

 

Argument Essay Final Draft

For this assignment, review the feedback posted from your writing community in the prior assignment: Argument Essay: Writing Community Review. Work your way through the revising and proofreading stages of your writing process, and submit your final version.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Review the feedback posted on your Google Doc from the Argument Essay: Writing Community Review.

3. Work through the revise stage of the writing process.

4. Work through the proofread stage of the writing process.

5. Create a final version of your Argument Essay according to the following:

  • Minimum of 4 typed, double-spaced pages (about 800-950 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size (not including the Works Cited page)
  • Minimum of 3 credible outside sources formatted on a source page (MLA, Works Cited)
  • MLA formatting (see the “Formatting Style for Paper” page as needed)
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file

*Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.

Be sure to:

  • Choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented clearly opposing positions, and clear agendas
  • Choose the position you agree with and argue that position using
    • Three separate lines of reasoning;
    • Each line of reasoning will support your position with research (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position; and
    • Research the opponent’s views
    • Present the opponent’s views and refute them.
  • Include a two-part thesis:
    • Statement of position; and
    • Forecast of your lines of reasoning
  • Develop an enticing title that implies your position
  • Use a “sympathetic” appeal and/or cited research the introduction to establish the issue
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly (don’t write “I am going to write about…” – this takes the fun out of reading the work!)
  • Your voice should be professional and scholarly
  • Package your source material with appropriate signaling and commentary

6. Submit your final version of your Argument Essay as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay – Final

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 100
Ideas

30 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding idea development.

24 pts: The paper demonstrates above average idea development.

22 pts: The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general.

18 pts: The paper has an idea that needs to be developed.

0 pts: There is no coherent idea.

30 pts
Content

30 pts: The paper demonstrates outstanding evidence of supporting the main point.

24 pts: The paper demonstrates above average evidence of supporting the main point.

22 pts: The paper demonstrates sufficient support of the main point.

18 pts: The paper requires more supporting evidence of the main point.

0 pts: There is little content supporting the main idea.

30 pts
Organization

30 pts: The organization is outstanding and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling.

26 pts: The organizational structure is above average.

20 pts: The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion.

16 pts: The writing needs a clearer sense of direction. The internal structure is weak.

0 pts: The organization is poor.

30 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions

10 pts: The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

6 pts: The writer demonstrates above average word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions.

4 pts: The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions.

2 pts: The writer demonstrates a limited vocabulary and lack of fluidity. Errors in spelling, punctuation, capitalization, usage and grammar repeatedly distract the reader and make the text difficult to read.

0 pts: No marks.

10 pts

 

 

Reflection

Now that you have completed your Argument Essay, take a few minutes to reflect on the experience and write about your process and what you learned. Write a reflection on your Argument Essay writing experience using complete sentences.

Directions:

1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.

2. Consider the following questions.

  • What was most the challenging aspect of creating this essay?
  • What did you learn about yourself as a writer?
  • What might you do differently the next time you write this type of essay knowing what you know now after writing this essay?

3.  Write your reflection on each question listed above, using complete sentences. Your final reflection assignment should fit the following guidelines:

  • 1-1.5 typed, double-spaced pages, 12 pt font size, Times New Roman;
  • Submitted as either a .doc, .docx, .rtf file.

4. Submit your reflections as a single file upload.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay – Reflection

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 15

Student writes a thoughtful response to each question using complete sentences.

Assignment adheres to formatting guidelines.

For each question:

5 pts: Full marks

0 pts: No marks

15 pts

 

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