Essay Assignment: Classical Argument

Prompt: In English 101, you had to write a classical academic argument essay. Essay assignment 3 asks you to develop a more comprehensive classical academic argument essay on a topic that builds off what you learned from that English 101 assignment. The classical argumentative essay is an argument that provides scholarly evidence of research (i.e. various sources, interviews, quotes, and sufficient statistical data) to support your position. In other words, it is participating on a debate on an issue using evidence (i.e. various sources, interviews, quotes, and sufficient statistical data).

To do this, first identify and take a position on a topic with multiple sides. You can take your cues from the readings included in the book, class discussions, or discussions with your instructor. Consequently, your essay:

  • articulates your position on the topic;
  • represents an opposing position on the topic;
  • synthesizes the opposing position with your own by effectively refuting it.

Process: Before proceeding with your work on the assignment you must present your topic and text for your instructor’s review and explain what makes this text an interesting subject (i.e., what is not rhetorically obvious) for rhetorical analysis through a 1-page Statement on Planned Research. This statement will layout the topic and three questions about the topic you want to study. It will also layout why you are interested in studying the topic and what you expect to learn through this analysis. The topic must be approved by your instructor.

Doing research is fundamental to putting together an effective paper. To this end you must conduct research on your topic and develop an Annotated Bibliography of at least four sources (see Annotated Bibliography Assignment Sheet).The bibliography can be changed in the final paper, but the annotated bibliography text you submitted will be a graded assignment separate from your Essay Assignment.

As you are drafting, consider how you are supporting the claims made in your argument. Refer to specific facts and positions laid out by your evidence. At the same time, consider the balance between description and analysis in your writing. Describe moments in the evidence to make your argument, but remember that your job is not to summarize the text for your readers. It is to provide a sense that multiple viewpoints have been considered on the topic as you developed your conclusion.

After drafting, revise and edit the Final Draft. Consider carefully the organization and coherence of your piece. Develop clear paragraphs that support your thesis. It is essential you incorporate feedback (from peers, from the SVWC, or Smart-thinking) at this step of the process based on two completed Feedback Sheets. You must also reflect on this process and develop a Reflection Memo laying out your steps.

The Reflection Memo is meant to make you reflect on the writing process. Based on the feedback you received, lay out your process of incorporating feedback and what you learned about the writing process in a 1-page memo. Your answers will not be graded for grammar, but you should try to answer as specifically and clearly as possible. The memo should explicitly answer these four questions:

  • What did you understand about the changes asked for in your essay by your reviewers? Be specific.
  • What changes did you make during the revision process and why?
  • What changes did you not make and why not?
  • What did you learn about the research process and how will you use it in the next assignment?

Format: Your final draft should be five to six pages (double-spaced, TNR font, 1” margins). When citing your outside source(s), follow MLA format (see IC Part 6 or Bowie State Course Library Guide for English 102.).

Deliverables: 1) Statement on Planned Research, 2) Annotated Bibliography, 3) Rough Draft 4) 2-Completed Feedback Sheets, 4) Final Draft, and 6) Reflection Memo


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