Argumentative Essay

In our third unit you’ll produce your final paper: a persuasive, researched argument that brings together your work over the first 11-12 weeks of class. Your paper should be oriented around a claim that responds, directly or indirectly, to your inquiry question.

At the launch of Unit III you should have some of the basic materials you need to begin outlining: a sense of your ideal audience(s), a survey of valuable research, a basic sense of how your research fits together, what you’ve learned from reading, how this content might be of interest to others, and what challenges underlie the conclusions you’ve come to hold.

This is a lot! Now it’s time to assemble it. Your final paper is worth 35 points and will be graded on 5 skill sets:

  1. Use of research (10 points) – Are you using sources that are substantive and relevant? Are you able to related them to each other in a way that builds a broad picture of a dynamic issue? Finally, do your sources feel like they create, together, a balanced whole?
  2. Critical and ethical reasoning (10 points) – Is your overall thinking sound? Are you holding yourself responsible for addressing the diverse issues, stakeholders, and power dynamics that emerge with this topic? Does your reasoning take responsibility for ethical issues as well as logistical ones?
  3. Efficacy of argument (10 points) – Ultimately, as a reader I’ll ask myself if the case you make is convincing. Is your final argument persuasively constructed? Persuasion can be a function of overall argumentation, but it can also be an element of style. Persuasive writing often touches on range of techniques to convince a reader: logic framed by emotional appeals, careful studies of expertise balanced with a survey of the costs of ignoring well-researched materials, etc.
  4. APA mechanics (5 points) – Does your paper, including in-text and bibliographic citations, follow the parameters for an APA paper as outlined on VCU Writes?

Your final paper will run 3500-4250 words, using a minimum of 8 sources.