Critical Essay Assignment: Argumentation
For this essay, you will be required to answer one of the following questions. Minimum of five pages Follow MLA guidelines. For this assignment, you must include two (2) to six (6) sources to support your claim: no more, no less. Remember your thesis/paper should be argumentative (basically, the same as persuasive); you must pick a position and defend it through various appeals (pathos, logos, ethos) and evidence. *In order to find a topic you like, you should go through these questions and see if you have a strong “yes” or “no” answer. Those are a good place to start. And each question could be turned into a good, strong argumentative thesis by switching the question into a statement. So, let’s take the first question. After you turned the question into a thesis statement it would read as follows: “Adoption records should remained forever sealed” or “Adoption records should not remain forever sealed.”
Adoption: Should adoption records remained forever sealed? Should responsible single men/women be allowed to adopt?
Aging: Are nursing homes beneficial?
Censorship: Should a city ban offensive art? Should hate speech be tolerated? Should government funding of the arts be restricted? Should video games be censored? Should internet pornography be censored?
Consumerism: Has the increase of large chain stores such as Walmart been beneficial to consumers and their communities?
Education: Are student dress codes a violation of civil rights? Do student uniforms affect the culture of a school? Should students be allowed to dropout from school? Should school start later in the day? Is home schooling an effective method of education?
Genetics: Should genetically altered foods be sold?
Health Care and Insurance: Should the government provide health coverage for everyone?
Military and Defense: Should we reinstate the draft?
Music: Should Napster be legal (in its free form)? Is music and fine arts education important?
Parenting: Should parents be held accountable for the actions of their children? Should parents spank their children? (Corporal punishment) Does day care harm children?
Prostitution: Should prostitution be legalized?
Religion: Should women be allowed to be priests? Should priests be allowed to marry?
Rights of Children and Teenagers: Should children be allowed to divorce their parents? Should parents be informed of college students’ grades or behavior? Should students’ lockers and belongings be searched for drugs? Should student athletes be drug tested?
Sex Education: Should we have sex education in schools? Should schools provide condoms? Can sex education programs prevent teenage pregnancy?
Sex Roles: Is growing up tougher for boys than girls? Should men and women share domestic responsibilities? Has women’s increased participation in the work force harmed society? Are women victims of discrimination in the workplace?
Smoking: Should smoking be banned in all public places? Should restaurant or bar owners be allowed to chose for themselves if smoking is allowed in their establishments?
Writing the Argumentative Essay
o Consider your reader’s point of view or probable beliefs.
o Reason with and try to connect with your reader; don’t attack the reader.
o Acknowledge opposing views.
o Use a mix of logical and emotional appeals.
o Make a clear claim about how your subject is or how it should be.
o Your thesis is a DEFENDABLE OPINION, not a fact. If your thesis is a fact, then there is nothing to prove!
o Create a reasonable and defendable thesis.
o Don’t try to tackle too much or too little in your thesis.
o Support your thesis with facts, examples, statistics, and/or expert opinions.
o Be sure to make a clear connection between your thesis and your evidence.
o It should be explicitly clear to the reader how you arrive at your conclusions.
o You must always analyze your evidence to show how it serves to prove your thesis.
o Don’t let the evidence speak for you because it won’t; explain its significance.
5. Logical Fallacies
o Avoid errors in logic or reasoning.
o Watch for the most common errors in reasoning: non sequitur (“it does not follow”), oversimplification, hasty generalization, either/or reasoning, doubtful or unidentified authority, ad hominem (“to the man”), straw man argument, begging the question,circular logic, false analogy, and post hoc, ergo propter hoc (“after this, therefore because of this”).
o Your argument should be easy to follow.
o You should build towards your strongest points; don’t begin with them.
o You should have a well-constructed intro (with thesis), body (with evidence and analysis), and conclusion.
o Include a “Works Cited” page.
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