Writing to convince

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                          Assignment 2: Writing to Convince

In this assignment, you will go beyond merely informing your readers and will also strive to persuade them to accept your position on a particular topic that is open to debate.

Assignment Instructions

1.   In TMHG, read Chapter 9, “Writing to Convince,” and Chapter 14, “Strategies for Argument.” Refer to Parts 1 – 3 in TSIS.

2.   Write a 1,250 – 1,500 word research-based argument to support your position on some aspect of a topic of your choice, i.e., a topic that is open to debate and about which not every rational person agrees.  Your argument should ultimately be a policy claim, i.e., a claim about what you think should be done with respect to some situation. In supporting policy claims, writers usually need to also make claims of fact and/or claims of value, which, in turn, must be supported with evidence.

See TMHG, Chapter 13, “Using Strategies that Guide Readers”; and Chapter 14, “Using Strategies for Argument.”

3.   Use a minimum of six sources to support your claim.  The sources used must be highly credible, so be selective in your research.  Keep in mind that some policy claims as well as claims of fact and value require empirical data for support, not just someone else’s informed opinion.  However, given the limitations of human subjects research imposed by law on students and faculty by CMU’s Institutional Review Board, any data used in your argument must be gathered by some other source (e.g., the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The World Health Organization, etc.) and may not include data that you have obtained directly (i.e., you may not conduct any interviews, surveys, observations, etc.). Your instructor will probably expect you to upload with your assignment copies of all your print sources and URLs for all web sources.

See TMHG, Chapter 19, “Finding and Evaluating Information.”

4.   In addition to including information based on your own knowledge and experience, use a combination of summary, paraphrase, and quotation in your paper, but no more than 10% of the paper (125-150 words) should consist of quoted material.  Instead, rely on summary and paraphrase. And as you should have learned in ENG 101, all information from sources—whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, whether words or images—must be cited. Keep in mind, though, that your voice, not your sources’, should be most prominent in your argument.

See TMHG, Chapter 3: “Writing to Understand and Synthesize Texts.”

5.   Format your assignment in a way that is appropriate for your intended audience and purpose.  This assignment could take a form different from a traditional school “paper,” e.g., it might take the form of a web page, a brochure, an article in a newsletter or magazine, etc. Whatever final format it takes, develop the text for the peer draft as a print document.

See TMHG, Part Five, Chapter 17, “Choosing a Medium, Genre, and Technology for Your Communication.” 

      Your peers and I will help you decide on an appropriate format for your argument, depending on what you see as its specific purpose and intended audience.

6.   Include any appropriate visuals that will enhance the effectiveness of your argument. All borrowed visuals must be cited.  Use of visuals in this assignment is optional, and visuals might not count toward the total word count for the assignment; it will depend on what kind of visuals you use and how you use them.  Do not include gratuitous visuals, such as clip art; include only visuals that convey relevant meaning and help persuade readers to accept your argument.

See TMGH, Part Five, Chapter 18, “Communicating with Design and Visuals”; and TMHH, Part 1, Chapter 4, “Drafting Paragraphs and Visuals.”

7.   Cite sources using MLA, APA, or Chicago citation style.

See TMHG, Chapter 20, “Synthesizing and Documenting Sources,” and e-handbook, Part 4, Chapters 23 -26.

8.   Give your argument a title that will be effective and appropriate for the intended audience and purpose. Select a specific audience and purpose for your report, and write this at the top of your paper so your peer reviewers and instructor will know.

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