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Eval_Prop_Def Arguments

Page history last edited by Andrew Winckles 10 years, 3 months ago

 

Community Arguments

 

Assignment Description

Many of the issues we face within and between communities is based on three basic types of arguments -  definition, evaluation,  and proposal:

 

  • A definition argument makes a claim about the fundamental nature of something, defining a word, term, issue, or idea based on specific criteria.
  • An evaluation argument makes a claim about the quality of something - whether it is good, bad, effective or ineffective, etc.
  • A proposal argument forwards a specific course of action or set of actions that will benefit the community as a whole or work to resolve an important social issue.

 

For these assignments you will select one artifact, idea, problem, or issue that has arisen from your community research and analyses and write an evaluation, definition, and proposal argument that deals substantively with this specific issue. 

 

Essay One: Definition Argument

 

This paper allows you to focus on an argument type which commonly arises before we can argue about what should be done to address an issue: “What is the nature or definition of something?”  In other words, many of the hot-button issues we argue about in today's culture arise from disagreements about fundamental definitions of concepts like "marriage," "living wage," or "socialism."  Thus, people often argue about these definitions as a way of talking about bigger, policy issues.  These differences in definition are especially prevalent both within community groups and between competing community groups.  For example, the current controversy about the Muslim community center in New York is, in reality, a disagreement over the definition of religious freedom.  In this assignment you will identify one of these definitional issues and work towards a clear definition argument.

 

Invention

The need for definition arises when people have diverging ideas about what a term means or an audience has difficulty understanding a concept. The purpose of this assignment is to define something—a condition or a concept you know well or have researched—either to change an audience’s thinking about its meaning or to help them understand it better. You will need to have some purpose for arguing this definition, and you will need to direct your writing to some audience whose thinking you want to influence. In other words, though our first project focused on the default audience of your classmates, this project demands that you formulate what "real" audience you will be writing for and where you might "send" or submit this piece when it is completed.

 

Some questions to answer while composing this argument are:

 

Why is this term or idea contested?

 

What are the different, competing defnitions?

 

Who holds these positions and why?

 

What is at stake in these arguments over definition?

 

What is the context of these arguments?

 

Who is the audience for the argument?

 

What types of evidence do both sides use argue for their definition?

 

What is your position on the issue?

 

Which definition do you find the most convincing and credible and why?

 

Composition

Remember your credibility is important here, as it is in all arguments. Take care to present yourself as someone who is reasonably well-informed about the issue you’ll discuss. If you have any established ethos with the audience, be sure to draw on that. This also means that you will have to engage in some background research on the topic you are defining.  In order to find out who the players are and how the arguments about the definition are made, you will need to read arguments on both sides of the issue and decide for yourself what you find the most convincing.  This research will then become useful as you try to back up your argument about a definition.  As such, for this project you will be expected to reference a minimum of 2 sources in MLA style, one of which can be an internet source (that is not Wikipedia).  Effective papers will both introduce the context of the controversy and then convincingly and credibly work to define a term or idea from your perspective.

 

This essay should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and is due by Sunday 2/27.

 

Grading Rubric for Definition Argument

 

Student "A Paper" Examples

 

 

 

Essay Two: Evaluation Argument

 

In this essay you will work to evaluate (determine the quality of) something that is valuable to your community.  For example, you could choose to examine:

 

  1. One of your cultural artifacts from project one in more detail.  Instead of telling me how the artifact works, you could evaluate the movie, album, book, etc, as in a review, and why this artifact is important to your community.
  2. An issue or controversy that is occurring within your community or between your community and another.  Is the way this controversy is being handled effective or ineffective?
  3. A defining ideal or practice of your community.  Depending on whether you thought this ideal or practice was good or not, you could make an evaluation arguing for its necessity or its elimination. 

 

This paper will should be driven by a thesis that makes a clear evaluation about the issue/policy ("This policy is (good, bad, ineffective, inefficient) and should clearly relate the evaluation to the specific community issues laid out in your first essays. 

 

Invention

 

This section of the paper should focus on developing the first, evaluative part of your thesis statement (whether the policy is good, bad, etc).  In essence, your evaluation will make a claim about either the nature or the quality of something.  The bulk of this short paper should then be made up of an evaluation based on specific criteria that determine why the policy/issue is good or bad. As such, exploring what others have said or are saying about the topic—testimony and authority—will improve your credibility and the effectiveness of your evaluation.

 

Composition

 

As always, this essay is thesis driven, work to develop a clear, concise thesis that lets the audience know whether the policy in question is good, bad, effective, ineffective, etc and articulates clear criteria for that evaluation.  You should then focus on providing evidence for why the policy or idea under evaluation does (or does not) meet these specific criteria.  Because you will need to understand what others have already written about this topic and use outside information to back up your own evaluation, 2 sources are required for this paper.

 

This essay should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and is due by Sunday 3/13 on your blog.

 

 

 

Essay Three: Proposal Argument

 

For this assignment, you are to advocate that something should be done to address or alleviate the issue or problem you have laid out in your community. Your aim is to convince your audience that a situation is a problem (what you have already done to some extent with evaluation) and that a certain action should be taken to respond to that problem.

 

Invention

As you work out the rhetorical situation for this writing, pay particular attention to the audience for your proposal. You should be able to specify an actual audience and forum for which you would present the proposal. In this case, your proposal should be directed at community members.  Consider what your purpose is—to take action or to create grassroots support for an action that someone other than the audience would take. Your audience should be asked either to undertake the action proposed or to support the action proposed.

 

Consider carefully how differences in audience and forum will influence the specific kind of thesis and support you need to present. As you develop your argument, make effective use of all the strategies of invention that we have been practicing in earlier papers, including the stasis questions, value topics, sources of argument, testimony and authority. You may want to find out how similar policies are enacted in similar situations. You will certainly need to be aware of competing solutions. Supporting the feasibility of your proposal may require investigating implementation, procedure, cost and enforcement.  As such, research is a vital part of this project - you will need to research the problem, possible solutions to this problem, and solutions that have already been tried.  You need to have at least 2 sources for this assignment, only one of which can be an internet source.

 

Composition

In composing this argument, you may decide to use the conventional arrangement, presenting the problem first, demonstrating its nature and negative consequences, then moving to your proposed solution, demonstrating its nature and beneficial consequences, and finally dealing with matters of feasibility. However, all the options for arrangement that we have been practicing in earlier essays are available to you. Audience accommodation in all aspects of composing—in invention, arrangement, and style—is essential to an effective proposal.

 

This essay should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words and is due by Sunday 4/10.

 

Project Two: Definition

 

 

Description

This paper allows you to focus on an argument type which commonly arises before we can argue about what should be done to address an issue: “What is the nature or definition of something?”  In other words, many of the hot-button issues we argue about in today's culture arise from disagreements about fundamental definitions of concepts like "marriage," "life," "living wage," or "socialism."  Thus, people often argue about these definitions as a way of talking about bigger, policy issues.

 

Invention

The need for definition arises when people have diverging ideas about what a term means or an audience has difficulty understanding a concept. The purpose of this assignment is to define something—a condition or a concept you know well or have researched—either to change an audience’s thinking about its meaning or to help them understand it better. You will need to have some purpose for arguing this definition, and you will need to direct your writing to some audience whose thinking you want to influence. In other words, though our first project focused on the default audience of your classmates, this project demands that you formulate what "real" audience you will be writing for and where you might "send" or submit this piece when it is completed.

 

Some questions to anwer while composing this argument are:

 

Why is this term or idea contested?

 

What are the different, competing defnitions?

 

Who holds these positions and why?

 

What is at stake in these arguments over definition?

 

What is the context of these arguments?

 

Who is the audience for the argument?

 

What types of evidence do both sides use argue for their definition?

 

What is your position on the issue?

 

Which definition do you find the most convincing and credible and why?

 

 

Composition

Remember your credibility is important here, as it is in all arguments. Take care to present yourself as someone who is reasonably well-informed about the issue you’ll discuss. If you have any established ethos with the audience, be sure to draw on that. This also means that you will have to engage in some background research on the topic you are defining.  In order to find out who the players are and how the arguments about the definition are made, you will need to read arguments on both sides of the issue and decide for yourself what you find the most convincing.  This research will then become useful as you try to back up your argument about a definition.  As such, for this project you will be expected to reference a minimum of 3 sources in MLA style, only two of which can be an internet source (that is not Wikipedia).  Effective papers will both introduce the context of the controversy and then convincingly and credibly work to define a term or idea from your perspective.

 

Due Dates:

 

  • Short Essay One: In this short essay you will compose an engaging introduction paragraph that leads your reader into a clearly articulated thesis that gives a definition based on specific criteria.  You will then give your audience some background information on the context of the term or idea you are defining - why is this term contested or interesting?  Why does it need clear definition?
    • This short essay should be 2-3 pages long and is due Thursday, 7/22
  • Short Essay Two:  In this short essay you will employ the strategy of counterargument to articulate what the opposing position/view is to your definition.  This will require some research into what the opposing view is.  In this short essay you will strive to represent the opposition's view as accurately as possible so that you have a concrete position to argue against.
    • This short essay should be 2-3 pages long and is due Wednesday, 7/28
  • Final Essay - Your definition argument should encompass the material covered in the first two short essays and then be expanded to make your own distinct definition argument based on distinct criteria you have established in your thesis statement.  Use the skills you developed in Project One to write clear analytical paragraphs that make a clear case for your definition.
    •  The final paper should be 8-10 pages and is due on by Midnight, Sunday, August 1st.

 

Grading Rubric for Definition Argument

 

Student "A Paper" Examples

 

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