In this assignment, we turn away from digital and public writing and towards academic writing. You’re in college. College is an academic space and, as such, has expectations that you can write effectively in academic genres. To that end, we are going to write a researched, academic argument essay.

This may be a familiar assignment to some of you, as you may have been introduced to this kind of writing in high school, or you may have been asked to write in this genre for other classes you have taken in college. However, it’s been my experience that most 2010 students still need to develop their abilities to craft an in-depth, researched, well-organized argument. This is probably because most of your experience in writing academic arguments has likely been based on a format or formula. To write with academic sophistication, we have to examine these formulas so we can break free of their constraints. That’s what we’re going to do with this assignment.

Purpose:

Depending on your experience with this genre, the idea behind this assignment is to either introduce you to academic argument essay writing, or to reinforce/develop your abilities to writing these kinds of essays. We will draw on your awareness of rhetorical and genre analysis to figure out how these essays work, how to research and incorporate others’ ideas into your own, and to create a well organized argument that is determined by you, not by a format.

Process:

  1. You will continue with the same topic you used for the Digital and Print Genre Assignment.
  2. We will collect and analyze the formats, formulas, and rhetorical strategies you currently use for writing academic argument essays.
  3. We will develop a new, more flexible, strategy for approaching academic argument essays.
  4. You will develop a specific, arguable question about your topic/issue that you will address in your essay.
  5. We will review Research Strategies and Works Cited processes.
  6. You will collect and annotate several sources for their credibility and evidentiary value.
  7. You will develop Working Thesis statements from our research and opinions.
  8. We will use Graphic Organizers to help you organize your research.
  9. We will meet in individual conferences to talk about your essay plans.
  10. We will explore Logical Fallacies and how they undermine academic arguments (and how they further non-academic ones!)
  11. You will draft your essay and share it with others for feedback.
  12. You will complete your final draft.

Format:

You’ll be turning in one thing for this assignment: the academic argument essay. For this assignment, I am going to mandate a minimum page length because one of the conventions of academic arguments is that they go into depth. So, this assignment needs to be 6-8 pages long (not including the Works Cited page). Double spaced, 1-inch margins, 12-pt font, no double spacing between paragraphs). That’s about 1500 to 2000 words.

 
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