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English Composition II – Week #2 Assignment 1

Narrowing Topics

Your ultimate goal for this class is to write a researched argument paper (also known as an argumentative paper). Each weekly assignment and discussion forum is designed to help you achieve this goal. Your rough draft will be due in week 6, and the final draft will be due in week 8.

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What is an argumentative paper? This week, your readings included an excerpt from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Here is their explanation of an argumentative paper:

“An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.” (Tardiff & Brizzee, 2014)

Reference Citation

Tardiff, E. & Brizzee, A. (2014). Tips and examples for writing thesis statements. Retrieved from https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/545/1/.

Through this assignment, you will sharpen your skills for writing your researched argument paper:

1.Practice narrowing a topic so that sources can be found and a clear thesis can be developed

2.Practice writing a thesis statement

Part A: Narrowing Topics

To write a short researched argument, a topic must be controversial and the main point of view (argument) must be clear. Listed below are three broad and controversial topics. Under each topic are four narrowing questions. Each of those questions moves the topic toward a more narrow focus.

Example 1: Violence in schools

1.What causes violence in high schools?

2.Is there a developing trend in frequency or type of school violence?

3.How should violent school children be punished?

4.What can be done to prevent school violence?

Example 2: Drug use

1.Which drugs should be illegal?

2.What kinds of drugs are the most dangerous?

3.Is there a correlation between childhood exposure to drugs and use of drugs in adulthood?

4.What kind of penalties should there be for the various kinds of illegal drug offenses?

Example 3: Immigration

1.What are the effects of illegal immigration?

2.What are the effects of legal immigration?

3.How should immigration laws be enforced?

4.What’s the driving force behind illegal immigration?

After reviewing the three examples, write three narrowing questions for each of the four topics listed below.

Education

1.Is it necessary to go to college in order to be successful?

2.(Your turn – narrow this topic)

3.(keep going – narrow this topic further)

4.(one more time – keep narrowing the topic)

Sports

1.Are professional athletes paid too much?

2.(Your turn – narrow this topic)

3.(keep going – narrow this topic further)

4.(one more time – keep narrowing the topic)

Health insurance

1.Should health insurance companies be able to charge higher rates depending on a person’s age?

2.(Your turn – narrow this topic)

3.(keep going – narrow this topic further)

4.(one more time – keep narrowing the topic)

Technology

1.Are people spending too much money in order to keep up with the latest gadgets?

2.(Your turn – narrow this topic)

3.(keep going – narrow this topic further)

4.(one more time – keep narrowing the topic)


Part B: Write a thesis statement

Pick two of the topics above, and write two argumentative thesis statements that introduce your controversial topic and your point of view for each topic. Then write two 3-5 sentence paragraphs that support your argument based on your knowledge of each topic.

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