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This is a rough draft

Objective: Use the primary and secondary research you conducted on your research topic to develop your own distinct stance on the topic answering or responding to a research question. Write and revise an essay that presents a thesis communicating your stance, supports that thesis with arguments grounded primary and secondary research evidence, and attempts to persuasively convince an audience. Formally document your secondary research sources in-text and on a bibliography.

We have spent significant time in the course learning how to analyze and synthesize information and ideas from both primary and secondary sources. For the final formal writing assignment of the semester, you will draw on those same skills to help you form an argument of your own in response to a focused research question. You will consider your own opinions and experiences and support them against opposing viewpoints. Your voice should dominate this essay, using sources as support for your ideas. You want to take stand on your topic, finding something to say about your research question that has not already been established in the literature: a new idea or fresh perspective. Do not be afraid to break with conventional wisdom or find middle ground that is not recognized or established in the research youve found.

Topic
You want to pick a topic you are curious about, but do not already have a committed position.  If you already know the answer going in, you will be biased by that: you will be more prone to agree with those sources that support your position, and more likely dismiss those that oppose.  As a result, certain topics today that are highly charged and tend to produce strong opinions are not a good choice for this essay.  So, do not choose as a topic the following: death-related issues such as abortion, death penalty, euthanasia; issues of religious belief/opinion; gun control, cloning, gay marriage, etc.

Planning Your Argument Essay
Most of the planning for this assignment has been done already. In fact, most of this semester has been preparing you to write this essay. Re-read and take stock of all the research youve conducted, not only your secondary sources but also the interviews you conducted for primary research. It is from these sources that you will derive evidence and construct arguments to support your thesis.

Research Criteria
You will include at least six (6) sources total, including at least four (4) separate secondary sources and one (1) primary source for this essay, representing differing perspectives on your research question.

Drafting the Argument Essay
Thesis Statement
There are a variety of ways to develop a thesis statement. But as you begin to shape a thesis statement for this essay you will want to go back to your original research question, proposed in the research proposal, and narrow that to a question which has some tension, focused on an idea that can be debated. As you write drafts of your argument essay, you should continue to revisit and refine your thesis statement so that it more accurately communicates your stance on your research topic and reflects the arguments you make.

Consult our textbook readings in Module 06, in particular M06 Readings on Developing Thesis Statements, for some helpful approaches for developing a thesis statement. In your initial post for M06 Discussion: “Arguing to Convince – Making Your Case” also provides you a starting point for developing your thesis statement. (NOTE: If working from the working thesis statement you developed for M06 Discussion, remove the “I believe” statement before including the thesis statement in your draft. Using statements like “I believe” are helpful to writers when they are conceiving their ideas, but such statements are not commonly used in formal compositions.)

Below are additional considerations to help you as you develop a thesis.

Characteristics of an effective thesis statement:

An effective thesis statement for this assignment will meet the following characteristics. It will

Answer or respond to your research question Your thesis statement should come up with some sort of answer or response to the research question you proposed in your research proposal. This answer, of course, will be developed and proven in the rest of your essay.
Be debatable Your thesis statement will take a stand that other readers may readily disagree with and that you will need to prove or justify with valid arguments. Your purpose in your argument essay is to convince your readers; that cant be done if they would already agree with your stance.
Be supportable You must be able to back up or prove your thesis statement with evidence derived from your primary and secondary sources. You might hold a variety of views or beliefs about your research topic, but only those you can support with evidence will make for a valid thesis.
Be significant the stance you take or view you express in your thesis statement should matter because it changes how people understand the issue and/or changes how people respond to or are affected by the issue.
Organization
Just as there are a variety of ways to develop a thesis, there are also a variety of ways to organize an essay. Consult our textbook readings in Module 06, including M06 Readings on Developing Thesis Statements and M06 Readings on Organizing an Argument for some helpful approaches for organizing an argument essay. As you develop an organization for your essay, also remember to use transitional words and phrases to help you readers recognize the organizational pattern you are using, see the relationships between your ideas, and see the connection between one argument and the next.

You are also encouraged to create an outline for your argument essay prior to writing your rough draft. An outline will help you to fully conceive the stance you will take on your research topic; what it is you will say to support that stance; and, especially, the focus, order, and evidenced used to support arguments you will make. You can read about developing an outline in M06 Readings on Organizing an Argument.

ROUGH DRAFT: In this rough draft think of what you learned about both Arguing to Convince (and methods to convince your reader of your position) and Arguing to Negotiate (and Rogerian methods  to negotiate or mediate to solve a problem). What language, content, and strategies will be persuasive to your audience logically, emotionally, and ethically? How might you be attentive to your audience here in order to establish a common ground? The rough draft should be a fairly developed and complete argument; it should be 3-5 pages in length, and should use at least three (3) of your secondary sources as well as at least one (1) of your primary sources.

FINAL DRAFT: After receiving feedback from peers and your instructor on the rough draft, you will revise your argument a final time. When revising, you should consider all feedback you have received, as well as higher-order and lower-order revision concerns, as you shape your argument into its final form.  Additionally, think carefully about your purpose and audience and how you might argue to persuade readers to change their minds and/or their actions. The final draft should be 5-8 pages in length and should use at least six (6) sources total, including at least four (4) of your secondary sources as well as at least one (1) primary source.

Assignment Submission
Researched Argument Essay Rough Draft submitted in Module 6

Peer Responses submitted in Module 7

Final Draft submitted in Module 8

Argument Essay Specifics
Final Draft length should be 5-8 pages, double-spaced, using 12 point Times New Roman or similar font.
Include argumentative thesis statement with clear claim and reasons, effective and coherent organization, and arguments in support of the thesis that take into consideration audience and purpose.
Evidence from primary and secondary sources to prove each argument
Observation of the conventions of Standard English
Use of at least six (6) sources total, including at least four (4) secondary sources, and one (1) primary source. Paraphrases and quotations from sources cited in-text and sources documented in an MLA style Works Cited or APA style References list (as indicated by your instructor).
Use of MLA or APA formatting style (as indicated by your instructor).

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