How to Write an Argumentative Essay

You will be writing an argumentative essay on a topic of your choice. The topic you choose must be debatable and you must take a clear stand on one side of the issue. Your topic must also be on a small enough scale that it is appropriately narrow for a 3-5 page essay. Your essay must include a title, an introductory paragraph, which contains your argumentative thesis statement, at least three body paragraphs, which provide support for your argument and a conclusion paragraph.

Research from at least two outside sources is required to provide evidence and support for your argument. Research must be cited using APA style. You must include a reference page, which lists the specific sources you used and properly cite the sources within your essay. An example essay is provided below for reference. Please read this before writing your essay. In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the touchstone.

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Choosing a Topic You may choose any topic you wish as long as the topic has two clear sides and is not agreed upon by most of society. Your topic should be current and should have a narrow focus appropriate for a 3-5 page essay.  Essay Guidelines Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until your essay meets all guidelines.  We also suggest reading the complete sample essay before you begin writing. Argumentative Thesis Statement and Focus Does the topic of the argument have two clear sides? Do you take a clear position on the argument in your thesis statement? Is the topic appropriately narrow for a 3-5 page essay? Development and Support Are all details relevant to the argumentative thesis statement? Is your position supported through use of rhetorical appeals? Is your position supported through evidence? Essay Structure and Organization Does your essay have an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement? Does your essay have at least three body paragraphs, which support your thesis statement?

Does your essay have a conclusion paragraph that wraps up the essay? Are the essay paragraphs logically sequenced? Have you used transitions to connect ideas between sentences and paragraphs? Is it easy to follow the argument? Style Have you checked your essay for redundancies and imprecise language? Does your essay employ a formal style and objective tone? Sources and Citations Have you referenced at least two outside sources as evidence for your argument? Are your sources current and credible? Have you properly cited the sources using APA style within your essay and included a reference page? Conventions Have you checked your essay for grammatical errors? Have you used Spell-Check or another method to check spelling? Have you used punctuation correctly? Have you checked your essay for sentence run-ons and sentence fragments? Reflection Have you answered all of the reflection questions thoughtfully and thoroughly?

Are your answers to the reflection questions included on a separate page below your essay? Have you met or exceeded the required length for each reflection response? Before You Submit Have you given your essay a title? Have you included your name, date, and course at the top left of the page? Is your essay between 3-5 pages (1,000-1,500 words)?

Reflection Questions How did your purpose and audience shape the way in which you wrote your argument? (1-2 sentences) What was the most difficult part of writing your argumentative essay? (2-3 sentences) Which appeals did you use and how do you think they strengthened your argument? (3-4 sentences) How has your understanding of argumentative writing changed after completing this unit? (2-3 sentences) Scoring Your composition and reflection will be scored according to the Touchstone 2 Rubric, which considers your essay structure, essay organization, argumentative claim and focus, development and support for your argument, style and conventions.

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