Logical Thinking

Essay #3, you’ll write a classic argument essay: You’ll take a position on a controversial issue and support it using your own logical thinking and explanations, along with evidence from at least two sources (the synthesis part). You’ll also make sure that you come across as a credible, trustworthy person (ethos) and that you incorporate enough emotional appeal to make readers care about your issue (pathos). Imagine that you’re writing for a general audience of intelligent readers who care about your issue but are undecided about it. Your essay might appear as an opinion piece in a reputable online newspaper that appeals to a variety of readers, not just conservatives and not just liberals. I’m going to divide this assignment into steps: 1. Choose your topic NOW from the list below. The titles in quotation marks are the Wikipedia pages that you’ll use to learn about your topic and as a source for sources. “Face Masks During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the U.S.” The Question: Should face masks be required in public spaces where social distancing isn’t possible? “Universal Basic Income” The Question: Should the U.S. government provide a basic income to all Americans? “Removal of Confederate Monuments” The Question: Should confederate monuments be removed from public spaces? “Concussions in American Football” The Question: Should tackle football be banned for children under 13? “Corporal Punishment in the Home” The Question: Should parents hit children as a form of discipline? “For-profit Higher Education in the U.S.” The Question: Should for-profit higher education be banned? (“For-profit” doesn’t mean all private schools. It means private schools that are set up to generate profits for stockholders.) “Hydraulic Fracturing in the U.S.” The Question: Should hydraulic fracturing (fracking) be banned? REQUIREMENTS FOR ESSAY #3: MLA format (see page 588 and all of Chapter 54), including an original title that serves as a hook for your essay. An introduction that engages readers and provides them with necessary background information. (Do NOT list your topic sentences in your introduction!) A thesis that responds to one of the questions I provided above. It should appear at or near the end of your introduction unless you decide to put it somewhere else for strategic reasons. At least four body paragraphs. Each one should provide a reason (the topic sentence) that supports your claim (thesis). Each reason should be supported by logical explanations, examples, evidence from sources, evidence from your observations and beliefs, etc. Part of what you need to do in an argumentative essay is EXPLAIN WHY YOU HOLD YOUR POSITION. That could come from your sense of ethics or from observations or from your experiences, in addition to anything that you find in sources. Some discussion of counterarguments and refutation. You could do a little bit of this in each of your body paragraphs, or you could write a separate “refutation” paragraph (it could count as one of your minimum four body paragraphs) that is devoted to raising possible counterarguments and explaining why it isn’t convincing. You may even acknowledge that your opponents are right about some things, but you have to show why that still doesn’t convince you and shouldn’t convince readers. Incorporation of relevant information from at least two sources. You can paraphrase, summarize, or quote directly from the sources. Whatever you do, introduce the source with a signal phrase and include an in-text citation if it has page numbers. You must give credit to the source, whether you’re using their ideas in your own words (paraphrase) or their ideas in their exact words (a direct quote). Readers should ALWAYS be able to tell where each bit of information came from. Providing this information is a courtesy to readers. If you don’t provide it, you’re not being courteous to readers and you’re guilty of plagiarism, which could result in failure for the assignment and even the course. You could use a source as evidence for your position or to represent your opponents’ position. You could also use a source to help provide background information. Be sure that you’ve chosen credible, relevant sources from the list on your Wikipedia page. (Do not use the Wikpedia page as a source.) This isn’t a research paper, so don’t overdo the sources. I want you to think through this topic and explain your position; the sources are just extra support or background information A conclusion that reflects on the significance of the issue. DON’T start with “In conclusion” or any similar transition and DON’T just repeat what you said in your body paragraphs. Answer the question “Why is this important?” You can also reinforce your thesis. A works cited page that lists all the sources you used in your essay in MLA format (see chapter 54). This may be the same works cited you turned in on Nov. 2, or you may have changed or added sources. Just make sure that it corresponds exactly to the sources used in your essay. And of course, clear, correct, graceful sentences. Avoid second person pronouns and questions. Eliminate wordiness. Proofread and correct common errors. Don’t rely on spell checkers or grammar checkers. They’re helpful, but they will not solve everything. English is too challenging for computers!

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