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Argument Essay/Blog and Peer Review
Length: 1000 Words
Argument Essay Instructions
this assignment, you are asked to write an argument essay with a specific thesis
that you explain and support. But there’s a slight twist--
Imagine you have your
own blog and, like many bloggers out there, you periodically post your
considered opinion on specific social or political issues, such as those
related to injustice, marginalization of particular people or groups, social
inequality, mental health issues, and so on. Your aim is to reach a readership
that will read your work with care and think about your ideas and insights, not
only because the topics are relevant to those readers, but because your writing
is strong and compelling. In order to reach this audience, you need to use
language in engaging and persuasive ways and organize your ideas clearly. For
your audience to take your point seriously, you need to explain it and provide
some form or forms of support to “prove” your argument.
However, you are not writing a conventional
academic essay, and the proofs and how you present them are not going to come
from academic journals and scholarly books. Instead, you are going to write
about something you already know about, something that you feel very strongly
about, and something that you want others to think about. Your “evidence” will
be your own insights rooted in your knowledge of the issue. You can use
secondary sources, but if you do, they must be reliable and respected (see
Sources below). You can use personal experience or the experiences of family
and/or friends, but do keep in mind that you are writing about an issue that
affects others in our society, so don’t focus entirely on personal biography.
You can write in the first person, quote or paraphrase sources if and when
appropriate, and use narrative to describe situations.
The three rhetorical
appeals provide proven means of persuading your audience. You must use a
combination of ethos, pathos and logos, or you might use one or two of the
appeals as an essential part of how you try to persuade your readers.
Every true argument
has a thesis—a point that can be debated. You cannot argue that almost everyone
loves music; you can argue which music you think is the “best” or most
meaningful. You cannot argue that learning to read is important because we all
need to read at some point; you can argue how and why it is important to
read certain kinds of texts.
In the kind of
argument you will write, the full thesis doesn’t necessary need to be in the
first paragraph. You could begin by asserting that X is important/
frightening/enriching/ridiculous/dangerous/fulfilling/ ….. and then move on to
explain and support your claim until your ideas culminate to the point where
you assert “This is why or how X is important and why we need to change Y”.
In a formal academic essay, you would state your thesis claim AND why
it is important AND how you will support this claim all in the first
paragraph. However, in less formal written arguments, this strategy can be
replaced by another strategy—one which you think, after careful consideration
and experimentation , will keep your readers reading to the end and
persuade them to agree with you. This might mean “saving” your specific thesis
until later in the essay, only implying it until you have drawn your readers
in. It might mean using some irony or satire or humour, if used to good effect
(i.e. if it will help persuade your readers). Think about arguments you have
read in well-respected magazines or insightful, intelligent newspaper
editorials. Think about the TED talks you have viewed (or
in other contexts). Think outside the “academic” box.
Although this is not a conventional academic
argument essay, you still need to be specific—avoid sweeping generalizations,
unfounded conclusions and stereotypes. The writing should be clear and you must
avoid unnecessary wordiness. This is a short essay—make every word count.
bloggers do use secondary sources in their arguments, others often don’t.
Instead, they write about a topic they have knowledge of and use their own
critical thinking skills to develop “evidence” to support their own
If you choose to use secondary sources, including
any course readings, you must reference them and so according to MLA