Goal: Write a 2-3 page essay (750 words min) rebutting someone else’s argument from the New York Times forum “Room for Debate. ( You can pick from either of the 5 debaters)
Research: You need at least 2 sources for this essay (and a Works Cited Page). The source that you’re rebutting will count. But you also need another source to back-up your claims. It is possible that all of your sources will come from the Times.
(New york times Room for debate link) ( the debates are about 2-3 short minute reads)
So what does it mean to rebut? The point of a Rebuttal Essay is to argue against another author’s claims or ideas.You might be reading your local newspaper, and you see a letter from a concerned parent, which argues that the local school system is failing her kids and other children.But you say to yourself, “This mother doesn’t have her facts right! ”Moreover, you actually have evidence that the school is successful and that most students even like it.In a real world-scenario, you might write a letter rebutting this parent in the same newspaper.(I, in fact, did this shortly after I graduated college.One of my high school classmates blasted my high school for failing to prepare her for college, but I wrote a piece arguing that it had prepared me well.
When you write a rebuttal, you’ll obviously rely on your opinions, ideas, experiences, etc. But to make a really strong case against someone else’s argument, you need to establish a solid argumentative position. You can do this by adding research, showing your readers that you have information to back up your claims. Further, it’s critical that you show your reader that you understand clearly the position presented by the person whom you are debating.
I. KEY PARTS
1.The text/author that you are rebutting should be clear (read: put in the intro).
2.Your thesis statement should not only be about the issue being debated but should be related to the original text/author (see example below).
3.The body of your essay will focus on the weaknesses of the writer’s argument. (Of course, you can use the rhetorical strategy of pointing out the strengths and areas of agreement as well. This may make you appear more objective and a compassionate arguer.)
4.The body should use various forms of citation from the original text—and include another source to back up your argument. (There’s no set number of how many quotes, paraphrases, etc. that you should have.)
5.The conclusion should wrap up your essay and leave a lasting impression.