Researched Position Paper
Since this is the last essay of the semester, you want to do your best work on it. Budget enough time to do the research! Ask questions if you are not sure about something! Make sure you cite your sources correctly! You will not make a passing grade on this essay if you do not cite your sources both in-text AND on the Works Cited page using 9th edition MLA format!
While they are not perfect, refer to the student essays posted as models.
The Rhetorical Situation
For this paper, you will practice joining—and advancing—a preexisting conversation. This means you have to give enough background information in your introduction for your audience to understand your issue and why you believe it is significant. You will generate your own main claim and reasons, and you will support them with evidence gained from outside sources (logos), establish credibility by synthesizing those sources responsibly and effectively and in a way that fully establishes your (ethos), and appeal to the emotions and values of the audience you choose to address (pathos).
1. Your first task is to come up with a central claim, which may be a claim of fact, definition, cause, value, or policy.
Once you’ve settled on your central claim, attach as many reasons as are necessary to support your position.
Your claim and reasons together will form your thesis, which should advance the conversation about your issue.
For each of your reasons, provide sufficient evidence that your reasons are true. Your personal experiences, observations, and reasoning count as evidence, but you should also draw on credible outside sources for evidence to support your reasons.
Address at least one extended counterargument in your argument. You may choose a hypothetical naysayer or a real opponent found in an outside source. Make sure you state your opponent’s position accurately, make any necessary concessions, and then offer your own rebuttal.
Make sure that in your writing you come across as a person of good character, good sense, and good will. In order to accomplish this:
know what you’re talking about. Find ample outside sources, read extensively on your topic, and investigate the full range of positions on your issue.
show respect for your readers.
come across as approachable and thoughtful, not arrogant and insensitive.
consider alternate viewpoints and treat opponents with respect—don’t ignore or demean the opinions of others.
be careful and meticulous in your writing, not sloppy and disorganized.
For this essay you will choose your own audience. This audience should be specific (no “American people” or “people interested in my topic”)—it should consist of a person, group, organization, or publication with a proper name and an address (physical or electronic) to which you could send your paper. Appeal to these readers by:
presenting a clear, well-organized, well-supported argument that shows you’ve read extensively and understand what’s at stake in and what’s been written about your topic.
mixing standard written English with “the kinds of expressions and turns of phrase that you use every day when conversing with family and friends.” You’ll need to choose an appropriate style based on the audience for whom you’re writing.
evoking emotions (sympathy, outrage, anger, delight, pride, awe, shame, horror, etc.) in your audience that are likely to help make your argument more convincing.
evoking sensations (seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling) that make your writing vivid and cause your audience to experience things imaginatively.
appealing to values that you and your audience share.
Arrange the information in your essay according to the outline instructions.
Don’t assume that your readers will want to read your argument. Generate reader interest by demonstrating what is at stake in your argument and why it is important.
Ultimately, your judgments about the appropriate language for the situation should always consider your likely audience and your purpose in writing.
About the closest thing to a universal writing rule is that you should craft unified paragraphs, which consists of (1) a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea of the paragraph and (2) supporting sentences that cluster around the main idea without detours.
Check your paper carefully for grammar and mechanics. Consult online sources or ask me if you’re unsure about rules and conventions.
Any time you cite sources, document them properly according to MLA 9th edition format. Consult the Purdue OWL to understand how to do this correctly, but also be sure to follow my instructions if they differ from what the book or website says.
You must use at least four credible sources to support your argument, but the more sources you use in your essay and thus the longer your Works Cited list, the more likely it is that you will seem thoroughly enmeshed in the conversation and the likelier it is that you will provide ample evidence to support your claims. Three of these sources must come from our library’s databases.
Your paper should be no shorter than 3.5 and no longer than 6 full pages. That means 3.5 pages of text not counting the Works Cited page. It should be double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman font, with 12-point character size and one-inch margins all the way around.
Researched Position Paper