ESSAY 3: SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT FAMEWORK
 
EPIC ENGL 1102 [1]
Essay 3: Argumentative Synthesis
Length: 3-4 pages minimum (1000-1200 words)
 
Due Dates
 
Final Draft: 4/30/19 (submit final draft in the appropriate assignment folder in Course Den).
 
Purpose
In this assignment, you will gain experience with independent research[2] and develop information literacy skills via your examination of self-selected sources by employing skepticism and recognizing your own biases/worldviews and their influence on your assessment of a source.  You will use research to formulate and support an original argument on any of the larger course concepts ( nature, documentary, healthcare, sustainability, media bias, technology, etc.) that synthesizes source material with your contribution to the critical conversation.
 
Task
Select a topic of your choice related to our course focus and research that topic using a variety of methods and sources, being mindful to evaluate each source critically. Investigate all potential sources for usefulness by asking questions about context, stance, and relevance to your topic.
 
Once you have identified your sources, you will synthesize the information gathered to (a) narrow down your topic to a specific argument and (b) serve as support for an original argument and illustrate its relevance in a critical conversation.
 
Below are some guiding questions/prompts to help you get started. You may use one of these, adapt one, or meet with me discuss an idea all your own.
 
Example:
Topic: Equine Therapy
Narrow: What about it? What is it? ( How animal interaction influences human disposition.)
Research: Look for articles about: Equine Therapy- narrow down patients ( kids/PTSD)- in comparison with other animals
Thesis: Equine Therapy has been shown to be more effective in children than alternative therapies. / Equine Therapy has been shown to be less effective for PTSD patients. /Although much research has suggested that Equine Therapy decreases stress, there have also been studies that suggest that it can increase stress (in PTSD patients/ patients with authority issues.)
 
 
 
Criteria for Success

  1. Introducing the Conversation or Context: In the introductory paragraph, you will present a brief overview of the critical conversation you’ve selected to participate in. You should begin by introducing the general topic and then narrow your focus by introducing and summarizing the main arguments of your source materials. Finally, conclude your introduction with an argumentative thesis statement that articulates the position your essay holds in the critical conversation.
  2. Thesis Statement: Your thesis should articulate a specific argument that engages critically and intellectually with the sources you’ve presented in the introduction. Remember, the argument isn’t simply what these sources are “about,” but rather what these sources in concert motivate us to think about a particular issue or subject and where we might go from there. You want to offer your own interpretation or perspective, informed by your sources.
  3. Supporting Argument/Body: Each content paragraph should include three components: (1) a topic sentence, (2) evidence, and (3) analysis. Each topic sentence should make its own argumentative claim that further specifies or demonstrates your reasoning for the overall claim you’ve made in your thesis statement. Evidence, meanwhile, will take the form of quotations or of paraphrases from the source texts that support or illustrate the claim made in the topic sentence. Your analysis will explain how each piece of evidence supports, illustrates, and otherwise proves your argument. This essay should demonstrate your own ability to identify and research a critical conversation and to join it. Consistently analyze your source texts throughout, avoiding personal response or anecdotes, metadiscursive references to the assignment or your writing process, and heavy summary.
  4. Conclusion: Re-emphasize and expand upon your own argument. Reflect on why this topic is important beyond the scope of your own essay. Why should your reader care? What is at stake? Reiterate the value of considering your researched source texts together. In other words, leave your reader with both a sense of the critical conversation reflected in your essay and a way to enter that conversation themselves.
  5. MLA Format: Be sure to use the Purdue OWL website in formatting both you in-text citations and works cited page. Be sure to cite every reference to your source, including any material summarized or paraphrased.

 
Evaluation
See Grading Rubric for Essay 3 posted in Course Den.
 
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