Expert Answer:Essay 3 Prompt


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ESSAY 3: Arguing a Position
Due: April 14, 2019
English 1A
ASSIGNMENT: Write an essay on an issue upon which reasonable people disagree. Try to
choose an issue with which you have had some personal experience. Learn more about the issue,
and take a position on it. Be sure the topic is appropriately narrow. Present the issue to readers,
and develop an argument for the purpose of confirming, challenging, or changing your readers’
views on the issue.
TOPIC: We all argue, and we all try to persuade various people of various things at different
times in our lives; therefore, learning to argue effectively is a very important skill. Moreover,
college-level research papers always make some kind of an argument, so this skill is especially
important for our next assignment (the research paper), and for the writing you will do in the rest
of your college classes. In this essay, you will argue for a specific position within a topic upon
which reasonable people disagree.
PURPOSE: Your general purpose is to persuade. It is possible to persuade others to—if not
completely agree with your position—at least to understand why you hold it and to respect you
for it.
AUDIENCE: Your audience is the academic community. Because you are writing for a college
class, you need to use sources that are accepted in the academic community. What your Sunday
School teacher says, what the religious text of your choice says, and what your crazy uncle says
are not sources that have much currency in the academic community although they are valuable
and important sources in other contexts. Because you will choose an issue upon which
reasonable people disagree, a respectful tone is extremely important.
INVENTION AND WRITING: In this assignment, part of what can really help you in the
invention phase is to have multiple conversations with people, especially people who disagree
with your point of view. Listen carefully to their concerns and try to come up with ways to
answer, or at least to mitigate, those concerns.
1. Learn to consider an argument from the opposing point of view and refute or accommodate
the opposing views.
2. Maintain a tone of respect, even when expressing your views passionately.
3. Find credible, academic sources to support your point of view.
4. Document secondary sources appropriately using MLA guidelines
TRAPS TO AVOID: You will want to avoid the following problems especially:
1. The most common error in this assignment is to mistake assertion for argumentation, in part
because so many people misuse the term argument. While your “argument” with a reckless
driver in the school parking lot might involve asserting your point of view aggressively, when
academics speak of argument they mean something else entirely. Here’s the distinction: An
assertion states a point, but an argument explains why the writer believes it and attempts to
anticipate the reader’s questions or objections.
2. The other big mistake students make is related to the first, and that is an inappropriate tone.
Disrespectful word choice (insulting people on the other side, for example) will not be tolerated.
Rather, you should make sure that you back up your points with reasons and evidence, and you
should make a serious attempt to anticipate reasonable reader concerns. (If you imagine that
you’re having a conversation with a friend who disagrees with you, you’ll do a better job. In fact,
you might want to have several conversations of exactly that sort while you’re working on the
paper, and incorporate your insights into the paper.)
3. Treating the subject too superficially (especially a lack of sufficient research)
1. At least three sources from the Chaffey Library catalog or databases.
2. Acknowledge sources using MLA documentation style.
1. Essay 3 requires that you quote and paraphrase your sources appropriately and that you
document them correctly.
2. At least three sources from the Chaffey Library’s databases. Please note: only sources from
the Chaffey Library’s databases will count for credit toward this assignment. Part of the purpose
of this assignment is to acquaint you with the library’s resources so that you will be more
prepared for the research paper.

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