English100 :Arguing a position

Essay 3: Arguing a Position

Compose a position argument on a controversial issue.

Your 3-4 page argumentative essay must present:

A controversial issue.Controversy means that many points of view collide on a current issue. The challenge is to first narrow the topic by researching the material available to you. If you choose to explore the issue of school violence, for example, you may ask, do bully programs help to reduce school violence? Or is an inadequate/underutilized mental health care system to blame for school shootings? Or will universal background checks work to reduce school violence? Regardless of your focus, if your topic is controversial you should be able to find many articles, mostly of academic quality, in the Palomar library databases.

A thesis statement that clearly states your position. In “Children Need to Play, Not Compete,” Jessica Statsky argues, “When overzealous parents and coaches impose adult standards on children’s sports, the result can be activities that are neither satisfying nor beneficial to children.” It is clear that Statsky opposes “kiddie sports.” In “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide,’” Daniel J. Solove argues, “The problem with the nothing-to-hide argument is the underlying assumption that privacy is about hiding bad things.” Solove argues against the sort of information the government is allowed to glean from us, eroding our privacy. For more information, read “Asserting a Thesis” pp. 505-508.

Plausible reasons and support for your position. To argue your position on an aspect of school violence, you will need to give reasons supported by examples, statistics, authorities, and anecdotes. Statsky gives four reasons for her position on competitive sports for children; Solove gives four. The formal topic outline that should accompany this essay, will help you to develop solid reasons for your position backed by expert support. For more information, read “Giving Reasons and Support,” pp. 508-514 and “Formal Topic Outline,” pp. 424-425.

Counter arguments and anticipation of readers’ objections. In “Working at McDonalds,” Amitai Etzioni acknowledges that some readers might believe that fast food restaurant jobs for teens are good, by writing, “At first, such jobs may seem right out of the Founding Fathers’ educational manual for how to bring up self-reliant, work-ethic-driven, productive youngsters.” For more information, read “Responding to Objections and Alternatives” pp. 514-517.

MLA Format with proper citations and a Works Cited list. Chapter 20, “Citing and Documenting Sources in MLA Style,” pp. 554–582 contains all the information you need about Joseph Gibaldi’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8thedition. There is also a Modern Language Association website: www.mla.org and resources offered on the Palomar College Library page. Proper MLA format is required, counting for 10% of this essay’s grade. (Note: The Works Cited does not count as one of the required 3-4 pages.)

A minimum of 5 scholarly citations (quoted, paraphrased, or summarized) from authorities/experts in the related field. Each of the required sources must be taken from academic journals, where you’ll find peer reviewed articles written by scholars in the field. These journals do not contain advertisements and they are highly referenced and footnoted. Example academic journals are Spectator, Social Science Quarterly, andThe Harvard Journal of Medicine. CQ Researcher is not considered a scholarly journal, but you may use it as a critical source. Often library databases allow you to narrow a search to include only material found in academic journals.


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