ENGL 111 English Composition Statewide Online Course
Writing Project 4: Argument Paper
For this assignment, you will build off the same topic used in the Writing Project 3. Your purpose is to take a position on the issue or problem you synthesized in Writing Project 3 and to make a
case for a claim about the topic/problem that will influence a reasonably skeptical audience. Because you have worked towards developing a clear understanding of the scope of the problem or
issue in Writing Project 3, you are now in a position to take an informed position on the issue and to argue, for example, for a specific definition of key terms, a specific evaluation of a proposal, a
specific analysis of the causes of the problem, or a specific solution to the problem. Your claim must be supportable with observable, measureable, and replicable evidence. Avoid claims that are
derived from moral or personal values, or which are simple claims of one person’s or group’s sense of right and wrong, or which are based solely or primarily on emotional appeals (review Chapter
10 for more on types of argumentative appeals).
Claims are established as one or more of the four types of claims discussed in Chapter 10.
An effective argument appeals to logic and reason (logos), appeals to how readers and the writer feel about an issue (pathos), and seeks to project that the writer’s argument is fair, just, and
honest for all the stakeholders (ethos) (review the section on “Rhetorical Appeals to the Audience” in Chapter 4 for more on these types of appeals).
You will need to use at least five sources from the Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases in your writing. Some or all of these may come from the sources you found for your Annotated Bibliography
and/or used in Writing Project 3. As you focus on your specific claim and argument, you may want to do additional research to better support your position. Thus, your bibliography for Writing
Project 4 will likely be similar to, but not identical with, your bibliography for Writing Project 3.
Your draft must also include a fair and balanced discussion of at least one major counter-argument to your claim—respectfully and accurately summarizing the opposing viewpoint. Be sure your
paper includes a clear, fair, and respectful refutation for this counter-argument.
Your claim about a solution to a problem or a position on a topic is your argument. However, it does little good to propose a solution to or an analysis of a situation that your readers are not
convinced has anything to do with them. So, do the audience analysis before undertaking your first draft. Your purpose is to influence your readers, not just tell them what you think is right. To
do that you need to think about what those readers are like, what motivates and interests them, and why they should care about what you have to say on this topic. Your audience may not
agree with you in the end, but they should accept that your position is valid, well-supported, and capable of being held by a rational and credible person.
• 200 points possible
• 1700 words minimum, double-spaced, using Times New Roman 12-point font
• MLA or APA manuscript style with in-text documentation and Works Cited or References page (this page does not count in the minimum word count requirement)
• Clear, arguable claim that is supportable with rational evidence
• Effective use of counter-argument and rebuttal
• Academic tone; observation of the conventions of Standard English
• Audience awareness
• Use of at least five print sources from the Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases, representing two or more points of view on the position being argued
• First draft must include a minimum 200-word audience analysis. This analysis should appear as the first item in your first draft, before page 1 of the actual paper. Audience analysis is to
be removed from the final draft.
1. COLLECT. Review the material that you collected from the Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases for your Annotated Bibliography and Writing Project. You may decide to drop a couple of
the sources from the third project. You may decide to add new material to replace items OR to add to the items from Writing Project 3. In any event, you will need at least five items for Writing
Project 4. Be sure you know enough about the authors and the organizations the material comes from to establish the authority of these sources; remember you have to say something in your
paper to boost your readers’ confidence in what you are using as evidence. Be clear about why your topic is of interest to those authors as well as to your readers. Look over what your
classmates are saying in the prewriting discussion forums. Some may be dealing with similar topics, and some may be using sources or have ideas that might be useful to you even if your
classmate is writing about a different topic. Note the changes they are considering as they move from the third into the fourth writing project.
Use journaling, brainstorming, branching, reader-response charts, and especially the double-entry log that is explained in the textbook to collect and organize your notes.
Part of the “collecting” process is to think carefully about your own audience. Make a distinction between the audience/readers that the authors of these readings may have in mind and the
audience/readers you have in mind for your audience analysis. Be sure you are talking about your audience and NOT your topic in the audience analysis.
2. SHAPE your writing.
Create a thesis statement. This statement should make an arguable claim about the topic or issue. This time, you are taking a position that makes sense to you in light of what you learned in
Writing Project 3.
Integrate the thesis into an introduction. The introduction should present your main claim/thesis. It should also establish an “essay map” for your work. This essay map should establish the main
supporting reasons for your claim. Be sure each of these reasons can be supported with empirical (observable, measureable, replicable) evidence. Go beyond presenting values and common
knowledge as evidence. Finally, an introduction should at least suggest why this issue is significant.
Choose an organizational pattern. Refer to Chapter 10 for some suggested patterns for argument papers.
Review and revise your outline. Review and revise your Working Outline from Session 12 before you start your first draft. This outline should be consistent with the organizational pattern you
already picked. You may find yourself returning to this list to revise it as you write. Edit any new ideas into this list so they don’t get lost or end up in confusing places in your writing.
3. DRAFT your writing using the working outline you created.
• Use MLA or APA style in-text citation and bibliographic documentation. Select the style (MLA or APA) that is appropriate for the kind of audience you have in mind and for the topic you
are working with.
• Use transitions between paragraphs. Solid development may require more than one paragraph to discuss any one particular point from your list. When that happens, effective
paragraph transition can give your readers a clear indication that you are still on the same general point or that you are moving on to a new point.
• Be coherent. Be sure the ideas you borrow are necessary in order to make something clear to your readers. Don’t borrow anything beyond what is absolutely needed, and don’t leave a
borrowed idea or passage hanging without any discussion of why it is important.
• Review to eliminate obvious errors in grammar, mechanics, syntax, citation, and documentation. Even a first draft should be reasonably clear to your peer editors!
• Submit your first draft for peer review. This will be done using the GROUP link found in Class Session 13.
4. REVISE your draft after you review the feedback you receive from the peer review. Do not turn in your first draft later on as if it were the final draft. No final draft will be accepted
without a first draft, and the two of them must show significant changes (not just spell-check changes) between the two versions.
• Effective introduction, including: clear thesis that establishes an arguable and empirically supported claim; essay map that identifies key sub-claims; attempt to establish significance
of topic; audience awareness in tone and style
• Fair and accurate discussion of at least one alternate point of view, including respectful, fair, and complete summary as well as logical and evidence-based refutation of that alternate
point of view
• Thesis is well-supported with logic and evidence. Evidence should include empirical evidence (facts, statistics, expert opinion) from published sources to support claims; evidence may
also include use of first-hand observation, examples from personal experience, interviews, polls, etc.
• Writer’s language discernible from that of source authors. Source information discussed and reasonably connected to the claims you are making
• Effort to establish credibility of sources used
• Effective organization, coherence, and paragraph transitions
• Overall, readers are convinced of the validity of the writer’s claim (whether or not they agree). Writer demonstrates that a reasonable person could rationally hold this position
• Works Cited or References page (minimum of five items) in correct MLA or APA style
• Clear control of Standard English conventions for grammar, style, mechanics, and academic format
Refer to the section on “Guidelines for Revision” in Chapter 10 for key revision points.
Phases of the Project 4:
Audience Analysis Session 13
First Draft Session 13
Peer Reviews Session 14
Final Draft Session 15
The Audience Analysis
Due by the end of Session 13, as part of the First Draft
See the section on Audience Analysis in Chapter 2 in our textbook for more discussion of the parts of an audience analysis
The audience analysis should be minimum 200 words in length, and should appear as the first item in your first draft, before page 1 of the actual paper. Use copy & paste to add your audience
analysis to your first draft file before posting.
1. Audience profile. Describe and define your target audience. Who do you want to inform and influence? What are these kinds of people like? What are the characteristics that make this
topic useful, interesting, or important to these kinds of people? (approximately 2-4 sentences)
2. Audience-subject relationship. Discuss what your audience probably already knows—if anything—about the topic or problem you are investigating. Think about what they may not
know. Think about why they might think your claim is important to them. What attitudes or biases do you expect in your audience? (approximately 2-4 sentences.)
3. Audience-writer relationship. Consider what you may have in common with your audience and what separates you from your audience. Consider whether your audience will trust what
you have to say or not. Are you “one of them,” or do they need to know something you before they are likely to have confidence in you? Discuss the persona you want to project to your
readers. (approximately 2-4 sentences.)
The First Draft
Due by the end of Session 13
First drafts consist of the following elements:
1. A left-hand block header that includes your name, instructor’s name, class/section, and date
2. A separate title for the paper, centered on the title line and in the same size, style, and font as the rest of the document—not underlined. Use an original title that suggests your main
point or approach (not “Argument Paper”).
3. MLA or APA formatting, including in-text documentation and a separate Works Cited or References page at the end.
4. Minimum 1275 words for draft stage. (1700 words for the final draft.)
5. A minimum 200-word audience analysis. This analysis should be posted at the beginning of the draft paper, before page 1 of the actual paper. Use copy & paste to add your audience
analysis to your first draft file before posting. The audience analysis will not be included in the word-count requirement for the draft itself. The audience analysis must be removed from the final
draft that is due in Session 15.
Instructions for posting your first draft for peer review can be found in the Class Session 2 folder.
Due by the end of Session 14
You will be writing peer reviews of at least two classmates’ first drafts in Session 14. Full instructions for how to post peer reviews can be found in the Class Session 2 folder. Full instructions for
how to respond to peers’ drafts can be found in the Class Session 14 folder.
Due by the end of Session 15
Final drafts must consist of the following elements:
1. Final drafts must clearly be related to the earlier, first drafts. A progression of thinking from one draft to the next must be evident. Major changes in organization, new examples or
ideas, or deletion of elements from the first to the final draft are expected, but the final must still be clearly a development of that first draft.
2. No final draft will be accepted until a first draft has been submitted—even if the first draft is late and worth no points, it must precede the final draft.
3. The audience analysis must be removed from the final draft.
4. The final draft must be properly formatted in MLA or APA style, must include a title block, and must include both in-text citations in the body of the paper and a Works Cited or
References list at the end. The Works Cited or References list is NOT included in the word count requirement.
5. The final draft is to be a minimum of 1700 words in length.
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