Argument Essay (Peer Review)
I need a draft and a final essay
For this essay, you should choose a topic from the Gale resource on Opposing Viewpoints (see below) and write a 4-5 page essay that argues a clearly defined position about that topic. The essay should have an introduction that has a clear thesis statement and demonstrates the relevance of your topic, several body paragraphs that each make focused claims, and a conclusion.
In upper level courses, you will often be asked to demonstrate your ability to converse with other scholars in your field. Your job is to change the reader’s mind about a particular subject and persuade the reader into believing your argument. Your paper must be written so that it is accessible to readers from a different perspective. In other words, be fair and unbiased when acknowledging what others say about your topic, but then prove why they are wrong using logical reasons and credible evidence. In this essay, you must synthesize various sources while persuading the reader to accept your viewpoint. You do not want to simply report what others are saying, but engage in a dialogue with them.
Purpose and Learning Objectives
The purpose of this assignment is to practice persuasive writing and synthesis of sources. You will increase your critical thinking skills by analyzing yours and others’ assumptions, evaluating multiple perspectives, and developing a clear position. Writing, research, and eloquent written expression are vital for a successful future. You will express all of these skills in this assignment. This essay will be used as the English department assessment for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s mandated core curriculum assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (SLO). This essay will address the SLO objectives of critical thinking and written communication.
Your research paper should demonstrate the following learning objectives:
- Awareness of the audience to whom you are speaking
- Awareness of the purpose of your argument
- Ability to enter into a scholarly conversation
- Ability to write a qualified and narrow argumentative thesis statement
- Ability to synthesize information from various sources
- Ability to craft an argument with different types of relevant, credible, and detailed support
- Ability to research and identify academic sources
- Ability to summarize, paraphrase, and quote while citing correctly in MLA to avoid plagiarism
- Ability to converse in standard, academic English
- 1,200-1,500 word essay (4-5 pages)
- An interesting and informative title
- A clearly stated thesis in the introduction that articulates your position and what you want to argue in your paper.
- Logical and clear reasons supporting your argument
- A document formatted in correct MLA format
- 5 sources (peer-reviewed journals, books, and reliable web sources)
- One of your sources must disagree with your argument and be used to create a counterargument. A counterargument occurs when you show what the opposing side claims and then refutes that side. For instance, if I am arguing that public schools should require children to be vaccinated unless a documented medical reason prohibits vaccination, then I might cite a source that argues that vaccinations are dangerous. I would show one or two main reasons the source gives and then show why those reasons are invalid as I prove my point about the need for vaccines.
- A refutation of opposing arguments (in the counterargument)
- A synthesis of sources; do not simply summarize your source material, but show how they are connected and respond to them.
- A works cited page in MLA format with corresponding in-text citations. The works cited page should be included in the same document as your essay.
If you fail to meet the minimum requirements, you should not expect to earn higher than a D on the essay (but perhaps much lower).
Refer to the assignment calendar for due dates for this assignment.
Remember, the grade for the peer review is separate from the grade for the essay. See the guidelines for peer review for instructions about completing the peer review process.
Process of Completion
Here are a few steps that might help you develop your essay:
- Choose your topic from the ones provided for this unit (see below).
- Once you’ve found a topic, determine if it needs to be narrowed or if a particular focus might help the argument.
- For instance, if you were writing about obesity, you might need to find a slant that creates a more interesting argument than “obesity is a problem” (of course it’s a problem!). Narrowing helps a bit, but not enough: “to avoid obesity, Americans should exercise more” (of course Americans should exercise more!). But what if we narrow the topic further: “schools in Texas need to ban unhealthy foods from the lunch menu and eliminate vending machines with unhealthy snacks and sodas.” This sentence establishes a more focused and nuanced argument than the earlier topic of obesity. To create a more interesting topic, you might then move to question who is responsible for obesity. Is it individuals, corporations, cultural norms, the government, or some other entity? What can we do to change the culture in the United States so that obesity is not so prevalent? The more focused and nuanced the topic, the better the paper usually is. Starting with the topics from the list below, try to find a focused topic for your essay.
- After narrowing your topic, you should make a list of everything you know about the topic and everything you want to know. This list will guide your research.
- Now, you’re ready to start researching. Be sure to only include reliable sources in your research and to take careful notes to avoid accidentally plagiarizing your sources later. As you research, remember that plagiarism is still a serious offense even if you just forget to cite a source. Always keep notes of where you get information and be prepared to cite the information correctly.
- Be sure to allow a few days to draft your essay. You want to be sure you don’t forget any of the wonderful arguments you developed during the invention and research phases. You may also want to outline the major points of the essay before drafting.
- Always allow several days to revise the essay. You will get comments during peer review, and you should consider those comments carefully.
- Finally, be sure to edit your essay for mistakes in grammar, punctuation, and proofreading.
Choose your topic from the Gale Opposing Viewpoints database: http://ic.galegroup.com.dcccd.idm.oclc.org/ic/ovic/?p=OVIC&u=txshracd2500
- U.S. Borders (Emigration & Immigration)
- Cuba & Immigration
- Children of illegal immigrants
- Public Transportation
- Civil Rights
- Popular Culture
- Culture of Beauty
- Celebrity Culture
- Renewable Energy
- Animal Experimentation
- Technology & Education
- Criminal Justice
- Millennial Generation
- Genetically Modified Foods
My topic is : Arguments for and against the use of Vaccines
- Instructions for Peer Review
Peer reviews are an essential part of the revision process, as it’s important to receive feedback on your writing. Even the best writers ask for others to read their work. All you need to do is turn to the acknowledgement section of many books to find praise for others who have read drafts of the book. All important writing should be read by someone else prior to submission.
To earn credit for peer review, you must submit a draft to the peer review discussion board by the due date and comment on one of your classmates’ drafts by the second due date (the schedule lists two due dates: the first is when you must submit your draft; the second is when you must submit your responses to others). You must submit a draft AND comment on someone else’s draft to earn any credit for peer review. Just submitting a draft OR just commenting on someone’s draft will not earn credit.
Posting Your Draft
- To post your draft, go to the discussion board for peer review included within the unit.
- Create a new thread and post your draft as an attachment. Your attachment must be saved as a .doc or .docx document. Please ensure that your draft uploads correctly.
- Responding to Classmates
- Select a classmate’s thread and download his/her attached draft.
- Reply to his/her thread to indicate the draft is under review (i.e. John Dow is currently reviewing the document). Do not select the paper if someone else is already reviewing.
- Read the draft carefully and respond to the questions listed below, either in a new document or at the top of your classmate’s document. At the very least, you must answer the questions, but you can also use the “Comment” function in Microsoft Word to write comments to your classmates within the essay (put your cursor where you want the comment, go to the “Review” tab in Microsoft Word, and select “New Comment”).
- Complete the review and save the document to your computer.
- Once you have completed the review, reply to your classmate’s thread and upload the review.
- Questions for Peer Review
1. Read your peer’s essay from beginning to end just to let its ideas wash over you. What are your initial thoughts? Did your peer satisfy the requirements of assignment? Please explain in detail.
2. Review the essay’s title as well as its introduction and conclusion. Think about the relationships among these three components. Do they match or do they disagree? Make note of strengths or weaknesses in these crucial areas. Please explain in detail.
3. Find the essay’s thesis. Is it clear? Is it well positioned? Paraphrase (put in your own words) the thesis of the essay to check your understanding. Review the assignment guidelines to ensure that your peer’s thesis is on target. Make note of strengths or weaknesses in this area. Please explain in detail.
4. Focus on the individual paragraphs of the essay. Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that previews the ideas of the paragraph? Observe the essay’s development of paragraphs. Does each paragraph have a single main idea that relates to the thesis? Are there any paragraphs that seem disconnected or out of place?
5. Consider the essay’s use of the English language. Are sentence structures, grammar, spelling, punctuation and mechanics employed effectively, or do errors distract the reader from understanding and enjoying the writer’s analysis? Make note of strengths and weaknesses in this area. Please explain in detail.
Remember: When in doubt about how to do the peer review, be honest, helpful, and constructive. Saying “Great job! Don’t change a word!” never helped anyone to be a better writer.