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Write a researched argument about an issue affecting your future career field, your major field, or your community, or focus on an issue described in the readings you’ve done from the book

Major Writing Project 

Major Writing Project :  Joining a Conversation You’ve Researched (5–6 pages)

  • Write a researched argument about an issue affecting your future career field, your major field, or your community, or focus on an issue described in the readings you’ve done from the book.  This paper is your own argument, but you should take into account what you’ve learned during this course:  begin by showing the conversation your paper is responding to (“they say”), have a clear statement of your own argument about the issue (“I say”), include quotes and incorporate them smoothly (both in the “they say” and “I say” paragraphs), point out possible objections to your argument, use appropriate transitions, and explain why the issue matters (so what? who cares?).  You must use at least 5 sources and at least 2 must be from academic peer reviewed journals.
  • No plagiarism: Review the definitions of plagiarism, and remember that plagiarism also includes submitting a paper from another class for this class

Recommended structure:  For this paper you have 5-6 pages to work with and you need to include, in effect, five major parts:

  1. Introduction: includes an overview of the conversation (names of key authors and the issues you’re bringing up), a brief statement of your argument (or thesis statement), and a brief explanation of why your argument matters
  2. summary of 2 or 3 authors or arguments, with quotes as evidence
  3. summary of how they agree/disagree; provide quotes if necessary
  4. your own opinion and your reasons for your opinion (which includes at least one naysayer); provide quotes as evidence
  5. Conclusion: includes a return sentence, a restatement of your argument, and a developed explanation of why your argument matters

Note that these are five parts, not paragraphs (exceptions: the introduction and the conclusion are usually one paragraph each).  What could this look like?  Here’s an example:  After the brief introductory paragraph (where you introduce your topic, an overview of the conversation you’re entering, a sense of your argument and briefly why your argument matters), you might have a summary of one author (1 paragraph), then a summary of the second author (1 paragraph), and a summary of another author or position (1 paragraph).  Then you might have one paragraph that explains how they agree or disagree (though you can already allude to that in the summary paragraphs through phrases like “Unlike X, Y asserts that…”).  Note that the paragraph that explains how the authors or arguments agree or disagree is still “they say,” since you’re not yet putting forward your own opinion on the issues.  At that point you’ll have written about 3 pages.  Then you write your own argument (“I say”) in relation to the conversation you’ve set up (about two pages).  At that point you’ve written about 5 pages.  Then you end with a concluding paragraph, where you wrap it up with a return sentence and again explain why it matters. 

Keep in mind that this way of structuring your argument is only a suggestion; it doesn’t have to be exactly like that.  But hopefully this gives you an idea of what this kind of paper could look like.

Grading Guide:  I will grade your MWP3 according to the following grading guide.  Use this guide when writing your paper.

Introduction (10 points)

Includes an overview of the conversation (names of key authors and the issues you’re bringing up), clear “I say” statement (thesis) placed in relation to authors, and a brief explanation of why your argument matters

“They say” (20 points):  Shows conversation paper is responding to

Summary includes basic information about authors as well as the full title of essays; summaries do not agree or disagree with authors (summaries inhabit worldview); summaries use sophisticated signal verbs to summarize authors’ points; no listing or “closest cliché” (pp. 31, 35, 33)

Quoting (20 points): Uses quotes correctly and appropriately

Quotes used to present “proof of evidence” (p. 42) in summary of authors’ arguments — Quotes should not be “orphans” (p. 43) — Quotes should be framed appropriately (“quotation sandwich”) (p. 46) — Quotes should be Introduced with appropriate verb (p. 47) — Quotes should present “proof of evidence” (p. 42) — Indicates page number of quote (p. 48)

“I Say” (20 points):  Clear statement of your own argument

Clearly distinguishes “they say” from “I say” – Clearly signals who is saying what: Uses at least one template from pp. 72-75 — “I say” includes clear reasons for argument that are not simply summaries of authors’ arguments – Clearly plants naysayer to support “I say” argument (use at least one template from pp. 82, 83,84-85, 89).

Conclusion (10 points)

Includes at least one “return sentence” in the conclusion to remind reader of what “they say” (p. 27); includes a restatement of thesis or “I say”; includes a developed explanation of why your argument matters (uses templates from pp. 95-96, 98-99).

Bibliography or Works Cited (10 points)

Includes proper bibliographic form — no annotations included here — includes 5 sources; 2 must be peer-reviewed

Editing and tone (10 points)

No editing errors (spelling, grammar, punctuation, and formatting); Uses proper tone (formal where appropriate, informal where appropriate)

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