Classical Argument

Classical Argument Assignment Sheet A
created by:
Giselda Aguiar
Marci Calabretta
Alex Handwerger
James O’Donnell
Carly Steele

Essay 3: Classical Argument
Assignment Sheet

Florida International University
ENC 1101: Writing and Rhetoric I

For your final essay, you will write a researched classical argument on a debatable issue in a community to which you belong. A classical argument, as defined in the text, takes a stand on an issue, offers reasons and evidence in support of the writer’s point, and summarizes and addresses alternative views to the issue at hand.

The goal of academic argument is not to debate pros and cons, rehash old arguments, or to ridicule those who disagree with you. Instead, academic argument combines evidence-seeking and persuasion. Academic argument considers all available information and views, realizing that the truth may lie somewhere between two established positions or within a third undiscovered position.

In this essay, you will use everything you have learned this semester: invention, research pre-writing and drafting, peer editing, and revision. Your argument should do at least one of the following:
1. Change the current opinion of an audience that holds a different view.
2. Persuade an uninformed audience to adopt your view.

You should construct a persuasive argument using the three basic rhetorical appeals. Your introduction should get your audience’s attention (appealing to pathos), provide background that identifies the conversation you are joining, and clearly state the claim you intend to support. The body of your argument should appeal to logos by presenting reasons and evidence in support of your position, as well as appeal to ethos by using language appropriate to your audience. You may also appeal to pathos by appealing to the values and beliefs of your audience.

You must back up your argument with researched evidence to establish your credibility. You should begin the research and writing process with a clear research question, and should use critical thinking to create a convincing view based on this research and your experiences. At the end of your essay, include a works cited page which provides at least 5 sources. You may use up to 3 internet sources, excluding sources like Wikipedia or Encarta.

Essay Format:
Your essay should be 5-6 pages (or 2,000 words, whichever comes first), typed in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, and include a Works Cited page that uses MLA formatting and citation guidelines.

Summary of Grading Criteria:
1. Does the writing revolve around a single, arguable claim (thesis)?
a. Does that claim answer a PSI question?
b. Does the writing acknowledge and refute potential counterclaims/objections?
2. Is the central claim argued by a line of reasoning?
a. Does that reasoning exhibit a clear, logical organization?
b. Is the reasoning aware of and appropriate to its audience and writing genre?
c. Does the reasoning make appeals to ethos, pathos, and logos to persuade its audience?
d. Is it free of logical fallacies?
3. Does the writing support its reasoning with secondary research?
a. Do the sources abide by the STAR criteria?
b. Are the sources cited according to MLA conventions?
4. Is a Writer’s Memo included that documents the revision history and your latest concerns of the draft?

Grading Criteria:

Thesis Statement & Introduction Paragraph 20 points 20%
Development 15 points 15%
Organization 15 points 15%
Counterargument 15 points 15%
Research 15 points 15%
Professionalism 10 points 10%
Writing Process 10 points 10%
TOTAL 100 points 100%

Classical Argument Assignment Sheet B
created by:
Emily Gaudioso
Kristen Quinones
Charles Perretti
Jen McCauley
Treviene Harris

Essay 3 – Classical Argument Essay

A lot of good arguments are spoiled by some fool who knows what he is talking about.
-Miguel de Unamuno

For your final assignment, you will write a 6-8 page classical argument paper on an issue of your choice. The issue should explore a contestable topic (not a question with a clear yes or no answer) that can be supported with documentation and research.
An academic argument explores the happy medium between truth-seeking and persuasion. You, as a researcher, will seek the truth about your subject, agree on a stance, and persuade your audience to join your side.

An academic argument does not insult the opposing side, rant on without direction, debate pros and cons, or retell old arguments. A good argument supports the writers’ stance and considers alternative views to the issue or problem. The ‘truth’ is not always easily solvable and a third solution may exist.
Your introduction should capture the audience’s interest, give background details on your topic and provide your thesis. The body of your paper should use research and evidence to support your position and should address opposing views on your topic. You should also consider your audience’s beliefs and views.

Your paper should do one of the following:
1. Change the viewpoint of a resistant, opposing audience.
2. Persuade an uninformed audience to take your side. You must provide background information for this option.
3. Persuade an agreeing, informed audience to act. Why is your issue so urgent, why should readers act now?

Your topic is your choice but please avoid highly controversial issues. (Abortion, gun control, birth control, marijuana, is God real? Etc.) Check with me if you’re unsure about your topic.

Throughout this semester we have learned about brainstorming, research, prewriting and drafting, peer editing and rewriting, and the importance of time-management. For this paper, you will also make use of these ‘tools’. Work with your peer reviewers. Make global vs. local edits. Don’t start your research too late.
Your argument’s success depends on how much evidence you give and how well you support your claims with intelligent, academic research. You should develop a clear research question based on your initial findings. If you have any problems with your research question talk to me before you begin your paper.

You must include a Works Cited page and include no fewer than five secondary sources. No Wikipedia. You must use quotes or give credit to your sources within the body of your work. Copying and pasting without references is off limits. If you are worried you might be plagiarizing at any time, please see me.

Research Log Journal
As is stated in the syllabus, you will keep a separate journal to log your research for the classical argument unit. Every source you decide to use in your classical argument essay must be logged in this journal. It will be collected and graded at the end of the unit.

First Draft Conferences: XXXXXX Peer Review: XXXXXX Final Draft: XXXXXX

Classic Argument Grading Criteria

• Rhetorical purpose is clear and appropriate to audience
• Topic is compelling, timely, and of interest to the chosen audience

THESIS (15 Points)
• Paper is driven by a clear, overarching thesis
• Thesis takes a stand on an issue that is of interest to the chosen audience
• Thesis is arguable, not informative

• Title is compelling or surprising and appropriate for the genre
• Thesis, reasons, and evidence are ordered to effectively appeal to readers
• Introduction hooks reader and presents the material as interesting and important
• Conclusion reflects upon significance of the research

DEVELOPMENT (15 points)
The argument is thoroughly developed in the following areas:
• Contains clear, well-developed ideas that give a thorough treatment of the issue
• Reasons supported by appropriate evidence
• Treatment of opposing views (counterargument) is suitable for audience and rhetorical purpose

The writer uses secondary research appropriately as defined below:
• Attributes all non-original content, giving credit to sources
• Introduces secondary material with signal phrases as needed for comprehension; ends with parenthetical end citation
• Mixes quote, summary, and paraphrase effectively for the chosen audience and rhetorical purpose
• Includes significant contribution from the writer (i.e. is not a patchwork of secondary sources with little writer involvement)

• Portfolio demonstrates evidence of a thoughtful writing process, including invention, revision, and proofreading
• Final draft shows clear improvement from first to final draft with major revisions evident
• Attention is paid to peer reviews and conference feedback

STYLE (10 Points)
• Most sentences are clear and can be understood the first time they are read
• Syntax, punctuation, and spelling used effectively in service of rhetorical purpose

The “A” Essay: Excellent (90-100%)
An “A” essay demonstrates excellence. The title is original, clever, and intriguing, and alludes to the tone and content of the essay. The essay contains no or few problems with grammar, mechanics, content, and organization. A sound thesis sentence articulates the main idea, forecasts the topics of discussion, and governs the development of the essay. Ample support of the thesis results in a logical and convincing paper. The introduction and conclusion are provocative and intriguing. The paragraphs in the body are unified and coherent; they have topic sentences and effective transition. The essay reflects the author’s concern for style (clear, concise prose and effective diction). The diction demonstrates the author’s appreciation for meaningful language and effective word choice. The “A” essay reflects originality and is characterized by a confident and assertive voice.

The “B” Essay: Very Good/Good (80-89%)
The “B” essay might contain a few problems with organization but very few with grammar, mechanics, and content. Like the “A” essay, it has an intriguing title and strong thesis and is characterized by sound development, coherence, and unity. The author demonstrates a concern for style. The introduction is provocative and original, and the conclusion avoids “summing things up” or ending too abruptly. Some paragraphs in the body might need more support, development, or transition. Topic sentences might need more accuracy. Word choice and style are effective but not as effective as word choice and style in the “A” essay. The assertiveness and originality of the writing may not be as apparent in the “B” essay.

The “C” Essay: Average (70-79%)
The “C” essay has a good title, clear thesis, and sound organization and is, for the most part, coherent and unified. Overall, there are few problems with grammar, mechanics, and organization. Although the central ideas are clear, they may need more support, detail, and development. The writer may rely on clichés or fallacies. The introduction may be trite or unoriginal. The conclusion might not provide a provocative or interesting ending. Diction is satisfactory, but the author may use words incorrectly or unwisely. The “C” essay may contain awkward passages and syntax. The “C” essay is not a “bad” essay; it simply needs more revision and editing.

The “D” Essay: Poor (60-69%)
The “D” essay might have an uninspiring, unoriginal title and does not address a timely and significant topic. The introduction might contain a thesis sentence, but it is not supported throughout the essay. The thesis sentence is often unclear and/or does not forecast the order of discussion. The introduction is unoriginal and is not provocative. There are significant problems with content and organization that makes the argument incoherent or fragmented for the reader. Sentences that are too short might result in choppiness, or sentences that are too long result in awkwardness. The paragraphs are not characterized by strong topic sentences and effective transition. Diction is awkward, poor, and ineffective. The “D” essay typically contains significant problems in grammar, mechanics, and punctuation.

The “F” Essay: Failing (60 and below)
A grade of “F” indicates that the essay does not meet the minimum requirements of the assignment. Typically, an “F” essay fails in at least one of the following areas: grammar, punctuation, logic, organization, diction, or adherence to the assignment.

Classical Argument Assignment Sheet C
created by:
Nick Vagnoni

Classical Argument Assignment Sheet

The goal of academic argument is not to ridicule those that disagree with you, nor is it to win a debate against the other side. Academic argument is a combination of truth seeking (research) and persuasion. It takes into account all the available information and views, and acknowledges that the truth may lie within a compromise between two established positions, or else within a third undiscovered position.

Your goal is to write a minimum 2000-word essay that argues a position on a controversial, arguable issue. Your introduction should get your audience’s attention (possibly by appealing to pathos), provide background that identifies the conversation you are joining, and clearly state your entry into the conversation—the claim you intend to support. The body of your argument should appeal to logos by presenting reasons and evidence in support of your position, as well as appeal to ethos by responding to opposing views. You may also appeal to pathos within your body by appealing to the values and beliefs of your audience. When considering the audience of this essay, choose to do one of the following:

-Change the current opinion of an audience that holds a different view.

-Persuade an uninformed audience to adopt your view (which requires more background info).

-Persuade an agreeing and informed audience to act (Why is it urgent enough to act?).

This is a research paper. You should cite at least five credible secondary sources in your works cited page and in the text itself. Again, you must use at least two sources accessed via the FIU Library. As with your previous research assignment, if you are unsure about a source, ask critical questions to determine its credibility. You should enter the research and writing process with a clear research question, and the goal of using your critical thinking to create a view based on your research and experiences. In the final draft, your research can be utilized to:

-Give background information on the conversation you are joining.

-Appeal to logos by supporting your thesis, main point, or sub-point.

-Appeal to ethos by presenting and addressing counterarguments or warrants.



-Religious beliefs or matters of personal taste

-Gun control

-Assisted suicide/euthanasia

-Gay marriage or adoption

-Capital punishment

-Changing the legal drinking age

-Legalization of marijuana

Things I will be looking for:

-Does the essay contain a clear and arguable claim that is the result of the writer’s own critical thinking?

-Do the reasons and evidence logically support the claim?

-Have opposing views been addressed?

-Does the paper provide adequate background on the conversation the author is joining?

-Are the sources credible? Relevant?

-Is the essay clearly and logically organized?

-Is the style and tone appropriate for an academic argument?

-Is the essay grammatically and mechanically well-written?

-Are sources properly documented in MLA format, both in the text and in the works cited page?

Deadlines: An outline and rough draft of your classical argument essay are due for conferences on Monday, October 31, regardless of your conference date during that week. A more developed rough draft is due for peer review on Friday, November 11. A complete draft of your classical argument essay is due in class for peer review on Wednesday, November 30. The final draft is due on Monday, December 5. ALL DRAFTS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO TURNITIN.COM.

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