For the first part of this assignment, consider the following three questions: What issue or problem would you like to write about? Choose a side. What is your view on the issue? What is the opposing view? What specific change might fix this issue?

This week’s assignment is intended to help get you started on the persuasive essay we will be working on throughout the remainder of this course. Before getting started on this assignment, it might be beneficial for you to read the criteria for the Week Six Persuasive Essay.

For this week, we will be practicing topic selection and outlining. Because this is preparation for next week’s persuasive essay, you will need to start by picking a topic that is persuasive. This topic must meet the following criteria:

  • Arguable (are there at least two logical, yet opposite ways to look at the issue? Are there at least two sides?)
  • Solvable (i.e. avoid religious, moral, or politically charged topics)
  • Manageable (keep your topic focused and specific)

Think of a specific problem or issue that you are interested in researching and writing an essay about. This issue should be argumentative in nature, so the topic that you choose should have an equally valid opposing viewpoint.

An example of an appropriate topic would be this:

A specific community is debating an ordinance banning the ownership of pit bulls. Some residents agree that pit bulls should be banned, while others disagree with this position (there is plenty of research to back up either side of the argument).

Your job from there will be to explore the issue, look at both sides of the argument as completely as you can, and take a side. Your essay will be an attempt to convince others to join you in your decision.

DIRECTIONS

  1. Look up and read the following article in the EBSCOhost Database:

    Step-by-step through the writing process. (2007). Writing, 30. 1-8.

    (Note: You do not need to answer any of the questions from the reading in your assignment).

  2. Read and respond to EACH of the following questions and submit them and your outline in a single document (both parts must be completed).

PART ONE: TOPIC SEARCH

For the first part of this assignment, consider the following three questions:

  1. What issue or problem would you like to write about?
  2. Choose a side. What is your view on the issue? What is the opposing view?
  3. What specific change might fix this issue?

Then, freewrite for 10-15 minutes about the topic you have chosen. Share all of the reasons you can think of for why your problem needs to be fixed. Do not worry about grammar, spelling, or format. Do not edit. Write what comes to mind. Do not research yet. If you are stumped and cannot write what you know for 10-15 minutes, go back to #1 and start with a new topic.

PART TWO: THE OUTLINE

Draft an informal outline for your upcoming persuasive paper. Do not include quotations or paraphrased material. Your outline should be built from your current knowledge of the topic. You can refine this later when you conduct your research.

Basic Outline for a Five Paragraph Essay

  • Introductory Paragraph (five to seven sentences that include a hook, background information, and a thesis)
  • Body Paragraphs
    • First Topic Sentence
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
    • Second Topic Sentence
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
    • Third Topic Sentence
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
      • Supporting Point
  • Closing paragraph (five to seven sentences that include a restatement of the thesis, summary of the main ideas, and a closing thought)

If you are having trouble with your outline, the following link leads to a video that should help: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXWMPbfKtUI

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