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WRT 101 - West - Writing I: Arguments & Persuasion

Argument/Persuasion

An argument or persuasive essay allows you to investigate a topic that is controversial, open to discussion and debate. 

Collect, generate and evaluate evidence. Establish a position on the topic, and use your most convincing evidence to support your position.

Latest opinions from the nation's media

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1. Identify Your Topic

Identify your topic (be specific) – in most cases, you will choose a contemporary topic, one that has at least two opposing perspectives. You can find these so-called "hot topics" currently debated in the media, or even discussed within your own family or social circle.


What hot topic are you going to research?

Example: Online Social Networks


What are the opposing perspectives?

Examples:
Perspective 1 - Online social networks provide new opportunities for developing and maintaining social and work relationships.

Perspective 2 - Revealing private information on social networking sites is foolish and can be dangerous, especially for young people.


Narrow the topic
to a manageable size. For instance, you couldn't adequately discuss all the dangers of online social networking in a 4-5pp. paper. You should choose a single sub-topic to be the focus of your research.

Examples:
Sub-topic A - Social networking sites should do more to protect children against sexual predators.
Sub-topic B - Online sites are unfairly criticized for selling users' personal data to third parties.
Sub-topic C - Your employment prospects could be harmed by the personal information you share online.


Here are some places to find hot topics:

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2. Find Background Information

Use these databases to gather general background information on both sides of controversial issues.
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3. Find Recent News

Use these databases to find specific examples of how your topic impacts people in the real world, as reported in national newspapers and magazines.
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WRT 101 Information Literacy Quiz