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REA 112 - West - Critical Reading: Arguments & 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?

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.

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:


Explore current hot issues by clicking on the "View All Topics" tab.

2. Find Background Information

Use these databases to gather general background information on both sides of controversial issues.
To connect from off-campus: username = [YOUR LAST NAME] / password = [BARCODE # on STUDENT ID]

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.
To connect from off-campus: username = [YOUR LAST NAME] / password = [BARCODE # on STUDENT ID]