What are some arguments people have made that you find yourself disagreeing with?
Option #1 (Proposal): Writing a Petition on Change.org
Purpose: The objective of this assignment is to practice persuasive writing, which includes the elements of logos, pathos and ethos as well as practice writing a proposal.
Topic: According to Google dictionary, petitions are “a formal written request, typically one signed by many people, appealing to authority with respect to a particular cause.” In order for a petition to be strong, the writing must have strong logos (reason, logic and factual information), convincing ethos (credible sources, ethical ideas, unbiased and logical writing) and moving pathos (emotional connection to the writing).
Writing Task: First, open up at Change.org account. Then, browse through some of the trending petitions on the website. There are thousands already published, so please go through a few to get a good idea of what will be expected. Since this website is open to everyone, you will find both strongly and weakly written petitions. Read both to give yourself an idea of what you should aim for and what you should try to avoid. Follow the steps on the website to publish your petition (there are 4 steps total). After publishing your petition, I want you to copy/paste the URL at the bottom of your essay. Once again, our assignment is to:
Publish a petition on Change.org.
* Contextualize the problem. Background information will be needed, so make sure to provide it (i.e. who, what, when, where). Be very specific.
* The petition must have a specific recipient, so do your research prior to publishing it. Ask yourself: who can help you with your request?
* Be respectful and persuasive (try using logos, pathos and ethos to win this argument). Your objective is to get signatures that can lead to a change, so make sure you are not excluding or insulting audiences. Avoid aggressive, offensive or biased language.
* Do research. Throughout your petition, I would like you to use three credible sources: one source should be a credible newspaper or magazine article (preferably within the last decade), one source should be a scholarly article (published in a scholarly journal), and the third source should be a credible media or multimedia option that you choose yourself (Change.org recommends using a strong visual image since it increases the chances of signatures on the platform). Though petitions generally don’t have a Works Cited page, I would like you to still provide one when you submit this proposal in our assignment portal (I’m not requiring it in the published version, but I do want the Works Cited when you submit your assignment on Canvas).
* Your petition should be 4-6 pages. Petitions don’t follow MLA rules; they look more like online newspaper/magazine articles with a title, a picture (which is recommended but not required), and the article itself. For this assignment, you don’t have to follow the MLA format, but I do ask that you double-space to leave me a little bit of room to comment.
Option #2 (Evaluation): Evaluating a Controversial Argument
Purpose: The objective of this assignment is to practice persuasive writing, which includes the elements of logos, pathos and ethos as well as practice writing an evaluation.
Topic: Evaluating is a type of analysis that weighs the strength or weakness of an argument. We are constantly coming across other people’s arguments. Sometimes we agree with them and sometimes we disagree with them. But breaking down an argument to study its parts is a difficult but also important process on the road to becoming a strong critical thinker. What is even more difficult is trying to disprove another person’s argument. To do so, an evaluator must establish compelling criteria that weighs the evidence before leading to a judgment. A strong evaluation includes opinions based on observation and fact, not based on personal assumptions and biases.
Writing Task: Begin with research. What are some arguments people have made that you find yourself disagreeing with? You will need to choose one and write an evaluation essay disproving that argument. This argument can be a speech (maybe from a political figure), a lecture (possibly from a professor), a podcast (like Joe Rogan), a blog (choose someone credible), a tweet (our President has tons), and the list goes on. You will need to find the original source and include it in your Works Cited page. Then, do the following:
Evaluate a person’s argument with the intent to disprove it.
* Contextualize the argument. Background information will be needed, so make sure to provide it (i.e. who, what, when, where). Be very specific. For example, is the tweet you’re analyzing in response to a bigger issue? You will need to clearly identify the issue itself.
* Brainstorm the argument by creating specific criteria. For instance, you might want to begin by asking, “Does this argument violate any person’s rights?” Or you might want to ask, “Is this argument based on biased opinion?” Remember, a strong evaluation is not going to be based on your personal preferences or assumptions. For example, if you’re evaluating an argument against chocolate, you shouldn’t argue that the writer’s argument is weak because you love chocolate.
* Be persuasive by considering the logos, pathos and ethos of the argument you’re evaluating. You might want to ask yourself what evidence the argument provides, how the writer of the argument tries to build credibility, and how the writer tries to appeal to the emotions of the reader. Avoid aggressive, offensive language and work on your stylistic flow.
* If you’re critiquing the argument, identify fallacies in the author’s line of reasoning.
* Do research. I would like you to use three credible sources: one source should be a credible newspaper or magazine article (preferably within the last decade), one source should be a scholarly article (published in a scholarly journal), and the third source should be a credible media or multimedia option that you choose yourself. You must provide a Works Cited page that includes all outside sources as well as the original argument you’re analyzing.
* Your evaluation should be 4-6 pages and should follow MLA rules. For more on the MLA structure, please visit the Purdue Owl (Links to an external site.) (Links to an external site.) link I posted on our Canvas page.
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