Assignment: Argument Essay—Outline

For this assignment you are not required to write a complete draft of your Argument Essay. Instead, you are to select a topic for your Argument Essay and write a detailed outline of your essay based on the model below.

Argument Essay Prompts

In this assignment choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented the following:

  • Clearly opposing positions, and
  • Clear agendas.

Choose the position, or side that you agree with, and argue that position using:

  • Three separate pieces of evidence, or lines of reasoning, to support your position
  • Research to support each line of reasoning (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position
  • Research about the opposing position’s views
  • Presentation of the opposing views, along with lines of reasoning to refute them

Final Draft Essay Requirements

This assignment will require a clear thesis statement, or “issue statement” that covers your:

  • Statement of position; and
  • Forecast (essentially a “preview”) of your lines of reasoning

The assignment also requires:

  • A minimum of three credible outside sources formatted on a source page (MLA, Works Cited)
  • MLA citation style for the paper
  • Minimum of four (4) FULL pages not including the Works Cited page

Writing Tip #1

This Argument Essay is a Classical Argument Essay aimed at both arguing the author’s thesis and refuting the opponent’s thesis. It is NOT a Persuasive Essay, where the purpose is to persuade without necessarily arguing against an opposing perspective. The difference is that an argument essay tries both to persuade the reader and refute an opposing view.

With this in mind, you should not choose a generic issue that has no credible opposing view – like “energy conservation” – for a Classical Argument essay. One can try to write a persuasive essay that makes an appeal to a reader to conserve energy. But unless you can find a credible opponent with an active agenda opposing your appeal (“We should NOT conserve energy”), then you cannot write a Classical Argument essay.

Writing Tip #2

It can be helpful to look into current legislation under debate everywhere from your city council, state legislature or even at the federal level. But be careful with large issues. Students often like to take them on, but they can be too unwieldy for a short assignment like this.

Writing Your Argument Essay

STEP 1: To get started writing, first pick at least one prewriting strategy (brainstorming, rewriting, journaling, mapping, questioning, sketching) to develop ideas for your essay. Write down what you do, as you’ll need to submit evidence of your prewrite.

STEP 2: Next, write outline for your essay.

Assignment Instructions

  1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.
  2. Choose a writing prompt as listed above on this page.
  3. Create a prewrite in the style of your choice for the prompt.
  4. Create an outline using the outline below as a potential guide, or other possible outlines presented in the course. Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.
  5. Submit your detailed outline as a single file upload.

Argument Essay Outline

Below is a sample of a possible organization for your outline—look in the text for other ideas. This example starts with the opposing viewpoint first—you may want to do that, or include the rebuttal throughout, or the rebuttal at the end.

  1. Introduction and thesis statement
  2. Opponent’s first claim
    • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support (To be most helpful for your paper later on, these one-sentence summaries should include a sentence about the claim as well as information about where you got this information, including the author, title, and source.)
  3. Opponent’s second claim
    • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support
  4. Your first claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  5. Your second claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  6. Your third claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  7. Conclusion: Summation of arguments and why should we care? What’s at stake?

Requirements

Be sure to:

  • Choose a specific issue in which two credible parties have documented clearly opposing positions and clear agendas
  • Choose the position you agree with and argue that position using the following:
    • Three separate lines of reasoning;
    • Each line of reasoning will support your position with research (example, testimony, and fact/data, or any combination) that supports your position; and
    • Research about the opposing position’s views
    • Present the opposing views and refute them.
  • Include a two-part thesis with:
    • Statement of position; and
    • Forecast of your lines of reasoning
  • Develop an enticing title that implies your position.
  • Use a sympathetic appeal and/or cited research in the introduction to establish the issue.
  • Avoid addressing the assignment directly. (Don’t write “I am going to argue about…” Instead, introduce the issue in a more compelling way that makes the reader care.)
  • Your voice should be professional and scholarly.
  • Package your source material with appropriate signaling and commentary.

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay Outline

  1. Introduction and thesis statement
  2. Opponent’s first claim
    • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support (To be most helpful for your paper later on, these one-sentence summaries should include a sentence about the claim as well as information about where you got this information, including the author, title, and source.)
  3. Opponent’s second claim
    • One sentence summary of opponent’s source support
  4. Your first claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  5. Your second claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  6. Your third claim
    • One sentence summary of your source support #1
    • One sentence summary of your source support #2
  7. Conclusion: Summation of arguments and why should we care? What’s at stake?

Rubric

Grading Rubric: Argument Essay—Outline

Criteria Ratings Point Total: 50
Introduction Outline includes a clear thesis statement and ideas for the introduction, as well as a conclusion. __/10 pts
Content Outline identifies one line of reasoning and gives examples of types of evidence to support this reasoning __/10 pts
Content Outline identifies a second line of reasoning and gives examples of types of evidence to support this reasoning __/10 pts
Content Outline identifies a third line of reasoning and gives examples of types of evidence to support this reasoning __/10 pts
Rebuttal Outline highlights possible rebuttals and refutations __/10 pts

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