Essay Assignment: Argument Essay—First Draft

For this assignment, you will work through the drafting stage of your writing process in an argument essay.

Assignment Instructions

  1. Review the grading rubric as listed on this page.
  2. Choose a topic based on the following prompt:
    1. 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
  3. Review the Argument Essay Outline you submitted along with feedback you received from that assignment. Make adjustments to the outline in accordance with the feedback. This may include strengthening lines of reasoning, expanding or improving research sources for supporting evidence, creating a more sympathetic introduction to your position, etc.
  4. Develop a complete draft of your essay using your improved Argument Essay Outline. It should meet the following requirements. Papers submitted that do not meet the requirements will be returned to you ungraded.
    • A two-part thesis including statement of position; and forecast of your lines of reasoning
    • A minimum of three credible outside sources formatted on a source page (MLA, Works Cited)
    • MLA formatting
    • Minimum of four (4) full pages, not including the Works Cited page.
  5. Submit your draft as a single file upload.


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—Draft

Criteria Rating: Meets Expectation Approaching Expectation Point Total: 50
Ideas The paper demonstrates outstanding or above average idea development, with a thesis that articulates a clear stance about a controversial topic. The writer sufficiently defines the topic, even though development is still basic or general. __/15 pts
Content The paper demonstrates outstanding or above average evidence of supporting the main point with at least three lives of reasoning. Paragraphs are well-developed and clear, demonstrating research about the topic. Research may include examples, testimony, and fact/data that supports your position. The writer demonstrates sufficient support of the main point, but could use more supporting details. __/15 pts
Organization The organization is clear and showcases the central theme. The presentation of information is compelling. Opposing viewpoints are addressed in a logical way, and refuted. The organizational structure is strong enough to move the reader through the text without too much confusion. __/15 pts
Word Choice, Sentence Fluency, Conventions The writer demonstrates an outstanding word choice selection, flow and cadence, with well-built sentences and strong grasp of standard writing conventions. The writer demonstrates sufficient selection of words. The text tends to be more mechanical and contains some errors of standard writing conventions. __/5 pts