Your final essay will be an argumentative research essay. Once again I expect you to “join a conversation,” quoting, paraphrasing and summarizing from outside sources, while at the same time making your own individual contribution to the topic. You will choose your topic from the New York Times “Room for Debate.” Go to: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate and view the many topics available.
For each topic there are multiple viewpoints. These will be a central part of the “conversation” to which you respond. Most topics have between five and eight separate viewpoints. Read all of them. Then begin formulating your own argument in response. While I don’t expect you to quote or summarize from each individual viewpoint for your topic, you should quote, paraphrase, summarize from some of them.
In addition to the articles on the Room for Debate pages, you will probably need to conduct additional research to support your own viewpoint. This research can come from any reputable source. See “Evaluating Sources” for tips on selecting reputable, scholarly sources.
Whichever topic you choose, you will eventually need to develop an argumentative thesis statement that clearly identifies your position on the topic. Remember that a thesis for an argumentative essay should be debatable and should clearly take a stand. Refer to the readings in this section to help you create a debatable thesis statement.
To supplement your argument, you must also include at least one visual element in your essay. The visual element can be a chart, graph, photograph or illustration. The visual should be used in such a way as to support the ideas and arguments in your essay and it should be embedded within the body of your essay (not added as an attachment or link). You should document the image in much the same way as you would document a quotation. To help you choose or create a visual element, refer to the reading in this unit on Visual Rhetoric.
Finally, now would be a good time to review the readings from part one of this course, particularly those on integrating quotations and citing sources. It is not enough to simply meet the research requirement by throwing in a quote here and there. I want to see that you can integrate the ideas of others neatly into your own argument.
NOTE: The NYTimes.com is not 100% free. It allows users to access 10 articles per month for free. Once you reach that limit, the website will ask that you subscribe. Subscriptions start at about two dollars a week–less than a cup of coffee. While I strongly recommend that you subscribe, at least until the course is over, there are a variety of ways to access the content you need, including saving articles to your computer or changing computers when your 10 article limit is up.
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