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General Instructions: Write a researched inquiry or argumentative essay. I do not require you to agree with the
argument you make. It is a healthy intellectual exercise to argue the opposing point of view. You
must support your argument with supporting claims, evidence, analyses, and concession
points/responses to counterarguments. Review the writing rubric below for details. General
subjects and sub-topics might include the following:
• Food justice (Who has access to healthy food? Why? What are some solutions?)
• Gun rights (How should we interpret the Constitution? What should be the role of guns?)
• Discrimination (Who is included in or excluded from X? Why? What are the effects?)
• Sports (Do sports teams care for their players? Should X build a new stadium?)
• Politics (Should X win the election? Should we expand or constrict access to voting?)
• Education (How should the government allocate funding? How should instructors teach?)
• Finance (How should one save for retirement? How should one invest? Why?)
• Economics (How will X affect Y’s economy? What principles should guide policies?)
• Immigration (How should we enforce laws? Does nationalism have drawbacks?)
• Literature (How should one interpret X? How does Y’s form convey her message?)
• Environmentalism (How should humans engage with the non-human material world?)
• History (Who tells whose stories? Through what media? What are the effects?)
• Philosophy (What constitutes truth? How should we choose to access it? Why?)
Technical Requirements: Compose your researched inquiry or argumentative essay in a Word document or Google Docs
file. If you choose to submit a Word document, do not save it as a PDF. I will not copy or share
your work without your permission. If you choose to submit a Google Docs file, be sure to share
the Google Docs file with me. Submitting the URL on Canvas is not enough. You must give me
access to your Google Docs file.
Write 2,250–2,500 words. Double-space your words. Use a serif typeface (e.g., Times New
Roman or Garamond). Use twelve-point font. Use at least eight sources. Cite using MLA or
I will use the following rubric:
To get a C, you must do the following:
• Write a thesis statement that aligns with the assignment topic.
• Use evidence that is relevant to your argument.
• Provide context for quotations, which includes stating to whom quotations belong.
• Use or intentionally disrupt the conventions of your chosen English.
To get a B, you must do the following:
• Demonstrate analysis. In other words, do not summarize. When deciding whether your paper
demonstrates analysis, ask yourself the following questions: How does my argument demonstrate
my ability to read or understand beyond basic comprehension of a text, argument, or situation?
How does my argument illuminate aspects of a text, argument, or situation that are not
immediately clear and yet imperative to know? How can I critique an interlocutor’s rhetorical
devices, dialogue, or point of view?
• Use evidence effectively. Demonstrate consideration for the following questions: What is this
evidence doing beyond helping me present a summary of the text, argument, or situation? How
will my analysis of this evidence support my argument?
• When analyzing quotations, demonstrate consideration for the following questions: What
specific components of the quotation (e.g., diction, syntax, or figurative language) communicate
the message that aligns with my interpretation? How is my analysis illuminating elements of this
quotation that are not immediately clear? How might someone interpret this quotation
differently, and why is my interpretation more accurate?
• Compose effective transitions. Single words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs all comprise
transitions. However, focusing on topic sentences can help with the overall structure of your
paper. Compose topic sentences that function as miniature thesis statements for each paragraph.
Topic sentences should convey in some form (not necessarily explicitly) your purpose for
including their corresponding paragraphs in the essay. Further, they should lead the reader
through your argument; they often indicate a subsequent point in a list of related points, an
elaboration of a previous point, or a shift in an argument.
To get an A on your essay, you must do the following:
• Demonstrate consideration for the “so what” questions: Why does this argument matter? To
what critical conversation(s) am I contributing? In reading my essay, what do readers gain
regarding how humans process and use texts, arguments, or situations? How does my argument
align with or depart from someone else’s?
• Demonstrate that you can anticipate how your intended audience may respond to your essay
by, e.g., addressing counterclaims and counterarguments. You do not always need to dedicate an
entire paragraph to addressing opposing viewpoints. You may do this right after you provide
your interpretation of a text, argument, or situation. You may explicitly provide an alternative
view point, for which you would use the same analytic sentence structures you use when
providing your own analysis. Your consideration for a counterargument may even be implicit in
your own interpretation of a text, argument, or situation.