This essay assignment will allow you to location, evaluate, and synthesize information from sources representing diverse perspectives in order to construct an argument that follows the Toulmin Model of argument. The topic of the argument will be about Persona. You’ll write an argument answering this question: What steps do you think an individual should take to influence how others perceive them?
The purpose of this assignment is to help you practice the following skills that are essential to your success in navigating arguments you’ll encounter in your academic, professional, and personal lives. In this assignment you will:
- Demonstrate your understanding of the Toulmin Argument
- Avoid problems in logic through your argument
- Incorporate sources of value to you
- Understand the distinction between inductive, deductive, and analogical reasoning
This assignment will also help you to become familiar with the following important content knowledge in critical thinking and reasoning:
- That there are approaches to argument that contain specific elements that we can define
- That an argument gets into more nuanced depths than simply be “right” or “wrong”
To complete this assignment you should:
- Before you start writing, think about the tools you use to communicate with others how you want to be perceived. Also think about how you want people to see you, and what you do to evoke that view. Where are there consistencies or contradictions? between the tools you use and your desires?
- On 3/11, in class, be sure to have a working draft, with at least what you see as your Grounds, Warrants, and Claims is for your paper. The grounds should be a text, something that can clearly be cited, which you’re responding to. As Karbach writes, “the grounds are the foundation of the argument,” and that foundation must be solid (82). The fact is established by a clear text. If you don’t have a specific text, you should have a very clear statement that has context, like the example on page 85. The statement is about people in a specific job (“waitresses”) under specific circumstances (“who make a dependable wage”) who are facing a specific challenge (“will be less likely to leave present employment”) and the claim is responding to that. Think about what specific grounds you have in your paper.
- You’re trying to write an argument that answers this question: What do you think has the biggest influence on how others perceive an individual? This is not a personal essay, though it might include personal narrative elements. One example might be something like this: “The biggest influence on perception is physical style, and how that’s presented in online spaces.” That is an inductive argument, moving from a specific tool to a much larger concept.
- Be aware of how your argument is Inductive, Deductive, or Analogical.
- In body paragraphs, makes points that help you elaborate on the statement you’ve made (the statement is your argument/thesis), defining what you’re using as your grounds, and what warrants you’re relying on to make the argument.
- Incorporate sources/evidence as needed and incorporate those in MLA format. Use at least three sources in your paper.
- Decide where Backing, Qualifiers, and Rebuttals are necessary, and incorporate those.
- In a conclusion, attempt to end in a different place than where you began, remembering that a paper is about a progression, where you move to a new place by the end of it, rather than merely restating the initial thesis.
- Cite all sources in a Work Cited page at the end of the paper
- Include a reflection at the end of the paper that answers these questions:
- What motivated you to make this argument (another way to think about this might be: what is your exigence?)
- What do you see as strengths in the paper (give a specific example from what you’ve written)?
- What would you like specific feedback on? (Please do not say “my writing in general.”)