An argumentative essay explores a topic and asserts a position. Argumentative writing is not always about a win/lose situation. The goal for these essays is to present a thoughtful, logical, and plausible point of view on a given topic. A successful argumentative essay presents a position with a knowledgeable and respectful tone. These essays consider the contexts of the issues, incorporate outside research to develop and support points, and address opposing viewpoints.
TASK and TOPIC
For this essay, you have a narrow topic that is both current and controversial: privacy rights and the Internet. The issue of Internet privacy rights is a growing concern for many Americans. In your paper, you will assert your position on the topic. You are trying to persuade your reader to see the issue from your stance. Therefore, you need to choose a firm stance and develop an argument that supports your claim. You must develop logical, research-supported thesis points that reinforce your argument. Additionally, you must consider opposing viewpoints and provide a successful refutation to these oppositions. The research question you will answer in your essay: Should the U.S. government have access to people’s digital information? Why or why not?
To approach this type of essay successfully, the writer must be well-informed and cautious before leaping boldly to assumptions. Essentially, you need to do some research first! For this essay, everyone MUST use the Daniel Solove article, “Why Privacy Matters Even if You Have ‘Nothing to Hide'” on page 213-216 in your St. Martin’s Guide. Then you need to choose at least one additional source from the following list:
- U.S. News – Daniel J. Gallington – “The Case for Internet Surveillance opens in new window“
- The Library of Congress – “The USA Patriot Act: A Sketch opens in new window“
- Find your own SCHOLARLY source using the Motlow Library opens in new window resources
You can use the information to support your own ideas, and/or you can examine the refutations offered within the selected texts. Regardless of how you use the sources, for each, you need to ensure you incorporate the following for each article:
- one paraphrase
definition: “express an author’s ideas in your own words and sentence structure, using approximately the same number of words and details as in the source” (Rules for Writers 404).
- one direct quote
definition: use the author’s “exact words and enclose them in quotation marks” (Rules for Writers 404).
THESIS and AUDIENCE
You will have an argumentative thesis. It will answer your research question and clearly state your POSITION on the issue. It will also MAP out your discussion points for your reader. Remember that your thesis (especially since this is a longer paper) can be more than one sentence. You can include your position statement in the first sentence, and then your discussion points in the second if it’s clearer for the reader. Regardless, ensure your reader understands the purpose and can pull out your main idea.
Your audience for this essay is your local state legislator. Therefore, you should clearly frame and contextualize the discussion for this particular audience (using your resources). Your overall tone should be formal, academic, and persuasive.
FORMALITY and MLA
You need to follow MLA formatting, i.e. in-text citations, a Works Cited page, etc. Since this is an academic essay, DO NOT USE:
- 2nd person pronouns (YOU)
- Rhetorical questions
- Slang, colloquialism, etc.
FORMATTING and GUIDELINES
As with all your major paper assignments, you should follow MLA formatting. Refer to the MLA section in your Rules for Writers. Also, per the Paper Formatting Guidelines, “Each writing assignment for this class must be your original work.” Therefore, this paper should be original work you’ve created for the first time after having read this assignment sheet. You cannot use a paper you have previously written. Doing so constitutes self-plagiarism.