InstructorsStudentsReviewersAuthorsBooksellers Contact Us
 Critical Thinking
 Critical Thinking
Textbook Site for:
Critical Thinking, Thoughtful Writing, Second Edition
John Chaffee et al.
Writing Projects
Chapter 12: Arguing a Position on a Significant Issue

Write an essay in which you argue logically for a position on an issue that you consider significant. Use print sources, electronic sources, and—if possible—an interview with an informed individual to support your claims.

On a page separate from your paper, identify the audience to whom you are addressing your argument and explain why it will benefit from understanding your position. Also, either within the paper or in an accompanying note, explain why this issue is important to you, so that your classmates and instructor, as they help you revise your drafts, can be aware of the nature of your expertise and any possible biases.


Purpose: Your primary purpose is to persuade your audience.

Audience: You need to be particularly aware of your audience for this assignment, since your argument is meant to be persuasive. How are they likely to respond to your tone and style, for example?

Subject: Ask yourself, as you work through this assignment, whether it is harder to write persuasively about an issue that you care deeply about, or whether it is easier to write about an issue from which you have some critical distance.

Jot down some initial thoughts here.

Writer: Writing persuasively does not necessarily mean being verbally aggressive. Often a quieter, though still calculated approach will prove more effective.

Generating Ideas: There is no shortage of issues that surround us daily. Consider which ones affect you, and which you are most interested in.

List some possible issues here.

Defining a Focus: Part of being persuasive means defining very clearly (and likely very early in your essay) exactly what issue is at stake and what side you are arguing for.

Crystallize your focus into one or two sentences here.

Organizing Ideas: As you organize, be sure that you are supporting your arguments with your secondary research.

Drafting: In early drafts, try to include as many points as possible that you can use to persuade your reader. Eliminate ones that seem repetitive, or that do not fit well with your essay structure, as you work through successive drafts.

Revising: Each time you revise, be aware of the tone of your work. While trying to persuade, you do not want to come off as though you are being condescending to your audience, or overly negative.

Editing and Proofreading: Especially when it comes to persuasive writing, errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation can really detract from the effectiveness of your argument. Readers will often judge the authority of the argument based on the care the author has taken in crafting his or her work.

Submit your answers
Either print your answers out for submission or email them to your instructor.