Definition, Techniques, and Goal: An argument essay is a synthesis paper that contains an argumentative thesis or main claim about which reasonable people could disagree. An argument essay uses convincing evidence from source materials (research) to support a main claim. Argument papers also establish common ground with an audience, incorporate rhetorical strategies to appeal to readers, and keep in mind and refute and/or concede to opposing arguments. The goal of an argument essay is to persuade.
Assignment: Write an argument essay on the topic of gender that emerges from our reading of Graff’s chapter twenty, “What’s Gender Got to Do with It?” (Slaughter, Dorment, Eckert and McConnell-Ginet, Mays, Kaplan, Ullman) In order to make your argument manageable within the assignment’s page limit, you will need to narrow down your focus within this larger topic by conducting further research. Your argumentative claim or position may be clear to you before you begin research, may emerge in the course of research, or may not emerge until after you have completed research. For example, you may wish to write an argument on women leaders in the workplace. After finding at least two additional sources on the topic, you will come up with your own claim or argumentative thesis on the topic. You may also explore another topic related to the issue. The point is that the argument is in your hands: you must devise it yourself and you must use sources in ways that will support the main claim expressed in your argumentative thesis.
Research: You will need to research, locate, and read a couple of articles in addition to the one we read in class for this paper. (Your argument must contain at least three sources total though you can always incorporate and/or read many more).
Requirements: Essays should contain an argumentative thesis that is well supported by examples from source materials and be organized in an effective manner. Essays should be at least four and half pages (not including the Works Cited page) and no more than five full pages typed, double-spaced, and in 12 point font Times or Times New Roman. Papers should also follow the basic format for the MLA system of citations. You are additionally encouraged to use the Academic Resource Center at AU and go over your paper with a writing tutor at any stage of paper construction or revision.