Researched Position Paper English 1302: Rhetoric and Composition II The Rhetoric

Researched Position Paper
English 1302: Rhetoric and Composition II
The Rhetorical Situation For your Issue Proposal, you organized your preexisting knowledge on your issue and sketched a plan for research. You then compiled several sources and summarized their contents for your Annotated Bibliography. In your Mapping the Issue Paper, you traced the controversy surrounding your issue by describing its background and summarizing three positions on it. All these assignments have been preparing you for this final paper, where you will advocate a position on your issue with a well-supported argument written for an audience that you select.
The content will consist of your own argument that contributes to the conversation surrounding your issue.
Reading, Brainstorming, and Drafting
You should settle on an audience early in your composing process because this will influence every aspect of your argument. Make sure you investigate the values and characteristics of your intended audience. Develop a clear picture of whom you’re writing for, and keep that picture in mind as you make rhetorical choices throughout your composing process.
Once you have a clear audience in mind, you can begin to construct a thesis. Begin with a claim that readers might contest (no point in arguing for a claim that all your readers already believe). Sketch out reasons that support your claim. For each claim+reason structure, draw out its invisible warrant by completing the following template: “If it’s true that [insert reason here], then it must follow that [insert claim here].”
As you consider how many reasons to include in your thesis, keep in mind that your final draft will need to be a minimum of five pages but no more than 10 pages. Thus, you should aim for a thesis that will generate at least five pages of fluff-free words but not require more than ten pages of words to adequately support.
You should now have a framework for your argument, but before you start drafting, make sure you have enough evidence for all your reasons and warrants. Don’t worry about providing evidence for reasons or warrants that represent beliefs your audience already holds. But for all your other reasons and warrants, make sure you can provide sufficient support through some combination of outside sources, your personal experiences, your first-hand observations, and/or your own powers of reasoning. If you find you just can’t support a reason or warrant, modify that part of your argument until it becomes supportable.
Now you’re ready to start drafting. For each reason and warrant you need to prove, construct at least one paragraph of support that would persuade your audience to agree to it.
If you’ve constructed a thesis of sufficient scope, you should easily produce at least four pages of content in this section.
Do some more brainstorming to come up with at least one naysayer who objects to some part of your argument. Draft at least one section in which you name and describe the naysayer (see pp. 86-88), represent their objections fairly (see pp. 90-91), make concessions to their objections if possible (see pp. 92-93), and answer their objections (see pp. 91-94).
You should produce at least a page of content in which you respond to naysayers.
Putting It All Together
As you prepare a draft that you’ll share with readers, begin with an introduction (which need not be limited to a single paragraph) that accomplishes three goals:
acknowledges what “they say” (see Ch. 1)
provides an “I say” (see Ch. 4)
answers the “so what?” and “who cares?” questions (see Ch. 7)
If you are disagreeing with a claim that has been made, agreeing but with a difference, or agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously (see Ch. 4), your “they say” will be the claim to which you’re responding. If your claim is not clearly responding to a prior claim, your “they say” should summarize the conversation surrounding your issue. Your “I say” will be your thesis statement, in which you state your claim and reasons.
The answer to the “who cares?” question is the audience you are trying to reach. To answer the “so what?” question, explain to your audience why your argument matters.
Once you have an introduction in place, it’s up to you decide how to shape and organize your argument.
Choosing an Appropriate Style
You want to write in a style that is appropriate for your publication venue.
Make sure you construct coherent paragraphs that include topic sentences and supporting sentences that stay on topic.
Format your essay and cite sources according to current MLA guidelines. Please note that you must also submit a Works Cited page in MLA format. Proofread carefully to ensure that your paper reads the way you want it to and that you’ve corrected unintentional errors. The Purdue OWL website ( is a terrific resource for information on standard writing conventions.
Your paper should be a minimum of five pages but no more than ten pages. As such, make sure you construct a thesis that will require at least five pages to support yet small enough that you can support it adequately within ten pages. Your paper should also utilize at least five secondary/outside sources, be double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman font, with 12 – point character size and one-inch margins all the way around. As stated above, use current MLA guidelines for formatting your paper and citing sources.

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