In this assignment, you will present a stance on an issue where there is a difference of opinion. Your task is to persuade your audience, an audience with substantial influence over the issue and who is resistant to your stance, to agree with your position or at least consider a compromise.
Your work on the Annotated Bibliography, as well as the Issue, Audience, and Genre Analysis, required you to find a current unresolved issue in your field, establish your stance on it, and identify and research an audience with a vested interest in the issue (decision-making authority) who is opposed to your position (in part or in total). This project is the cumulation of the work you did in Project 3!
Armed with the facts and informed opinions you have compiled, it’s now time to write a persuasive, researched argument about that issue, tailor it to your audience’s expectations, and present your argument in a specific genre, the advocacy letter, appropriate for appealing to a resistant audience.
Write an evidence-based argument to your audience defending your stance and proposing a plan of action the audience should take. Your argument should be presented in the advocacy letter genre.
AUDIENCE: You must write with an awareness of the audience you chose. You have already researched and analyzed that audience, and now you must tailor your word choice, evidence, and tone to the expectations of that audience.
EVIDENCE: This is a researched academic argument, so you must use evidence from at least two scholarly articles. Your other sources should come from the most reputable sources you can find. You cannot cite general encyclopedias, dictionaries (unless they are specialized dictionaries), or popular magazines and websites (About.com, TIME Magazine, U. S. News & World Report, etc.). You will be writing to sophisticated audiences who will be persuaded only if you use highly credible evidence. Introduce and synthesize the evidence you provide. Work with primary sources as much as you can.
GENRE: You will be writing to persuade your audience to accept your proposed response or solution. One of the ways writers present such arguments is through the genre of the advocacy letter. The final version of your essay should be comply with the formatting and length conventions of this genre. Note how advocacy letters position the writer’s ethos. You will need to do this as well.
A modification to the advocacy letter is the substantive letter to a Member of Congress (MOC) or to a municipal, county, or state legislator.
STRUCTURE: Advocacy letters have a specific structure, but that structure still requires an introduction and thesis, body (background information, argument, and counterargument), and conclusion. Use good paragraphing techniques to help your audience move easily through your argument.
• THESIS AND ARGUMENT: Since you are writing an argument, you will need an argumentative thesis that contains a claim and a reason. Your thesis must take a stand on the issue, provide reasons for your stance, and propose a solution your audience should take. The thesis is most often the answer to your research question.
• COUNTERARGUMENT: In the body of your paper, you must also address the counterarguments to your position in order to persuade your audience. The counterargument should address the audience’s resistance, concerns, or opposition to your position and/or your suggested plan of action. Concede where necessary; refute where you can.
END PAGE REFLECTION
1. Describe three specific decisions you made to shape the writing of this essay to your audience and in the advocacy letter genre. Identify one or two places in your final essay where a reader could see evidence of these decisions.
2. Explain how your essay contributes to a scholarly or professional conversation about the issue you chose. Does your argument address a gap in that conversation, bring a new solution to it, raise new questions about it, or add something else that enabled you to “join” this conversation?