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Writing to Convince; Write in a voice, tone, and style that is suitable for the genre, purpose, and audience of the essay.

Assignment 2: Writing to Convince

ENG 201


Write an 11-12 page research-based argument to support your position on some aspect of a topic of your choice, i.e., a topic that is open to debate and about which not every rational person agrees. Your argument should ultimately be a policy claim, i.e., a claim about what you think should be done with respect to some situation. In supporting policy claims, writers usually need to also make claims of fact and/or claims of value, which, in turn, must be supported with evidence.



  • Argue effectively for one side of a topic to a specific audience.
  • Use different types of arguments, different types of appeals, and different kinds of evidence to support your claims.
  • Learn why and how to include counterarguments to increase your credibility.
  • Use credible sources to support the arguments that you make.
  • Use a correct documentation style to cite and format.



  1. You are required to provide arguments to support a side of a controversial topic of your choice. You must use different types of arguments as well as a mixture of the appeals and supporting evidence to support your claims.
  1. In addition to any other type of supporting information you use (examples, hypothetical situations, etc.) you must also use a minimum of 6 credible sources that have expert knowledge on the topic. You will use a combination of summary, paraphrase, and quotation from your sources to fully convince readers, but no more than 10% of the essay should be direct quotes.
  1. You may use visuals, if they specifically enhance the understanding of the topic (so no gratuitous clip art). As with any source that you use, visuals must be properly cited.
  1. You may also use your own background knowledge, if applicable. Anecdotes can be quite powerful in helping readers see the subject through your eyes, but make sure not to rely on them too heavily.
  1. Write in a voice, tone, and style that is suitable for the genre, purpose, and audience of the essay.
  1. This essay, as well as all formal essays, is required to be formatted and cited in a specific documentation style of your choice (APA, MLA, Chicago, etc.). Please make sure that you have a current handbook as a guide and see me if you have any questions about this.


In addition to the English Department grading guidelines that can be found in the syllabus, you will receive a specific rubric for the assignment that breaks the evaluation down into several categories: Responsiveness, Thesis/Purpose, Organization/Unity, Support/Development, and Presentation. The activities and discussions that we do and have in class will specifically help you in each of these areas.


Writing Process

  • Choose a topic that is debatable and has at least two viable sides, each with credible sources to support it.
  • Read several sources on that topic and choose the ones that you feel are a) the most credible on the subject and b) that will help make your arguments more convincing to your readers.
  • Decide what additional information you want to include to bolster the strength of your arguments, such as examples and hypothetical situations.
  • Outline your essay:
    • Intro with a strong thesis
    • Body that lays out your arguments and counterarguments
    • Conclusion that reemphasizes the main points
  • Write the first draft.
  • Peer review the draft and then revise it accordingly
  • Proofread for surface level errors as well to make sure that the formatting and documentation is correct.
  • Turn in the final draft electronically on Blackboard in a Word or rich text file.


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