The Toulmin essay will help you practice what you have learned so far in this course. First, you will choose a topic of interest. Make sure that you choose a topic with two opposing sides. Then, you need to research that topic in order to specify the topic’s scope, so it can be easily discussed in 1000 word essay. For example, you may be interested in learning more about traffic issues in the United States. However, that topic is too large to cover in a 1000 word essay. After researching peer reviewed articles that discuss US traffic issues in general, you may discover that the metro system in the District of Columbia is underfunded and underutilized. Through your research, you found that you could make a claim that more funds should be made available in order to upgrade the metro system, which would improve traffic issues in the District of Columbia. This would make for a stronger, specific argument.
The following overused topics may not be used in your essay:
gays in the military,
mandatory drug testing,
women in the military,
diets (including the Paleo diet),
workout regimens (including CrossFit),
underage drinking, dangers of smoking (including e-cigarettes and synthetic marijuana) salaries for college athletes
and the legalization of marijuana.
This essay must include a minimum of five sources. Three should be peer-reviewed sources, preferably from the APUS databases. From the library welcome page, click on Advanced Search at the bottom of the page and then check the “peer reviewed” sources box filter. This video will hopefully clarify the term, “peer-reviewed”: http://youtu.be/rOCQZ7QnoN0. You may use eBooks; however, as discussed in your textbook, books generally are not as current as peer-reviewed articles. You may also use primary sources (interviews, statistics, etc); however, these primary sources should be obtained from experts within that field. If you cannot find strong sources for your chosen topic, then change your topic. If you have a question about the validity of a source, please email me, or post your question to the open forum. Note: Consider your audience as laymen in the field with only general knowledge of your topic.
Make sure to include the following sections in your essay:
an introduction and claim,
and a conclusion.
Within the body of your essay, make sure to include the following in any order:
support for your claim,
opposing or alternate views,
the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents’ claims,
and your rebuttals of their claims.
After you have written your essay, please make sure to revise the content of your essay. Lastly, be sure to edit your essay by checking grammar, format, and smaller technical details. Please make sure your essay is written in third person.
The Annotated Bibliography
An annotated Bibliography (AB) is due with your Toulmin essay. Using the MLA guide, list each source as it will appear on the Works Cited page of your essay. Summarize each source in two or three grammatically-correct sentences. These short summaries are the “annotations.” The following is a sample of an “annotated bibliography.”
Annotated Bibliography (Centered)
Clark, Irene L. The Genre of Argument. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1998. Print.
Clark’s textbook identifies the major steps to developing a well-researched and well-written argumentative essay. Professional essays are included in the text as models.
Ward, Russ. Logical Argument in the Research Paper. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 1997. Print.
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