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ENG 110 Butterfield Spring 2023: Home


Research Essay (25%): 

Each student will choose one of the political issues below and write a 4-5 page (approximately 1700-word) argumentative research essay on it using rhetorical tactics from Heinrichs’ Thank You for Arguing and structuring tactics from Graff and Birkenstein’s They Say/I Say. 

For your audience, imagine Our Class Magazine is looking for submissions that make an argument about politics—either for how we should vote and why, or for where we should stand on a particular issue. Because we’re going to be educating each other on this, I prefer to allow only one student per issue. Read the list of issues below right away to get a sense of what’s going on in politics and what you might want to write on, and start paying more attention to the news about these issues if you can. 

  • For its “they say,” your essay must quote, cite, and explain at least one newspaper opinion piece (from a columnist, editorial board, or guest opinion writer). I recommend The New York Times, The Guardian, or The Washington Post for opinions that lean left, and The Wall Street Journal, The National Review, and The New York Post for opinions that lean right. You are also free to mine our local La Crosse Tribune for an appropriate “they say.” 
  • To support your “I say,” your essay must quote at least one newspaper opinion piece (same as above).
    • Also in support of your “I say,” your essay should quote at least two reputable sources of information (not just random, unaccountable websites); however, the more credible sources you cite in making your argument, the more credible it will seem to readers (this is part of your essay’s “ethos”), so by all means draw from more sources if you can.
  • Write again as if for an audience of your contemporaries who read Our Class Magazine across the nation.
  • You will be graded down if you make unfounded claims your opponents can easily shoot down as “fake news” or mere propaganda, so support your claims.
  • Try using some of the rhetorical techniques we’ve learned (e.g., ethos, pathos, logos, concession, the goldilocks technique, reframing, tactical flaw, appeal to commonplace, using anger, patriotism, emulation, nostalgia, redefinition, definition jujitsu)

Murphy Library

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