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ENGL 1101: Bishop - Summer 2010   Tags: _english, english1101  

This guide was created to help you with your argument assignment.
Last Updated: Sep 15, 2011 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Assignment Print Page

Due Date


DUE: Friday, July 23rd!



Objective: Students will write arguments that demonstrate mastery of logos and ethos, while offering strongly constructed thesis statements; the essays will also demonstrate basic proficiency with basic research techniques using GIL and GALILEO.



Directions: Students will write well-developed arguments that based on logic and show a keen awareness for audience. Emotional appeals will be kept in check, since this is not a persuasive paper. Students should work diligently to offer substantial support of their claims in the body of the essay. This essay will offer a solution, not causes, effects, or personal commentary on the issue. Papers should:

  • Be 750-1200 words
  • Use the CIA mode of paragraph development
  • Use 3 supporting secondary resources 

Analytical sources may be used if they truly support the argument (in most cases, they won’t!). These supporting sources may be used as illustrations in the CIA mode.

As always, this essay should adhere to MLA standards for formatting and citations, including:

  • header
  • heading
  • 1” margins
  • title
  • double-spacing
  • parenthetical in-text citations
  • works cited page

The grade will be determined using the course rubric on the website.




Offer one comprehensive, possible solution to your social problem. Take into account how the solutions will be execute, including any additional costs or roadblocks that you might anticipate. If you do not offer a solution to your problem, you will FAIL the assignment. How can you reshape our thinking about this issue, as a community?


Tips on Argument

Tips on Arguments:

  • Make sure your argument is logical. If not, fix it.
  • Avoid rhetorical (or logical) fallacies.
  • Consider your audience as you write, edit, and polish the essay. Are you trying to reach a specific audience? How so? (Or why not?)
  • Have you kept your pathos in check? Have you let your feelings about something get the better of you?

Tips on Research

Tips on Research:

·          Don’t try to research something until you’ve written at least half of your body paragraphs. In other words, have something to say before you see what others are saying. This will keep you from recycling arguments and from plagiarizing.

·          Start early and work often. Research takes time; it’s a hit-and-miss game to find solid sources that genuinely support your argument.

·          Make sure you have an argument. These research materials are designed to support what you have to say, not the other way around. You are NOT writing a documented report on what other “professionals” have to say about a topic. You are constructing your own argument using evidence, and you are generously allowing these other “professionals” to drop into your essay for a quick word of support.

·          Be judicious in choosing sources and quotations.


CIA Method

 CIA Method

All body paragraphs should be organized in the following manner: Claim, Illustration, Analysis.


Claim: The first sentence of each paragraph should be a claim. Like any good topic sentence, this claim should encompass the paragraph’s main idea, a mini-argument of sorts. Claims need to be debatable—well-supported, but debatable all the same. Claims should be one sentence long—no more.


Illustration: This is the easiest part of writing a paragraph, although it is somewhat technically difficult. Remember, you never just toss a quotation into a paragraph. Always introduce the quote and offer proper MLA citations (Harbrace ch. 41). The illustration should be no more than three sentences in length; otherwise you will need to consult your handbook for using block MLA quotations. I strongly recommend avoiding lengthy quotations as they seriously detract from your ability to analyze small, manageable signs or pieces of text.


Analysis: This is the most difficult part of paragraph drafting. This requires critical thought, driving questions, and understanding the potential meanings for chosen signs. The most important part of analyzing a sign or piece of text is to consider the “Why?”question. You may well need to begin with an observation in order to move toward a meaningful analysis, but your analysis must feature some kind of critical inquiry, not just regurgitated text or summary. This should comprise the bulk of the paragraph, usually 3-6 sentences.



All that said, you may find that you need to begin with the illustration in order to develop a textual sign worthy of analysis. Remember, your goal is to interrogate the text, which means you may often need to back into the questioning by way of observation. You can have an observation without a claim, but never a claim without first making some observation about the text.


Observation: anything we can point to in the text.

Claim: some commentary about an observation.


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