In Essays 1 and 2, we analyzed aspects of persuasive rhetoric and communication.

In Essays 1 and 2, we analyzed aspects of persuasive rhetoric and communication. We critically discussed an advertisement, and then analyzed four separate sources participating in a larger discussion. Now, for our final essay, our goal is only this: to play with these same persuasion- and argument-related elements in our own attempt to convince an audience.
Of course, we aren’t selling a product here, but we are certainly selling ourselves: our goal is to convince an audience of our credibility, convince them of our logic, and put forth an argument that an audience might deem worth considering. As we’ve seen in our readings throughout the semester, there’s no perfect way to argue a stance (some prefer formal arguments supported by data, others use humor or other informal tones, some writers attempt to connect with audiences on a more personal level, etc.), and so there’s nothing off-limits here. The catch is only this: that your approach should be well-thought-out, work to your personal strengths as a writer, and make sense as a potentially effective way to both investigate your chosen issue and argue a nuanced stance.
Specific Requirements
Your paper should:
⦁ Identify (in any way you’d like) a specific question guiding your investigation;
⦁ Provide whatever context and background information about the issue that a general audience might need to understand its relevance;
⦁ Engage with at least six sources (these can include anything—from blog posts and YouTube videos to Twitter feeds and Facebook posts; for referencing questions, refer to the style guide posted under ‘Essay Materials’ on Blackboard, or see Chapter 14 of the textbook; either APA or MLA is fine);
⦁ Take an interesting, nuanced, and non-standard stance on your issue (this is critical—and will be largely what I’m looking for);
⦁ Be 1800 – 2000 words in length;
⦁ Be written in 12-point Times New Roman typeface;
⦁ Be uploaded to Blackboard by 5/12 at 11:59 pm.

Final Thoughts
Remember, our goal here is to build an argument that is our own. Sources, as they’re being used here, are not meant as things we quote to prove our stance, but merely as things other people are saying or have said. Think of them as other people sitting around you at a table. If someone to your left contributes something to discussion, would it make sense to repeat their words to the group?
In addition, like our other essays, you aren’t required to utilize any sort of specified form, and I’m not checking for standard thesis statements. This being said, it’s up to you to make sure your argument is clear, and this likely means that it’s not buried deep within the paper and only mentioned briefly. So, unless you feel confident with another approach, it does make sense to at least write some sort of introduction that outlines what you plan to argue.
Also, in regard to taking risks and experimenting with form or whatever else: do it. We’ve discussed this in class (years ago when we met face-to-face), but taking a generic stance on a simple issue is likely to be uninteresting for both of us. So, push the boundaries here; explore the gray areas. If you realize that there are two sides bickering about your issue, then what are these people missing? What’s a conversation they’re overlooking? Are they caught up in something emotionally? Approaching the problem from incorrect angles? Relevant issues will virtually always be more complicated and worthwhile when approached in a way that hasn’t already been beaten-to-death. So, use your background, your experience—whatever you’ve got—and find something to say that hasn’t been said yet about your issue. This is undoubtedly the key to doing well on this paper.

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