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AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY The Assignment: You are to research and compose an argumentative essay focusing on a controversial issue of your choice. While I am not going to list issues to avoid, I am going to encourage you to think outside the box on what you should focus your essay. However, if there is an issue you feel particularly passionate about, then I welcome your take on the topic. The Prewriting Stage: o Step 1: Finding an issue List possible topics (if you don’t already have one) Select the topic in which you are most interested Consider if others will be interested in it as well o Step 2: Preliminary research—exploring the issue Define your issue; develop your claim What do you understand about it already? Brainstorm and list what you know about it. Explore your position. What has been written or said about your issue by others? How does your issue impact others? Research the history of the issue. Is your issue focused enough to be analyzed successfully? Is it so narrow that little has been written about it, or that few express an interest? o Step 3: Considering your audience How will most of your readers probably feel about his issue? What do you expect them to know about it already? Should you address your essay to an audience who disagrees with your position, or will you be “preaching to the choir”? Are you going to have to impact their underlying beliefs and values? Remember, you must address opposing arguments. o Step 4: Reassessing your choice Has your research supplied enough for you to maintain your claim? Is there enough information available to addressing opposing arguments? Do you need to learn more about it? o Step 5: Constructing your argument—preparing to address those who disagree 1. List every reason that you can think of that will help your argument and convince your readers to reconsider their position and adopt yours. 2. Consider effective appeals (ethos, pathos, logos) 3. Number your points or assertions in order of strength or plausibility 4. Under each point or assertion, list potential objections or questions that it could raise.
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