Writing 122- Cora Agatucci
English Composition [Argumentation & Critical Reading-Response]

Essay #2 (Argument Using at least 3 Sources) Directions
Worth:  25% of course grade
Short Cuts:  Basic Requirements | Preparation Exercises & Advice
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See WR 122 Syllabus Course Grading for Late policy & Revision Option
WR 122 Course Plan for Deadlines & related assignments
See Essay #2 Evaluation for Grading Criteria/Revision Checklist & Competencies:
See also Example Student Argument Essays #2 (online handout):


1.                  Minimum of Three (3) Sources on your topic issue must inform and be explicitly cited in your argument essay--and at least one of these sources must represent a viewpoint opposed to your own.  Note Well: your “sources” may be from AofA, our textbook.  In fact, you can cut down on or eliminate the necessity for outside research if you choose an argumentative topic that enables you to use AofA sources.

2.                  Topic:  An Arguable Issue of Your Choice.  If AofA does not include (any/enough) sources on your chosen topic issue, or does not provide the kind of evidence that you need to convincingly support your claims, then you will need to conduct research to locate relevant sources:  see AofA Ch. 9 for guidance.

3.                  Types/Aims of Your Argument:  Your Choice:  Review Chs. 4, 5, 6, & 7, including example student essays, to help you decide.  (Note: The example student research paper included at the end of Ch. 9 combines the aims of inquiry, convincing, and persuading; it also offers good models for how to cite sources effectively and correctly using MLA style.).  Good example argument essays written by past WR 122 can also be reviewed on Cora’s WR 122 course website - see:  Example Student Argument Essays #2 (online handout):

4.                  Genre & Suggested Length:  Your argument must be written in the genre of an Essay, so remember and apply what you already know about sound essay writing principles.  The suggested length of your Final Draft is 5 to 7 typed/wordprocessed and double-spaced pages using a standard font and point size.

5.                  Targeted Audience(s) & Public/ation Context:  See handout on Audience Analysis Ex. for more direction and guidance.

6.                  Apply what you have learned in WR 122 about effective appeals to logic (logos), character (ethos), emotion (pathos), value, ethics; and style (language, tone).

7.                  Follow Manuscript Form (ms) guidelines, Cite Sources correctly & Avoid Plagiarism:  Recommended manuscript form for Final Drafts has already been discussed in class and illustrated in previous handout directions for graded WR 122 assignments.  Correct procedures for citing multiple sources, using MLA parenthetical in-text citation and Works Cited practices will be further discussed in class before the Final Draft of Essay #2 is due.  Review Ch. 9 for guidance and examples on careful notetaking, in-text parenthetical citation, and Works Cited formats. 

Go to Essay #2 Evaluation
Grading Criteria & Revision Checklist | WR 122 Competencies Addressed


ESSAY #2 PREPARATION (Exercises & Advice)
See WR 122 Course Plan for deadlines & related assignments

(STEP 1)   IDENTIFY (at least ) 3 SOURCES & CHOOSE AN "ARGUABLE" TOPIC ISSUE: Use research, critical reading, inquiry into a range of positions represented in at least 3 sources to help you select a topic issue for Essay #2, and to educate yourself on the state of the dialogue & debate  on that topic issue.  You may wish to choose a topic and use sources from AofA.

(STEP 2)   REVIEW DIFFERENT AIMS AND TYPES OF ARGUMENT (as reviewed in class on Wed., Feb. 20), and seriously consider which aims/types of argument that you would like to pursue in Essay #2.  AofA Resources - Different Aims & Types of Arguments:
Ch. 4 "...Arguing to Inquire," including "A Sample Exploratory Essay," pp. 64-66;
Ch. 5 "...Arguing to Convince"--including Box & Spidel's essay pp. 102-106. 
Ch. 6 "...Arguing to Persuade," including Box & Shanks' essay, pp. 142-145;
Ch. 7: "Negotiation & Mediation...," including analysis & "The Mediatory Essay, pp. 163-190

(STEP 3)   CRITICALLY READ, COMPARE, & TAKE CAREFUL NOTES ON YOUR 3 (or more) SOURCES,  identifying the range of opinions, the points and sources of agreement and disagreement among your sources--annotating and distinguishing your own responses and opinions as well.  Draw upon the methods of analysis and evaluation we’ve been studying in WR 122, and note how you might be able to use your sources in Essay #2.  Use the results of your comparative source analysis to help you formulate and refine your topic focus and tentative thesis for Essay #2.  Consider the authors of your 3+ sources as potential members of your imaged audience for Essay #2.

Topic Proposal for Essay #2


Introduce your chosen Topic Issue;


Identify at least 3 sources to be cited/used: prepare MLA-style Works Cited entries for each of your sources;


Identify type/s of argument you think you will be writing for Essay #2

Audience Analysis Ex. & Comparative Source Analysis Ex. 
AofA Resources for Audience Analysis & Comparative Source Analysis:


Ch. 4:  characteristics of Inquiry, pp. 37-38; “Inquiring into a Range of Positions,” pp. 54-55;


Ch. 5: “Analyzing the Audience,” pp. 81-83; “Working toward a Position,” pp. 79-81;


Ch. 6: “Analyzing Your Readers”: “Who Is the Audience, and How Do They View the Topic? “What Are Our Differences?” and “What Do We Have in Common?” pp. 108-110


See also “King’s Analysis of His Audience: Identification and Overcoming Difference,” pp. 125-126; and “Conceiving a Readership,” pp. 135-136;


 Ch. 7: “Understanding Opposing Positions,” pp. 148-149; “Locating the Areas of Disagreement,” pp. 164 – 169 & see Box, p. 166; preparing a Brief or Outline on opposing views, illustrated on pp. 163-164.

AUDIENCE ANALYSIS EX.:  Construct a few, well-selected survey questions to use in analyzing your WR 122 Workshop Group audience, as well as other non-class members (e.g., prior knowledge, pre-existing biases/opinions, factors that shaped those opinions, areas of agreement & disagreement, etc.) as relevant to your topic, position, argumentative purpose(s).

COMPARATIVE SOURCE ANALYSIS EX.:  Prepare a Brief or Outline on the range of opinions and opposition among viewpoints represented in your sources, as well as you own (developing) responses and opinion.  State your Topic focus (of your chosen argumentative issue) and your Tentative Thesis for Essay #2. 

(STEP 4)   FOLLOW-UP ADVICE:  Take some time to analyze and synthesize what you have learned from your preparation as you start drafting Essay #2.


1.      What specifically seem to be the major differences of opinion—among the views of workshop members, your sources, other folks who let you interview them on your topic issue?  What are the (underlying) causes/sources of these disagreements?  What seem to be the weightiest opposing views you will need to address in Essay #2?

2.      What are the points of agreement and common ground among these multiple viewpoints? (Look for these too in exploring the underlying sources/causes of disagreement among your workshop group members, reading sources, and other you interview.)  What appeals to common ground and points of agreement could you use in Essay #2 to enlist wider audience support for your own views?  

B.  "CONCEIVING A READERSHIP"  (AofA pp. 135-136) & A PUBLIC/ATION CONTEXT  As Crusius and Channell point out, writing for an ill-defined, unknown “general public” somewhere out there in the ether is a “nearly meaningless abstraction” (135).  So let's start with these general parameters for conceiving the Audience for your Essay #2: 

(1)   Diverse in Viewpoints on the issue-- i.e. not just those who already agree with you, but also those with opposing views and those (relatively) open minded who have not yet formulated a decided opinion on the issue—to include the authors of your three (or more) sources;

(2)   (Ideally) Serious, Concerned, Attentive, Ethical (fellow/sister “inquirers”),

(3)   (Reasonably well) Educated but Non-Specialist--to include our college-level WR 122 audience of critical thinkers and readers.

For Essay #2, you will need to work within Cora’s general Audience parameters, but they are still relatively broad.  Argumentative writing is audience-oriented: it is designed to influence readers.  But if you are to argue effectively, applying the most effective strategies and appeals needed to achieve your argumentative aims, you need to clarify in your mind whom you want to influence (targeted audiences), as well as how you want to influence--i.e. what you want from--your readers.  And Essay #2 can be much more than just another dry academic exercise if you are invested in what you are doing, if you can imagine entering your argument into a real-life public(ation) or communication context (i.e. a “rhetorical context") in which your issue is being debated by concerned people, and where your argumentative skills could influence targeted others--and make a real difference!  So try to envision a specific public/ation context for Essay #2, which goes hand-in-hand with identifying targeted audience(s) for your argument.  

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You are here:  Essay #2 (Argument Using at least 3 Sources) Directions ~ Winter 2002
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Last updated: 09 November 2005

This webpage is maintained by Cora Agatucci, Professor of English, 
Humanities Department, Central Oregon Community College
I welcome comments: cagatucci@cocc.edu
Cora Agatucci, 1997-2002
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