In addition to doing the research, this assignment entails three parts that you should complete in order and submit all together:
0. Research—finding articles that argue for/against a contentious issue
Annotated Bibliography—listing and summarizing articles
Argument Reconstruction—placing arguments in standard form
Essay or Presentation—critically evaluating arguments
RESEARCH [Preparing for the assignment]
Choose a contentious issue from the list provided (on page 3) or get verification from the instructor on an issue of your choice (abortion). Follow the rules presented in Ch. IV to ensure the authorities you draw from are informed, impartial, and independent of each other. You may have to skim abstracts, summaries, and introductions in order to find appropriate sources so give yourself ample time to do research and be patient.
PART 1: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY
On a separate page or slide, construct a bibliography listing all the sources that you use [you should have at least FOUR (two independent sources for each opposing side of your issue)]. Use standard citation guidelines (i.e. choose either the MLA or APA and follow guidelines provided by their respective manuals). After each entry in the bibliography, briefly summarize the content of your sources and whatever arguments within. NOTE: If you use an online citation generator, you must prove the citation; do not include an “n.d.” or “n.p.” unless you truly cannot find any date or publisher info for the source.
PART 2: ARGUMENT RECONSTRUCTION
On a separate page or slide, present TWO arguments―one from each opposing position of the issue (refer to Ch. VII here for guidance). That is, once you have understood the arguments—distinguishing the apparent essential information from extraneous material and unsupported opinions—resolve the main conclusion and basic premises (state any implicit premises). Write the argument in standard form (line-by-line). Then, use terms from Ch. I-VI to briefly describe each argument (Are the arguments meant to be deductive or non-deductive? If deductive, which of the five argument forms do you recognize? If non-deductive, what kind are they?). If you do well in this part of the assignment, Part 3 should be much easier.
PART 3: ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY
In a 2-page essay (500+ words double-spaced) ), critically evaluate the contentious issue and the arguments on both sides. Consider the merits of each argument presented in Part 2 and decide which argument is stronger using rules discussed in the reading (particularly, Ch. VIII). The THESIS of this essay should be a specific answer to one of the questions at the end of this document.
(I suggest you review this frequently – and especially before you submit your final draft)
PART 1 (100 pts.)
There are at least FOUR entries in total within your bibliography [40 pts.]
Use standard citation guidelines (MLA, APA, or Chicago) for all entries [30 pts.]
After every entry, briefly note which library resources were used and summarize the content of each source and whatever arguments within [20 pts.]
I will give 5 pts. of extra credit for every additional article you list and annotate (maximum of 15 pts. extra credit possible).
PART 2 (100 pts.)
Identify and present the main conclusions of TWO arguments [20 pts.]
Identify and present the basic premises of TWO arguments [20 pts.]
State any important implicit premises you think there may be
Present the reasoning to the main conclusion neatly in standard form and in such a way as to make manifest what kind of arguments are being used (argument by example, by analogy, from an authority, about causes, or else a simple deductive argument). [30 pts.]
Describe each argument using terms drawn from our reading (RFA Ch. I-VI), indicating any argument forms that are being used [30 pts.]
PART 3 (100 pts.)
The essay is 2+ pages (500+ words) 10 min. video [30 pts.]
Present a clear, explicit, easy-to-spot thesis expressing your informed decision on the issue based on the evidence-at-hand [10 pts.]
Your body paragraphs each focus on the basic premises and the reasons from which you arrived at your position (one reason per paragraph; use topic sentences) [30 pts.]
Briefly consider an objection to your argument, one an informed person might make (you don’t have to be very thorough but try to be charitable and adhere to the rules discussed in Ch. VII-VIII) [20 pts.]
Your conclusion is merely a recapitulation of your thesis and the reasons for your thesis; do not elaborate any more on your argument and adhere to Rule 39 [10 pts.]
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