Choosing a topic:
This Toulmin project will help you practice what you have learned so far in this course.
First, you will choose a topic of interest. Make sure that you choose a public debate with clear sides and stakes (see attachment to understand what this means!).
Then, you need to research that debate to narrow the topic’s scope, so it can be easily discussed within the word count range.
For example, you may be interested in learning more about traffic issues in the United States. However, that topic is too large to cover for this assignment. After researching peer reviewed articles that discuss US traffic issues in general, you may discover that the metro system in the District of Columbia is underfunded and underutilized. Through your research, you find that you can make a claim that more funds should be made available in order to upgrade the metro system, which would improve traffic issues in the District of Columbia. This would make for a stronger and more specific argument. View the handout on sides and stakes that can help with this process.
As you’ll see from the requirements of the assignment (listed in the requirements section of these instructions), you need to find peer-reviewed sources using the APUS databases. From the library welcome page, click on Advanced Search at the bottom of the page and then check the “peer reviewed” sources box filter.
This video will hopefully clarify the term, “peer-reviewed”. You may use eBooks; however, as discussed in your textbook, books generally are not as current as peer-reviewed articles. You may also use primary sources (interviews, statistics, etc); however, these primary sources should be obtained from experts within that field. If you cannot find strong sources for your chosen topic, then change your topic. If you have a question about the validity of a source, please email me, or post your question to the open forum.
Structure of the argument:
Make sure to include the following sections in your project regardless of the type of essay you choose to do:
an introduction and claim,
and a conclusion.
Within the body of your essay, make sure to include the following in any order:
support for your claim,
opposing or alternate views,
the strengths and weaknesses of your opponents’ claims,
and your rebuttals of their claims.
For this assignment, you have creative options. This will not be a “traditional” essay, so part of the challenge is trying to apply the Toulmin model to a real situation in which you might use it, especially considering your topic choice and intended audience. Choose what will challenge your writing and what would be appropriate for your topic, audience, and field of study:
Op-ed newspaper article.
Letter/proposal to stakeholders.
Letter to the editor.
Election speech (written only).
Application for a position related to the topic.
Defense attorney’s opening statement.
Meeting or conference speech (written only).
Report to supervisor or colleagues.
Call to action paper.
You might need to do a bit of Googling on the type of document you decide to write. For instance, if you choose to write a defense attorney’s opening statement, you’ll want to find out how that is structured by looking up examples and tips. In terms of format, since this is not a traditional essay, use the format appropriate to the option you’ve chosen; for example, a blog will look like a typical Internet blog; a case brief will look like a typical case brief, etc. Note: Regardless of the option/format, you must cite your sources both within the body of the essay and in a final reference page. The citations must be cited correctly using APA, MLA, or Chicago, whichever is appropriate to your field of study.
***In the title page, state which document type you’ve chosen so that I know how to grade it, such as stating “letter to the editor”***
PURPOSE: To persuade using the Toulmin model
AUDIENCE: The applicable audience for the type of document you’ve chosen to write.
LENGTH: approximately 500 – 1000 words (Times New Roman font)
SOURCES: A minimum of 3 with at least 1 from the library, and at least 1 from a professional journal or organization
FORMAT: The citation style that is appropriate for your discipline: APA, MLA, or Chicago
**Remember that all work submitted is to be your own original work except where properly acknowledged and cited. Do not reuse work, papers, or speeches from previous (or concurrent) classes as this violates APUS academic integrity policies. (Make sure to note the section on self-plagiarism.) **
Choosing a topic: