Planning Your Researched Argument Choosing a Topic • Avoid hot-button issues: – Abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage • Avoid tired topics: – Violence in video games, Marijuana legalization, Animal experimentation • Choose something local? – Feral cats on campus? Astrodome? Football conference restructuring? Tuition increases? • Choose something timely? – Texting while driving, avoiding government shutdowns, payments to travelers stuck on tarmac Choosing a Topic • Choose a topic a reasonable person might argue against. • Choose a topic that has several different lines of argument. • Choose something from your major? • Choose some aspect of your literature review to argue? (Remember, you must write something new.) • Choose something that’s NOT personal. Sample Argumentative Topics • • • • • • • • • • • Texting while driving should be illegal. (Who would enforce? Punishment?) Zoos are internment camps for animals and should be shut down. People who contribute to Social Security should have the right to choose how their money is invested. College athletes should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies. To encourage healthy eating, higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and junk food. Financial incentives should be offered to high school students who perform well on standardized tests. Are cell phones dangerous? Are school uniforms a good or bad idea? Should elderly drivers be required to retake the drivers test after a certain age to ensure they are still in good condition to drive! If so, at what age? What role, if any, should the federal government take in dealing with the problem of homelessness? Should high schools handout condoms to their students to prevent teen pregnancy and STDs? • • • • • • • • • • • Is hunting good for the environment? Will a border fence solve the immigration problem? Should the U.S. create a visitor work program? ( A better way to address immigration.) Should parents limit the use of social media by teenagers? Are beauty contests a good thing for young girls? Should schools continue to spend money on fine arts? Should college courses prepare students to enter the workforce? A student organization should be formed to rescue and care for the feral cats on campus. Professional baseball players convicted of using performance-enhancing drugs should not be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame. Is the death penalty an effective deterrent of crime? Do colleges put too much stock in standardized test scores? Should men get paternity leave from work? Should women get more than six weeks? Is Drone warfare ethical? Introduction First Sub-Point Second Sub-Point Third Sub-Point Counterargument Refute Counterargument Conclusion Spanking damages a child’s self esteem, his ability to socialize with his peers, and may cause him to become more aggressive. Damages a Child’s Self Esteem Damages a Child’s Ability to Socialize with His Peers May Cause Increased Aggression Some say mild physical punishments can decrease delinquent behavior in at-risk youth. All physical punishments, including mild ones, are detrimental to children. Parents who spank should become educated about the negative effects of spanking and should see professional counseling. Ethos, Pathos, Logos • Ethos: credentials of your experts (not you!) – Leave yourself out of it! • Pathos: use a personal story (but not your own!) – Case study, a less-academic source? – A realistic hypothetical situation? – Give a face to the issue • Logos: show how history is on your side, give statistics, trends, explain research and studies Sources • You may choose ONE non-academic source to support your claims. (Pathos?) • This source must still come from a credited news outlet. NOT someone’s random blog. • The remainder of your sources must come from the library databases. Try: – Academic Search Complete – JSTOR – First Search – Project Muse Next Time • Come to class next week with your narrowed topic, two or three sub-points, and your counter-argument.