Phase 3 Final Project: “This I Believe” Article
(20% of final grade = 200 points)
Phase 3 Central Question: How do we express our unique voice with heart, clarity of thought, and persuasiveness? What does that balance look like? What rhetorical tools can we use?
Phase 3 Goals:
Final Project/To-do:Write a 7-page “This I Believe” Persuasive Article. Remember: 6.5 pages is the bare minimum.
In this opinionated article, you will consider how to express your own voice amidst larger social, community, and cultural dialogues. You will come up with your own sub-title to “This I Believe,” which will showcase your unique angle into your chosen topic. You will then incorporate ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos to express your opinions on your topic and persuade the reader.
This piece is not merely informative; it is opinionated. Building on our “Big Ideas” reading, you will express your unique subjectivity and angle, incorporate research to supplement and balance your own ideas, and creatively synthesize sub-topics to shape your opinion(s) on your topic. I’m framing it as an article that you would submit to a magazine or online publication. This means you can use contractions, sound like yourself, and write about something you are passionate about. You can pick something philosophical, relational, a social issue, an issue particular to a community you’re a part of—anything you’re passionate about. You do not have to “pick a side” in the traditional sense. Rather, persuade the reader by creatively synthesizing and expressing your ideas. Use bits of personal narrative (stories or anecdotes from your life) to support your ideas, draw the reader in, or show where your perspective comes from. This should be a piece that no one, but you, could write.
How can I write an opinionated piece that also has balance? I’m glad you asked….
To start, let’s return to our major concepts and see how we can apply them to the article we’re writing:
Ethos-establish your personal credibility or authority on the issue. What personal experience or expertise might you draw upon? What are you interested in—personally and in your field of study? What authority or wisdom do you have because of your experience and unique history?
*Note: in our “Big Ideas” reading, the author uses the word subjectivity to refer to our personal tastes, opinions, passions, pet peeves, etc. This all becomes part of your personal ethos that you’re incorporating into your writing. You want the reader to know you; you’re not trying to hide yourself to appear unbiased in the style we’re going for.
Pathos-persuade audience by appealing to their emotions or values. This can also include your own moral standpoint/your own values; create a sense of urgency and a reason for the reader to read.
Logos-appeal to your audience by incorporating logic, reason, or facts. Use research from fields of study, current events, books, etc. that apply. This is where we situate our own opinions within larger conversations, reasoning, patterns, etc. This can help provide balance for our own ideas.
Kairos-express the timeliness or urgency of your issue. Why now? What are the larger conversations happening around your ideas? What current research or trends are you responding to?
Next, let’s think about how to use research to supplement, balance, and even challenge our ideas:
Incorporate direct quotes from 3 sources in your overall article. Your sources must include:
Do in-text citations and a Works Cited page according to MLA, 8th edition. The Works Cited page is separate from the 7-page writing requirement.
Remember our resources:
(1) Our textbook: Everything’s an Argument, with Readings, 8th ed. (MLA Style starts on page 496 in the soft cover version)
(2) The MLA Style Center website
(3) The Purdue Online Writing Lab
Guidance on Integrating Sources and Extra Tips:
(1) In most cases, it’s good to “ground” the reader by introducing a quote with as much source information as you can. MLA gives you various ways to integrate quotes—each with their own in-text citation method. But it’s good to practice introducing quotes, specifically, so that the reader can see where the quote/information is coming from.
(2) Use research to support and even challenge your own thinking. For example, if you’re doing a social or political issue, it’s good to integrate research representing an opposing view(s)—and then, say why you disagree. I don’t require that you present “both sides” to your topic, as this approach can often be reductive and/or not apply to your topic if you’re doing something more philosophical. But, you should consider a range of perspectives; and if you are doing a topic that has strong opposing opinions, anticipate what your reader might ask—or where your reader might disagree with you. Part of expressing your opinions is taking these things into account.
(3) This is not a research-heavy, unbiased research paper. That is, I want you to be using your research intermittently—sprinkling it in—but your goal is not to present ONLY research. Your goal is to express your ideas/your opinions in the writing, while again, using research to support and challenge your own thinking.
(4) You don’t need a thesis statement at the forefront of your article. I do want to see your opinion(s) coming out by the end of the piece. There may be more than one, and you don’t have to capture all of your opinions in one traditional thesis statement. Just make sure your opinions are known, whatever approach you take.
(1) Engagement: there’s nothing I like more than to see you enthused about your topic and personally connected to your writing. Aim to write your perspective in the most honest way possible. I don’t grade you on whether or not I agree with you—but how well you’re crafting your opinions and connecting personally to the writing.
(2) Concepts: the angle of the article you’re writing should be something only you can write. On top of that, I’m looking for how well you integrate ethos, pathos, logos, and kairos into your writing. You don’t have to actually use these terms, but overall, you should be hitting all areas through the combination of your ideas, personal connections, and research.
(3) Style: I’m looking for use of the Big 5 punctuation (varied punctuation), voice, sentence variety, and strong verbs. I don’t expect you to be an expert in all areas, but I am looking for experimentation with style.
(4) Cleanliness: you proofread your paper for small errors like misspellings, capitalization issues, missing words, etc. I suggest you read your work out loud before turning it in.
(5) MLA, 8th edition: you follow MLA 8th ed. conventions for in-text citations and your Works Cited page.
(6) Title: you include a creative title that speaks to your angle/your approach to your article.
(7) Format: follow all formatting instructions at top of assignment sheet. It’s especially important that you hit the length requirement and turn this project in on time, as I submit final grades shortly after.
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