Essay #4 – Policy Issue (2000-2500 words)
Your final essay on this class focuses on persuading your audience why a specific course of action that should be taken on a significant issue within society or their communities. You may opt to use either of the topics of audiences you used in Essay #2 and #3, or take it in an entirely direction. Ultimately, you will be advocating for a specific, well-reasoned, feasible, and actionable solution (or solutions).
Ultimately This assignment will incorporate components from your previous essays, namely:
Essay #1: Being able to incorporate a personal narrative
Essay #2: Advocating for a socially significant topic; utilizing audience-centered writing; incorporation of rhetorical appeals
Essay #3: Discerning the quality of evidence & underlying warrants; summarizing key points from a source
Now, that might seem daunting, but try not to stress! While components of this essay are cumulative, these are skills you’ve been building all quarter! Furthermore, it’s a type of problem-solution assignment that many of you are likely familiar with and also will likely use outside of this class: Whether it’s arguing for a change to happen in your community (changing of HOA bylaws; building of a new park or building), your college (increased support for mental health services or more sections of classes), or even your workplace (funding for a project; opening a new position to expand your team; taking on a new initiative).
Below are the content areas that this assignment focuses on:
Problem Description: Indicate the issue and problems linked to it, in explicit detail (i.e. define the status quo and harms surrounding the issue)
Personal Impact: Indicate your personal stake in or connection to the issue (how is this, or has this affected you or people close to you?)
Audience Impact: Make a case for why your peers should care about this topic: How it affects them, someone close to them, or some aspect of society they should care about
Solution Description: Present your solution (or solutions) to the problem. This should include your mandate (what will happen); agency (parties that will carry out the solution); cost (resources needed) and oversight (who makes sure your solution works?)
Solution Analysis: Describe how your solution (or set of solutions) is feasible (how realistic is it to accomplish; what are the limitations). In addition, the distinct advantages and disadvantages should be included: Remember — no solution is perfect.
In addition to the above, it is required all claims you make are supported with documented, valid evidence (a minimum of 8 sources is required — more is better). Additionally, I will be evaluating your essay for sound argumentation principles: i.e. does the evidence connect sensibly to the claims (warrants; reasoning); are major fallacies avoided in creating the argument.
As always, I’ll be evaluating the following technical areas — if you’ve made it this far, though, these should come easily!
In addition to the content, I will be assessing the following technical areas regarding formatting:
Word Count: The essay should be a minimum of 2000 words (references and title page are not included in this count). That said, don’t stress if you go slightly under or over (but if you’re approaching, say, 3000 words, maaaaybe trim it a bit).
In-Text Citations: A minimum of 8 which follow APA formatting (it’s common for people to use 10-12 on this essay).
Reference Page: Include this as a separate page which also follows APA formatting.
General APA Formatting: A title page, utilizing double spacing throughout, and including page numbers.
A detailed rubric will be available on the assignment page, but you’re being assessed in the following areas:
– The depth that you describe the issue, status quo and harms
– The depth and feasibility of your solution (i.e. just saying “we should fund this more” would be insufficient)
– How well you provide a nuanced description of the plans advantages and disadvantages (NO solution is perfect)
-Do you make a clear case for how this issue affects both the audience as well as the impact it has had on you (without devolving into excessive personal anecdotes)
– I’m assessing two things here: Validity (is every key claim you make in the argument supported by evidence, rather than anecdote) and soundness (do these key claims rely on clear warrants and reasoning, rather than simplistic and fallacious support?).