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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?
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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?
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.