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AED199: Writing

Writing an argumentative essay

"The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic; collect, generate, and evaluate evidence; and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner." (Purdue Owl)

  • Brainstorm topic idea, think of specific or precise topics to research so your research topic is not too broad (what am I writing about - explain it in a couple of sentences so you can expound upon it)
  • Claim an opinion based on the chosen topic (opinion statement based on fact (proven or disproven with factual evidence), value (added - good or not)  or policy (need a policy, not not - does the policy work or not)

Your argument or claim should be stated clearly in a introduction paragraph (thesis statement) This paragraph is a roadmap or outline of what you will cover in your essay or presentation.

Body of the essay or presentation should support your claim and follow the order in your thesis statement - at least 3 supporting statements
(P.I.E.) Paragraph structure 

  • P: Point - what point is being made
  • I: Information - present the facts, statistics, and statements found that back up your point,
  • E: Explanation: justification to your point, what the information provided means.

Conclusion: restate your thesis and sythesize or unify your opinion and findings. 

Always cite your sources

Annotated bibliography

Annotated Bibliography: an annotated bibliography is a list of citations to books, articles, and documents. Each citation is followed by a brief (usually about 150 words) descriptive and evaluative paragraph, the annotation. The purpose of the annotation is to inform the reader of the relevance, accuracy, and quality of the sources cited.

What does an annotated bibliography do
A good annotated bibliography:

  • encourages you to think critically about the content of the works you are using, their place within a field of study, and their relation to your own research and ideas.
  •  proves you have read and understand your sources. establishes your work as a valid source and you as a competent researcher.
  • situates your study and topic in a continuing professional conversation. provides a way for others to decide whether a source will be helpful to their research if they read it.
  • could help interested researchers determine whether they are interested in a topic by providing background information and an idea of the kind of work going on in a field.

What an annotation should include:

  • Complete bibliographic information.
  • Some or all of the following: Information to explain the authority and/or qualifications of the author. For example: Dr. William Smith, a history professor at XYZ University, based his book on twenty years of research.
  • Scope and main purpose of the work. Any biases that you detect. Intended audience and level of reading difficulty.
  • Evaluation or why you feel this work is suitable for your topic