Description: Organized around an issue question, your claim-driven essay will synthesize your own independent thought with the ideas of two separate texts. You will first analyze the two texts in terms of similarity and difference, then engage the texts, by deciding on what you accept and what you reject, ending with your own answer to the issue question. Sources: The key to writing a compelling argument is first finding two articles that clearly diverge in how they answer the issue question. Remember, these sources must be credible, meaning identifiable author(s) with meaningful credentials. Length: 1,200-1,500 words, double spaced Suggested Organization: Introduction (one paragraph) Characteristics of a Successful Introduction: Hook your readers’ attention Introduce your issue question Provide relevant background information: What is motivating this writer? Engage the larger conversation that these pieces are responding to. Culminate in a two sentence main claim. For the two sentence main claim, the first sentence maps out your authors’ answers to the issue question. The second sentence shows how you interact with the authors and ends with your own answer to the issue question. Remember, think independent and dependent clauses. For example, Whereas Author X argues that ___, Author Z, on the other hand, believes that ____. Although I agree with both X and Z that_______, I, however, am not altogether convinced that this is sufficient; in fact, I maintain that Y is essential because of A and B. Summary of Arguments (two paragraphs) Concise summary of each author’s claims. Analytical Section (two paragraphs) Claim + Reason on how the two authors’ ideas are similar: What is a compelling way that these authors are similar in their answer to the issue question? Claim + Reason on how the two authors’ ideas are different: What is a compelling way that these authors are different in their answer to the issue question? For meaningful differences, think, “What contradictions and differences do I see between their answers or solutions?” Synthesis Section (two to three paragraphs) Claim + Reason about what you accept (or reject) from these authors’ answers: This section is about how you dialogue with the texts–what do you accept or reject? What commonalities and intersections related to your answer to the synthesis question do you see in their ideas? What is your thoughtful interaction with the texts? Claim + Reason about your own answer to the issue question: This paragraph should clearly demonstrate a new understanding that steps beyond either one of the authors. Now, think, “Where can you step out on your own, even take a risk, in your thinking about the ideas discussed in these texts? What can you add? What is missing?” Conclusion (one paragraph) Characteristics of a Successful Conclusion: Return to your thesis Return to your issue question Return to your hook End with implication and significance on this issue question.
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