Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Toulmin Essay Topics

The topics are taken from The New York Times Learning Network.

1. What Criteria Should Be Used in Awarding Scholarships for College?
Outstanding grades, a stellar personal essay, excellence on the field or stage–these are just some of the reasons students are awarded scholarships for college. Do you think they are good indicators of future success, as students and then as contributors in one’s chosen field? How would you award scholarships? - Shannon Doyne

2. Why Do We Like to Watch Rich People on TV and in the Movies?
recent Room for Debate post begins, “Several Academy Award contenders like ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘American Hustle’ glorify white-collar criminals and scammers, and many reality TV shows embrace the wealthy, too. A new series, ‘#RichKids of Beverly Hills,’ is the latest example of our enthusiasm for ‘ogling the filthy rich.’ Why are we so obsessed with watching the antics of the 1 percent?” - Katherine Schulten

3. Do Parents Have Different Hopes and Standards for Their Sons Than for Their Daughters?
Parents want all their children, whether they are boys or girls, to be happy and successful. Yet a recent study of Internet search data suggests that American parents do in fact hold different expectations for their children based on sex. For one, they want their boys to be smarter and their girls skinnier.
What is your experience? Do mothers and fathers have different hopes and standards for their sons than for their daughters? - Michael Gonchar
4. Can You Be Good Without God?
A writer for a Times blog about philosophy argues that being an atheist does not mean “anything goes” — in fact, quite the opposite. What do you think? Can morality be independent of God? Can people who don’t believe in God still be as “good” as those who do? What governs your own decisions about whether and how to act ethically? - Katherine Schulten

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ENG 105 - Toulmin Argument Outline

Toulminian Argument is named after British philosopher Stephen Toulmin. Essentially, Toulmin argues that good, realistic arguments consist of 6 parts. Support, Claim, Warrant, Qualifier, Rebuttal, and Backing. See the Inventing Argument text for further reading.

See an example argument:
Congress should ban animal research (Claim #1) because animals are tortured in experiments that
have no necessary benefit for humans such as the testing of cosmetics (Support). The well being of
animals is more important than the profits of the cosmetics industry (Warrant). Only congress has the
authority to make such a law (Warrant) because the corporations can simply move from state to state
to avoid legal penalties (Backing). Of course, this ban should not apply to medical research (Qualifier). A
law to ban all research would go too far (Rebuttal).
So, the law would probably (Qualifier) have to be carefully written to define the kinds of research
intended (Claim #2).

Toulmin Outline
I. Introduction of the problem or topic.
    A. Material to get the reader's attention (a "hook")
    B. Introduce the problem or topic
    C. Introduce our claim or thesis, perhaps with accompanying qualifiers that limit the scope of
         the argument. (NB: This will help you cut the topic down to a manageable length.)
II. Offer support for the argument.
    A. Support #1
    B. Support #2
    C. (and so on)
III. Explore warrants that show how the data logically is connected to the data
    A. Warrant #1
    B. Warrant #2
    C. (and so on)
IV. Offer factual backing to show that logic used in the warrants is good in term of realism as well
as theory.
    A. Backing for Warrant #1
    B. Backing for Warrant #2
    C. (and so on)
V. Discuss counter-arguments and provide rebuttal
    A. Counter-argument #1
    B. Rebuttal to counter-argument #1
    C. Counter-argument #2
    D. Rebuttal to counter-argument #2
    E. (and so on)
VI. Conclusion
    A. Implications of the argument, summation of points, or final evocative thought to ensure the
         reader remembers the argument.

Read Ryan Brown's "Community of Cars" or Lynda Smith's "Disconnected."

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

ENG 105 - Rogerian Argument Prompts and Research Topic Exercise

Source: Wikipedia

Use one of the following prompts for your Rogerian Essay. You MUST read all articles in your chosen topic in order to construct your argument.You need to use your rhetorical analysis skills to identify the claims and support of both sides, and also how they deal with their respective oppositions. Think carefully about the types of values both sides seem to have and consider how you can use those to come to a workable conclusion.

1. The topic of marriage has been a popular issue recently, largely in relation to marriage equality. However, how popular is marriage at all? Read these two conflicting perspectives on marriage and cosntruct your own Rogerian argument to come to your own conclusions.

"Skirting the Issue: Since when did getting married become so unfashionable" by Louisa Peacock
"We need to have a frank discussion about marriage" by Tauriq Moosa

2. Our community enjoys and supports a number of beauty pageants (Miss BVI, Miss World BVI, Miss Caribbean World, Prince and Princess Pageant etc.). Read these perspectives on the Miss America pageant in particular and consider the two sides of the issue. Do pageants exploit women, or is the opportunity for a scholarship enough reason to support them? There are 4 other arguments here, you may use them, but these two are the ones that should be focused on.

"Big Money to be Made" by Hilary Levey Friedman
"Still Sending the Wrong Message" by Blain Roberts

3. The BVI has been making some significant changes to its education system over the past several years and it appears that some more big evolutions are on the way. One aspect of education that is often ignored unfortunately is where parents fit in to the big picture. What is the role of the parent in their child's education? There are 6 other articles here, but while you may use them, these two are the ones you should focus on.

"Parents Value Schools, but Society Doesn't" by Brian Jones
"Parents Need to Set Standards for Children" by LaShanda Henry

Secondly, we need to start thinking about our Final Projects. Start brainstorming your topics and feel free to email me for my input.

ENG 105 - Rogerian Outline

ROGERIAN STYLE OUTLINE: (may vary due to the length of your essay… each section shown here can include many more points and supporting details/evidence)

I. Introduction: This should be a detailed definition of the exigence and rhetorical situation.

II. The body of the paper begins with a classification and division of Side A and Side B.

A. This introduces the con position of the debate. (OPPOSITION)

1. This should be the first major issue to support the ‘opposing side’
a. This is a minor detail supporting number '1'.
b. This is a second minor detail supporting number '1'.

2. This is the second major detail to support the ‘opposing side’
a. This is a minor detail supporting number '2'.
b. This is a second minor detail supporting number '2'.


B. This introduces the ‘proposition’ of the debate. (YOUR SIDE)

1. This should be the first major issue to support the ‘pro side’
a. This is a minor detail supporting number '1'.
b. This is a second minor detail supporting number '1'.

2. This is the second major detail to support the ‘pro side’
c. This is a minor detail supporting number '2'.
d. This is a second minor detail supporting number '2'.


C. This particular section compares and contrasts the issues in order
to highlight the differences between the pro and opposing position (can use the
information from the two sides in the sections above)

1. This might begin with a sentence stating a pro position.
2. The following might point out a con position.
3. The next point might refute a previous claim.
4. The next point might restate a position.

III. Drawing a conclusion.
It should recount the highlights of the argument, but it draws a logical conclusion or compromise. See the example essay you read in your text – Obesity Lawsuits by Nancy Hall. For more material see the Youtube video we watched in class as well as a lengthier guide here.

Monday, February 3, 2014

ENG 105: Critical Response Outlining

Introduction:Identify the writer and the text and follow with a summary of the writer's main claims.

For e.g.
In "A Community of Cars" Ryan Brown asserts that we have become a society that is overly reliant on the convenience that cars provide. This unfortunately, is to our detriment as seen in the negative impacts this driving culture has to our environment, our health, and our sense of community.

In the body, you should identify each of the writer's supporting claims and determine what sort of support (example, evidence, appeal) he chooses to use. Deal with each supporting claim independently.

For e.g.I. There is a negative impact on our environment caused by our addiction to the convenience of cars.
According to Brown, the damage done to our environment by cars varies from the ground-level ozone produced by traffic to the expansion of roadways that "tear up the countryside, destroying wildlife routes and habitats" (39). He uses statistical evidence, pointing towards the rising rates of asthma levels in children between 1980 and 1995 (39).

In the conclusion, talk about your personal reaction to the argument. How much have you been convinced? How does the writer's rhetoric affect the way you perceive his argument? Do you think it is intriguing enough to sway people who may have held an opposing view prior to reading it?

For e.g.
All in all, Brown posits a competent argument against our reliance on cars. While his emotional and character appeals in terms of the loss of community, environment, and health are seductive ones, he seems to disregard litigating factors such as the increasing population and the increased demand for goods and transportation that follows.

Monday, October 7, 2013

ENG 105 - Exploratory Essay

Please see the following guidelines for creating an Exploratory Essay. Also see the resources provided by The OWL at Purdue here.


Paragraph 1 A brief, GENERAL, introduction of the topic. Explain why there is a debate or controversy.

Paragraph 2 The RHETORICAL SITUATION – who is interested in the issue, exigence and constraints.

Paragraph 3 One point of view you have discovered in your readings….. explain this point of view in Your own words. Give credit to the source where you found the perspective.

Paragraph 4 Another, DIFFERENT point of view on the issue. explain this point of view in your own words. Give credit to the source where you found the perspective.

Paragraph 5 Yet, another, 3rd point of view on the issue. explain this point of view in your own words. Give credit to the source where you found the perspective.

Paragraph 6 *Tell why you are interested in the issue/topic. *State your personal exigence. *State your claim (working thesis) for the final project. ***** this is the ONLY part of the essay where your opinion should be expressed!


Step 1 Find 3 sources that have at least 3 DIFFERENT perspectives/points of view on your topic. Do this first so that you are educated and informed about the different points of view relating to your topic.

Step 2 Write a short, 1 paragraph summary for each source; in your own words). If you can write a summary for each point of view, then it means you understand them. And there is no need to quote in this essay. Use your own writing style to express the 3 points of view.

Step 2a Edit/revise your summaries…. These are the body paragraphs of this essay. There should be at least 1 paragraph for each perspective; more if needed. Each body paragraph should explain a new point of view only (DON’T state your opinion).

Step 3 Write the second section of your essay: The Rhetorical Situation. Remember this is the part that shows the reader WHY there is a debatable issue in the world, community, etc….. Also remember for this essay not all 5 parts of rhetorical situation are used. Only 3 parts: Interested parties, constraints and exigence.

Step 4 Write your introduction paragraph. It should be a very general explanation of the issue being discussed. NO CLAIM or OPINION should be stated here; only a general description.

Step 5 Write the last paragraph which includes * your personal exigence * your claim/thesis for final project (it is ONLY here that you can show your opinion on the final topic) Combine all parts for one, solid EXPLORATORY ESSAY

ENG 105 - Exploratory Essay

Your topic for the Exploratory essay MUST BE YOUR FINAL RESEARCH TOPIC.
You must have:
at least 3 sources (one for each perspective - more recommended);
at least 3 CLEAR perspectives or points of view on the issue;
compliance with MLA guidelines (in text citations and a Works Cited page);
compliance with the Outline.

Use the following links as aids in your preparations
Exploratory Guidelines
Exploratory Essay Step by Step on Youtube
How To Write an Exploratory Essay on HubPages
Organizing the Exploratory Essay

Your Exploratory Outlines are due via email on Tuesday 15th October.
The Exploratory Essays are due Tuesday 22nd October.