We readily acknowledge that writing is a recursive process that encompasses all of the concepts presented in guideWIRE; however, the focus here is the actual transfer of ideas from the writer to the audience through academic argument. This, in addition to the act of putting pen to paper/fingers to keys, is often dependent on appropriate rhetorical structure.
Context—What is Academic Argumentative Writing?
Dartmouth Writing Program’s “What is an Academic Paper?”
This comprehensive handout describes how academic writing differs from high school writing. Karen Gocsik offers several tips to help students make a successful transition from a more-formulaic, high school style to the sophistication expected in academic situations. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~writing/materials/student/ac_paper/what.shtml
“Six features of Academic Writing” handout from University of Iowa
According to this handout from the University of Iowa, “One of the problems students run into is that they are often ex¬pected by their professors to produce a reasonably persuasive argument, but few of them really understand how to construct one. They don’t understand the conventions of academic argumentation and they haven’t noticed that there are some key things most writers do.” With that in mind, this handout focuses on a few of the key features of academic writing. http://myweb.uiowa.edu/egand/Six%20features.pdf
Getting Started—Moving from Topic to Research Question
University of Idaho’s Information Literacy Portal.
As is noted on this website, “Research requires a question for which no ready answer is available.” Coming up with such a question can often be challenging; however, this page provides guidelines for moving from a research topic to a research question. http://www.webs.uidaho.edu/info_literacy/modules/module2/2_2.htm
The MEAL Plan paragraph structure
Often students understand that each paragraph in an essay needs to focus on a single idea; however, figuring out how to present that idea in a structured paragraph can be difficult. The University of Wisconsin’s Writing Center offers the MEAL Plan in their “Argumentative Paragraph Structure” handout which emphasizes: Main Point, Evidence, Analysis and Link. http://lmc.gatech.edu/~mcnair/Teaching/Writing_Essays/MEAL.htm
The Writing Center at Harvard’s “Argumentative Essay Structure”
While acknowledging that there are “no set formulas” for writing argumentative essays, Elizabeth Abrams has created a set of guidelines to help students structure an essay so the ideas are presented logically to the audience. http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~wricntr/documents/Structure.html
“The Argumentative Essay: Three Patterns”
The Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College has adapted the guidelines from Annette T. Rottenberg's Elements of Argument, 7th ed. into a simple, visual representation of three classic argumentative patterns. http://www4.wccnet.edu/departments/english/pdf/handouts/essaystructure/Argumentative.pdf
The Writing Center at Harvard’s “Counter-Argument”
Gordon Harvey notes that a good counterargument, “allows you to anticipate doubts and pre-empt objections that a skeptical reader might have; it presents you as the kind of person who weighs alternatives before arguing for one, who confronts difficulties instead of sweeping them under the rug, who is more interested in discovering the truth than winning a point.” This handout from the Writing Center at Harvard explains several ways to successfully approach counterargument. http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~wricntr/documents/Counterarg.html
“A Guide to Using Counter Arguments” from Pitzer College
This handout from Brian Keeley offers tips on crafting a fair, engaging counterargument. He says, “Life is full of disagreements between intelligent people of good faith. Learning how to deal with such disagreements in a fair, yet firm way is an important skill that often separates the best writers from the merely good.” http://mugwump.pitzer.edu/~bkeeley/CLASS/HSID/Guidetocounterarguments.pdf
This is a self-paced tutorial containing lessons and immediate feedback quizzes from Minneapolis Community & Technical College and Spring Hill College covering the full range of information literacy skills. http://camellia.shc.edu/literacy/index.html