October 19, 2010 Archives
Persuasion involves taking a clear position on a controversial subject -- not just a shocking one, but rather something that rational people can and do disagree about. You will presenting your best case for your position, and address good arguments against your position.
This means presenting evidence.
In this class, I do not expect you to cite government studies, or academic articles, or scientific reports. Instead, I ask you to chiefly to refer to your own experience. You will SHOW, but no longer chiefly for the purpose of encouraging me to feel your emotions; instead, you will SHOW in order to tip an uncommitted reader over to your side.
Your task is not to belittle or insult "the other side." If you honestly cannot think of a reason why any rational human being would differ from your opinion, I suggest you choose another topic. You might be too close to this one.
Avoid peppering an invisible opponent with questions you don't plan to answer. Avoid whining. It's very easy to be AGAINST something... it's much more challenging (and more intellectually valuable) to argue FOR something.
Describe a change.
It can be personal, political, academic, athletic... any sort of change. Any change has a phase before the change began, while the change was taking place, and after the change is complete -- though you don't need to write one sentence on each, and you might want to begin after the change has taken place, and then flash back to the "before."
Every change takes place over a certain amount of time, but you may wish to rush through the change and focus on the results, or you may wish to emphasize the time span by taking the reader through the chronological steps.
Whatever you choose, remember to focus on one thing, rather than a list. Try to SHOW, not TELL, just as you do for all your other assignments.