For this assignment, please write a logical, argumentative essay about a debatable topic. To choose a topic, go to the TCC homepage. Choose Library–>Article Databases–>Articles A to Zà–>Issues and ControversiesàNeed a Research Topic?–>MORE Research topics.  Choose one of the topics from the list. (Please keep in mind that these topics are broad and must be narrowed into a manageable claim statement.)


TOPIC CONFIRMED: “Housing First” Approach – Against

Why would you spend money on putting ill people in a home and not getting them the actual help they need?


Include seven paragraphs for a minimum total of 1800 words organized as directed in these instructions, written in third person, and typed in correct MLA format.


As a writer, you must take a stand. For example, if your topic is the legalization of same-sex marriage, either support it or refute it. What exactly are you arguing? State it in your claim (thesis) statement. Here is an example: Oklahoma state legislators should pass a law allowing same-sex couples to marry.


If you do not care about the topic, you should probably choose another topic. Unless you can persuade me otherwise, the following topic is not acceptable: abortion.  Please consult with me through the designated discussion board forum and gain my approval before you begin your research.


You will need to present objective evidence to your reader to support your position (your position is also known as your claim statement or thesis). This means that you will need to spend a great deal of time conducting research to find facts, statistics, reasons, examples, studies, and so forth to support your assertions.


Do write in third person

Do use correct MLA format.

Do include a separate MLA works-cited page with at least five credible sources.

Do choose at least one of each of the following: peer-reviewed journals, credible Web site, and e-books. The other two you may duplicate. For example, you might choose two Web sites, two journal articles, and one e-book.


When you cite the information on the works-cited page, always include not only the publication information but also the database information.  See pages 190-91 in The Little, Brown Essentials Handbook.  In the example on page 191. the publication information ends after 145-76. The database information begins with Ethnic NewsWatch. More than likely but not always, your database information for a journal article will be Academic Search Premier. E-books from a library database use the same format as journal articles: publication information then database information.


Do not use Wikipedia as a source.

Do not use encyclopedias or dictionaries as sources.

Do not use more than two Web sites, two e-books, or two journal articles.

Do not use .com Web sites unless you can convince me that you really need the source information and that the source is credible.  Most aren’t; some are.

Do not use popular magazines or newspapers as sources.


Student Alert:

  • Papers must be submitted in correct MLA format.  Consult The MLA Handbook for Writers, 7th ed. for correct format.
  • Papers that do not include parenthetical documentation earn a zero.
  • Papers that do not include a works-cited page earn a zero.
  • Papers with a confusing or incomprehensible or partial works-cited page earn a zero.
  • Remember that if you plagiarize, you will earn a “zero” for the paper and, possibly, the course. If in doubt, document.
  • Read the organizational justification on page two. (Why are we using this specific organization?)
  • Read the organizational requirements for your paper on page three. (How do I organize my paper?)
  • Use the checklist on page four to help you keep track of the essay requirements.



History: Classical Argument


The following explanation was adapted from Handbook for Writers by Lynn Quitman Troyka.


Although rhetoric, as defined by Aristotle, appears in the speeches and debates of the epics and plays of ancient Greece, its principles were not systematically formulated until the fifth century B.C. Corax of Syracuse, recognizing the need for a system by which citizens of Sicily could argue in the courts to recover property that they had lost during the reign of Thrasybulus, began to set down the principles of argumentation. Lacking documents to prove their claims, ordinary citizens had to argue their cases by relying on inferential reasoning and probability. Tisias, the student of Corax, extended the study of rhetoric from the courtroom and wrote speeches for other people to deliver. Others who quickly followed to develop the art of rhetoric, or persuasion, include Gorgias of Leotini (fl. 420 B.C.), known principally for his ornate style characterized by extensive use of figures of speech, and Isocrates (436-338 B.C.), one of the leading Athenian teachers of rhetoric and an author of influential books on rhetorical theory.


What is the structure of a classical argument? The structure of a classical argument is based on a six-part plan developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans.


  1. Exordium. meaning “beginning a web.” As an introduction, the purpose of the exordium is to attract the attention of the audience, indicate the subject, and favorably dispose the audience to what will follow.


  1. Narratio. In this section, now usually referred to as “statement of fact,” the issue is defined by stating    pertinent facts about the subject. It is, therefore, basically expository.


  1. Partitio. If the thesis has not yet been identified, it will be presented here, along with an indication of how the rest of the argument will be organized. The purpose of partitio is to prepare the reader or listener for what will follow.


  1. Confirmatio. Arguments to support the thesis, forming the bulk of the piece, are developed at this point. The question of the order of presentation of arguments is critical to the effectiveness of the confirmation.


  1. Refutatio. Opposing arguments are considered and rendered ineffective in the refutation section. To ignore them is to risk letting them appear to be more attractive than one’s own thesis. The refutation may be placed at various points in the piece, depending on where it will be most effective.


  1. Peroratio. The classical rhetoricians used a number of terms to indicate the conclusion of a piece; it usually furnished a summary of proofs and refutations, a restatement of the major points, and a recreation of emotional and ethical appeals.


Troyka, Lynn Quitman. Handbook for Writers. Annotated Instructor’s Edition. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River,


New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 2002.

Classical Argument Organization for your Essay: Please keep in mind that many argument organizational options exist, but you will use the following standard form for your paper. (Note: you will find an explanation of the history of classical argument above on page two.)

  • Introductory paragraph (first paragraph) sets the stage for the position that is argued in the essay. Make sure that your introduction grabs the reader’s attention. The claim statement states the position being argued. In your essay, the claim statement will appear as the last statement at the end of the introductory paragraph.
  • Background information (second paragraph) gives the reader basic information needed for understanding the position being argued. This paragraph comes after the introductory paragraph and informs the reader about your issue. For example, if you choose to support “embryonic stem cell research,” define and discuss the issue for the reader. Your reader may or may not know what you mean by embryonic stem cell research, so tell the reader, in one succinct paragraph, about your issue.
  • Reasons or evidence (third, fourth, and fifth paragraphs) is the support offered for the position being argued. This is the core of the essay. You want your reasoning to be logical and your evidence to meet critical standards. Before you begin writing your paragraphs, reread your claim statement and then ask “why”? For example, “Abortion should be illegal in all fifty U.S. states.”  Why? Because . . . .  Now, think of three reasons to answer “why.”  Those three reasons will the topic sentences of your body paragraphs.

Each reason or piece of evidence usually consists of a general statement backed up with specific details or examples. For our essay, present three reasons to support your claim and devote one paragraph per reason. Use emphatic order, saving the most powerful reason for last. You want to leave your reader with your most persuasive point. Also, remember to use logos to persuade, but don’t forget pathos or your paper will be dry.

  • Objections and responses (sixth paragraph): In this paragraph, choose your opponent’s strongest argument. State the argument in the first sentence of paragraph six. For example, you could say, “Some people believe . . . . Then, explain the opposition’s strongest point. Next, explain why this view is wrong using the evidence from your research. This shows that you are an ethical and fair writer who has considered both sides of the issue. The “refutation” appears in its own paragraph immediately before the concluding paragraph.


  • Concluding paragraph (seventh paragraph) reminds the reader of your claim by restating your claim in the first sentence of the conclusion. Then, end the essay logically and gracefully—never abruptly. Use one of the suggestions in the handout that I gave you at the beginning of the semester.

















ENGL 1113: Documented Argument Checklist

Student Name (Printed):____________________________Student Name (Signature):_____________________________


Objective: Please use the following checklist to insure that your paper is an organized, coherent, and unified documented argument.


Introductory paragraph:

Does the introduction grab the reader’s attention?_______

Is there a clear claim statement?_______

Is the claim statement located as the last sentence of the introductory paragraph?______

The claim statement should not be a statement not a quotation or a question. ______

Background paragraph:

Is the topic explained in the background paragraph?_____

Body paragraphs 3-5:

Does the first sentence in each body paragraph contain a CLEAR topic?_____

The first sentence of each paragraph should not be a quotation or a question. ______

Is the first sentence of each paragraph a valid reason that persuades the audience?______

Does credible evidence (details/research) support the reason given in each paragraph?_____

Refutation paragraph:

Is there a refutation paragraph?______

Is the opposition’s strongest point introduced in the first (topic) sentence?_____

Is the opposition’s point refuted with credible evidence?_____

Concluding paragraph:

Is the claim statement rephrased in the first sentence of the conclusion?______

Does the writer conclude gracefully?______

Citation Rules of the Modern Language Association:

Is the paper in correct MLA format?_____

Are all quotations introduced (no ghost quotations)?_____

Are quotations accurately presented and properly punctuated?_____

Are the quotations too long?_____

Are summaries included?_____

Are paraphrases included?_____

Are more paraphrases and summaries than quotations included?_____

Do the author/page parenthetical citations correspond to the works-cited page?______

Are there at least five outside references used as sources?_______

Are the Web sources credible (not .com or .net) Web sites?_____

Is there a mix of credible Web sites, peer-reviewed journals, and e-books used as sources?______

Works-cited page:

Is Works Cited typed and centered at the top of the last page?______

Is Works Cited typed on the first line of the last page?________

Is the works-cited page double‑spaced?______

Is the works-cited page in alphabetical order?_____

Is the “hanging indention” pattern observed for the supporting lines of each entry?_____

Is the works-cited page in the same size and font as the rest of the paper?_____

Does the pagination (with writer’s last name and page number) continue on the last page?_____


Is the paper written in third person?_____

Does the grammar reflect college‑level writing?______

Is the paper free f

rom any other marks?________

Is the paper printed in black ink?_________

Is the paper free from hand-written corrections?________




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