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Planning Your Researched Argument. Choosing a Topic . Avoid hot-button issues: Abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage Avoid tired topics: Violence in video games, Marijuana legalization, Animal experimentation Choose something local?

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choosing a topic
Choosing a Topic
  • Avoid hot-button issues:
    • Abortion, immigration, same-sex marriage
  • Avoid tired topics:
    • Violence in video games, Marijuana legalization, Animal experimentation
  • Choose something local?
    • Feral cats on campus? Astrodome? Football conference restructuring? Tuition increases?
  • Choose something timely?
    • Texting while driving, avoiding government shutdowns, payments to travelers stuck on tarmac
choosing a topic1
Choosing a Topic
  • Choose a topic a reasonable person might argue against.
  • Choose a topic that has several different lines of argument.
  • Choose something from your major?
  • Choose some aspect of your literature review to argue? (Remember, you must write something new.)
  • Choose something that’s NOT personal.
sample argumentative topics
Sample Argumentative Topics
  • Texting while driving should be illegal. (Who would enforce? Punishment?)
  • Zoos are internment camps for animals and should be shut down.
  • People who contribute to Social Security should have the right to choose how their money is invested.
  • College athletes should be exempted from regular class-attendance policies.
  • To encourage healthy eating, higher taxes should be imposed on soft drinks and junk food.
  • Financial incentives should be offered to high school students who perform well on standardized tests.
  • Are cell phones dangerous?
  • Are school uniforms a good or bad idea?
  • Should elderly drivers be required to retake the drivers test after a certain age to ensure they are still in good condition to drive! If so, at what age?
  • What role, if any, should the federal government take in dealing with the problem of homelessness?
  • Should high schools handout condoms to their students to prevent teen pregnancy and STDs?
  • Is hunting good for the environment?
  • Will a border fence solve the immigration problem? Should the U.S. create a visitor work program? ( A better way to address immigration.)
  • Should parents limit the use of social media by teenagers?
  • Are beauty contests a good thing for young girls?
  • Should schools continue to spend money on fine arts? Should college courses prepare students to enter the workforce?
  • A student organization should be formed to rescue and care for the feral cats on campus.
  • Professional baseball players convicted of using performance-enhancing drugs should not be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame.
  • Is the death penalty an effective deterrent of crime?
  • Do colleges put too much stock in standardized test scores?
  • Should men get paternity leave from work? Should women get more than six weeks?
  • Is Drone warfare ethical?
ethos pathos logos
Ethos, Pathos, Logos
  • Ethos: credentials of your experts (not you!)
    • Leave yourself out of it!
  • Pathos: use a personal story (but not your own!)
    • Case study, a less-academic source?
    • A realistic hypothetical situation?
    • Give a face to the issue
  • Logos: show how history is on your side, give statistics, trends, explain research and studies
  • You may choose ONE non-academic source to support your claims. (Pathos?)
  • This source must still come from a credited news outlet. NOT someone’s random blog.
  • The remainder of your sources must come from the library databases. Try:
    • Academic Search Complete
    • JSTOR
    • First Search
    • Project Muse
next time
Next Time
  • Come to class next week with your narrowed topic, two or three sub-points, and your counter-argument.