1. Analyze the question and your stance as the speaker. What assumptions do you need to make? If you don’t have the opportunity to research, note the assumptions (or qualifications of the issue) you are proceeding on, and plan to present them in the opening of your essay. Do you need to list any assumptions for your topic? What are they? 2. List all the pros and cons you can think of, without judging them, then choose the strongest arguments on each side, for use in your essay; combine related points if it’s appropriate pros cons 3. Identify a position. Choose not just “for” or “against,” but where on the continuum you would place your position (note it). Avoid presenting only comparisons and not taking a stand; this technique is not argument, Instead, you want to guide a reader towards accepting a certain position on an issue. strongly for—————-for—————(neutral)—————-against—————–strongly against 4. Write a thesis that reflect that position: 5. Plan the structure of your essay. Will you treat all opposition arguments first? In what order? Or will you confront opposing arguments one at a time, following each with a stronger counter-argument of your own? In what order will you proceed? For some patterns, see Behrens, WRAD, pp. 132-135. 6. Create an outline. • rough outline: spend more time on #7, less on #6 • detailed outline: spend more time on #6, less on #7 7. Write the essay draft. 8. Revise and proofread.
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