What is the issue you have chosen?

As college students, some of you already know with a high degree of certainty the career path you want to follow. For others, this is not completely clear. As you begin to weigh these questions it can be helpful to get a better sense of the issues that exist within a particular profession or career path. For this essay assignment, you will research and consider a problem that exists for your career field – either one you plan to pursue, or one in which you are currently working

Your goal with this essay is to research a problem that exists in your chosen career field, inform your audience about this problem, convince the audience that the problem is worth considering, and discuss what steps the profession is taking to address the problem. For example, if you are a nursing student, you might want to discuss nursing shortages that currently exist in many parts of the country. If you are an education major, teacher burnout and turnover might be something you want to pursue. A culinary arts student might discuss the difficulty of starting a successful restaurant or catering business. The exact direction you take will depend in large part on the career field you are currently pursuing or considering.

Your essay will need to blend elements of the four types of arguments we will discuss in this class: arguments of fact (Chapter 8 in EaA), arguments of definition (Chapter 9), arguments of evaluation (Chapter 10), and causal arguments (Chapter 11). In addition, your essay must demonstrate your ability to use appropriate rhetorical strategies and rhetorical situation to make a connection between yourself as a composer, the message you are trying to convey, and the audience you are trying to reach. Your will be trying to do the following/answer the following questions in your essay:

  1. What is the issue you have chosen? Describe the issue and explain why this is an important topic for your given profession.
  2. You must establish the nature of the problem and convince your audience that the problem is real and worth their time. What would you tell people both within and outside the profession to get them to understand the nature of the problem, or even that the problem exists?
  3. What are some of the causes of this issue? What factors can lead this problem? How many people in your field does this problem affect?
  4. What are some of the methods professionals in your career field are taking right now to address this issue? Are multiple steps being taken? If so, is there one you would recommend? If so, why? Are there steps currently being taken that you think are more harm than good? If so, why is that?
  5. In your opinion, what is the best way to solve this particular problem? Why or how did you come to this opinion? If your answer to this question has changed over time, how did it change and what caused you to change your mind?

Although you will be drawing heavily from research materials to write this essay (and submitting annotated notes to me as part of the Annotated Bibliography Assignment for this class), you want to be sure that the essay reads like your own work. Use your research materials as a way of supporting your ideas, not the other way around. Be strategic with the quotes, summaries, and/or paraphrases you use. Don’t just drop long quotes into your essay for the sake of padding space. If you quote/summarize/paraphrase something, explain how or why that information matters. Use appropriate signal language and synthesis language to make clear how you see your research materials related to the topic, to the overall argument you are making, and to each other.

I will be looking for a continued focus on critical thinking and analytical skills in this essay, as well as more sophisticated argumentation and analysis. Treat this assignment and the topic seriously, as if you are preparing this information for someone who may be able to help solve the problem, even if they are not fully aware of how or why the problem came into being.

Requirements for the Professional problem essay:

All formal essays for this class, including this one, must follow MLA-style formatting guidelines. This includes 1-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, a title (something more catchy or interesting than Analysis Essay or Formal Essay #1), your last name and page number in the right heading of each page and an MLA header with your name, the professor’s name, the course title and the due date in the top left corner of the first page.

The Argument Essay should be no less than four (4) full pages. As with your Rhetorical Analysis Essay, I am happy to read more than this – in fact, I encourage you to reach beyond this length requirement – but anything less than four pages will not receive a passing grade. You must also include a Works Cited page with correctly formatted bibliographic listings, and proper quote conventions within the body of your essay.

Your essay should be written in a formal, academic tone. Strive to achieve a detached, neutral, third-person perspective; first-person “me” and “I” statements have no place in this essay.

You will write two drafts of this essay: a First Draft and a Final Draft. As you write the Final Draft you should strive not just to “correct errors,” but to understand how your own writing functions and work to make revisions that reflect a deeper understanding of the task, your writing skill, and a larger understanding of your writing process.

Requirements for annotated bibliography:

  • A correct MLA bibliographic citation for EACH SOURCE (as would appear on a works cited page in a formal essay).
  • A brief 3-4 sentence summary of the source, including the thesis and conclusions the author draws. I do mean BRIEF here: summaries are what the source is about or what the author attempts to communicate in the writing, but do not contain a lot of specific details.
  • An evaluation paragraph of 5-8 sentences that indicate the value this source might have – or not have, as the case might be – to one of your formal essay assignments, and why. How do you see the source helping you in one of your formal essay projects? If you ultimately determine the essay is not helpful, what about the source is not useful? To put it another way, think of this paragraph as an extension of the Rhetorical Analysis essay earlier this semester, think of this paragraph as attempting to answer the “why” and “how” of the source.
  • Identify and provide three quotes from the text that you feel may be useful, either to help substantiate a point you are trying to make in one of your essay projects or that you think could be used to help build a counter argument/claim. Be selective with your quotes.

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