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Directions for developing the Rogerian argument Essay

Exercise 1: Establish your position on the issue selected in class and find an authoritative article or report that you think will add strength to your argument. As you develop your claim, you must also look for support for your point of view from the Tallahassee Community College library databases.

NOTE: Your ID card must be activated by the Reference Desk, if you are to access sources required for this assignment.

In addition, identify the assumptions your audience must have if you are to be persuasive. For example, the most pressing assumption for one point of view about gun control is the belief that people have a right to protect themselves.

Exercise 1 also requires that you look at the alternative argument, the argument of those who disagree with your position. Look at reading selections in the textbook and TCC databases that support this alternative point of view.

So, in Exercise 1, you will use an MLA heading to submit:
A sentence stating the wording of your position and the wording of an alternative position Assumptions that must be held by people who would agree with the first position and assumptions held by those who would disagree with it. An annotated bibliography of textbook and TCC database support for your position and textbook and TCC database support for the alternative position

Exercise 1 is worth 40 points and is due April 9

Exercise 2: Now comes the fun part: I think the process for finding common ground, or shared values, is the most challenging aspect of the Rogerian argument. The procedure is to look at both sides of the issue in hopes of finding some sort of common ground. So begin by identifying values of one side that could be shared by the other.

Here’s an example:
Proponents claim that Twitter is beneficial for several reasons. Opponents claim that twitter is not beneficial for several reasons. Proponents clearly see benefits of news, and staying connected socially and business wise, and opponents share those values: marriage, love and commitment in the eyes of the law. Both sides would probably add that freedom to marry is important, and both sides would say that family values are important. These positions are the basis for common (shared values) ground between the two sides. The debate comes from the interpretation of those values. Now, let’s get back to the exercise. For this step, find at least one value that could be shared by both sides and submit those values as Exercise 2.

So, in Exercise 2, you will use MLA heading to submit:
One value shared by both the opponents and proponents of your argument, and A stated reason why you believe both sides share this value

Exercise 2 is worth 40 points and is due by April 11

When you have identified common ground between the two sides, you are ready to create the consensus, a compromise statement that both sides might accept. Remember there are always those who may argue until the end of time. Your consensus is an agreement that reasonably would be acceptable to both sides. This should be a natural step after you have identified common ground. A warning here should note that many students spend a lot of time on developing the issues, but very little time on explaining the common ground between the two sides, and practically no time on justifying a consensus. All three steps are important. Generally speaking, the consensus is the most important step because it becomes the claim of your Rogerian argument and it usually emerges at the end of your essay, many times in the conclusion portion of the essay.

You are not bound to this organization, but it may help you plan your essay. If you’re wondering about an example of a consensus statement, let’s go back to the same-sex marriage issue. After going through the Rogerian process, a consensus might be that a civil union of same sexes might be allowed, but not be called marriage. In each consensus, you must explain how both sides might agree with the statement because of values they share. Since both sides of the same-sex marriage argument value the legality of marriage and commitment, some legal aspect must be in the consensus as well as commitment.

To prepare for writing your Rogerian argument, refer to your textbook, which explains the major components of a Rogerian argument in Chapter 4 and an exercise in Chapter 7 on pages 501 and 502 which should guide you through the process. You will not be working in groups, as the discussion suggests, but the process remains the same whether you or a group are the writers.

Your textbook is an excellent guide in organizing your work.

This assignment should make sense if you follow these steps:

Read about the issue chosen for this argument process
Create a rhetorical question that represents your issue, as you see it Summarize your position
Summarize an alternative position
Find support through research for your position and the alternative position Identify the assumptions and fallacies involved in each position’s claims Identify and explain common ground, which are values that advocates of both positions indicate that they share, and Form a consensus – a statement of agreement – between the two positions.

One idea I hope you consider is to create a title for your Rogerian argument that reflects the consensus you create. By using the title as a great
influence on your argument, you may find that you are able to stay more clearly focused.

Here are more ideas for organizing your argument:

1) A beginning paragraph, that starts with an introductory sentence, which may include an inviting story that summarizes the issue you are addressing. Or begin with an introductory sentence or two, followed by a summary of the proponent’s point of view, a summary of the opponent’s point of view, and the issue stated as a question that may be investigated with objectivity.

For example, assume that you are developing an argument about paddling children as a form of discipline in schools. You might begin with a story about Susie coming home with little welts on her legs and some mumbled words about chewing gum in class. Susie’s mother questions the benefit of corporal punishment. You might then explain that some education professionals find corporal punishment an effective way to stop gum-chewing in class, while others say that corporal punishment merely teaches children that hitting is a way to get a message across. Then you might end your introductory paragraph with a question: When searching for the best approach to childhood discipline, is it better to beat, or not to beat? By raising a rhetorical question, you have now establish the discussion that is about to follow in your essay.

The elements of this process are:
An anecdotal beginning
A summary of the issue
A statement of the proponent’s point of view
A statement of the opponent’s point of view
A rhetorical question that establishes the argument.

2) A section developing the support for your issue (this will be your proponent’s argument with minor revisions)

3) A section developing the opposition (this will be your opponent’s argument
with minor revisions)

4) A section searching for common ground (this section includes a summary of the most important points from both sides of the argument; it also includes the values which the two sides might share. Sometimes the common ground is a qualification of a statement made on either side. For instance, in Susie’s situation, both sides might agree that corporal punishment should not be used on little girls for chewing gum. There might be other occasions when corporal punishment might be used by some teaching professionals.

In other cases, common ground might be an entirely new approach to a problem that shows a compromise between the opposing views. Again, in Susie’s case, maybe all sides could agree that corporal punishment could remain in schools as long as parents are involved in the decision-making about the child’s punishment.

5) A section which develops a consensus between the two sides. The consensus becomes the claim of your Rogerian argument and also may serve as the conclusion. For corporal punishment, our consensus might include a review of all the reasons why a reasonable agreement would be that corporal punishment may be one option for maintaining order in an elementary school, depending on the situation which calls for punishment, and only when parents are directly involved in the punishing decisions.

Points are awarded for your typed first draft that should be so well done that it is ready to be turned in for a grade. You will bring your draft to class for 20 points on April 16.
Before you submit your work in class, I encourage you to find someone to read your argument and give you feedback. If your reader is your mother, remember she might simply praise you rather than help. Some mothers are like that. This draft should be not more than three pages long, typed, and written according to MLA style. You must have parenthetical documentation in the body of your essay, and you must have a Works Cited page showing the sources of the information you have used in your argument with annotation of those sources under the citation.

Final Draft: After you receive your comments from the in-class edit, you are ready to revise your draft for the final draft. You do not have to abide by the comments made by your editing partner, but you should be diligent in polishing your work. When you have revised your first draft, put your final draft in the folder so that it will be the first document I see when I open your folder to grade your work.

This final draft, edited draft, Step 1 and Step 2 are due in class in a folder on April 18.

The final draft is worth 150 points

Failure to use correct MLA in all drafts will lower your grade significantly Failure to use standard English will lower your grade significantly

TOTAL POINTS, including exercises – 250 points

Here is the rubric I will use to evaluate your work:

Rogerian Argument Rubric

Introduces the issue to the reader in a neutral manner. Offers adequate background enabling the reader to understand the origin and importance of the issue. Focuses the issue as a succinct and clear statement or question.

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

Presentation of Opposing Perspectives
Presents opposing sides of the issue in a balanced and objective tone that avoids biased language. Shows the student exploring opposing perspectives in thoughtful and distinctive ways, including details from texts and, as appropriate, references to personal experiences and observations. Points out the evidence and appeals commonly found in these argumentative positions.

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

Finding the Middle Ground
Presents a concise synopsis of the main points of both sides of the argument and introduces reasons for common ground between opposing points of view. Offers a compromise to the two conflicting positions. Articulates and advocates a specific and engaging middle-ground position.

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

-Uses paragraphs to demonstrate the ability to develop topics and connect ideas in a unified and logical fashion. -Includes transitions to create coherence between and within paragraphs.

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

Presentation and Style
-Presentation of the essay, including its format and MLA documentation, point of view, and tone, is appropriate to the writing context. -The essay demonstrates fresh and precise diction and sophisticated sentence style.

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

Grammar and mechanics:
-Errors in spelling, grammar, or mechanics are minimal and minor. The reader is not distracted by writing errors. [Note: Frequent or serious errors will lower an essay’s overall grade to below a C.]

Excellent Strong Competent Minimally Adequate Inadequate

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