CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE ESSAY
(1) Read about the Rogerian Method (77-80).
(2) Read about writing Reports (67).
(3) Choose one of the following Controversial Issues from our textbook:

                     CHEATING                                   (5 articles, starting on page 81)
                     GAY/SAME-SEX MARRIAGE                      (6 articles, starting on page 88)
                     AFFIRMATIVE ACTION                         (5 articles, starting on page 97)

(4) Write an AYK journal on your topic.
(5) Read each essay on your topic. Perform no other research.
(6) Write a REPORT for each essay on your topic. (only 1 Report is attached below)

(7) In class, draft an ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY of these sources from the text book.
 Record the bibliographic information of the source. Follow the MLA guide in the text book for the exact
    way a “reprint” should be done. Do not forget the text book’s information.
 Immediately after the final period of the bibliographic citation, begin a paragraph in which you objectively
    summarize the article; you should have already done this on your report.
 Skip a line but maintain reverse indentation; then write a paragraph of subjective evaluation (report).
 Do this for each source. Reverse indent each source. Arrange the sources in alphabetical order.

(8) Create a “DEBIT SHEET” for the 2 sides
*As a way of avoiding the “summary of the article” mistake that will significantly lower      SIDE 1     SIDE 2
your grade, you can follow this pre-writing step that should make clearer your task of        point 1    point 1
“summarizing the Side”:                                                                       point 2    point 2
                                                                                              point 3    point 3
   Read the articles on your controversial topic.
   Next, make 2 columns on a sheet of paper, like a debit sheet.
   In one column, place the main reasons to support cheating/AA/SSM.
        o These main points or reasons are taken from the articles you have read in the book; they are the
            points the authors share or have in common.
        o True, the articles are mostly one-sided, but another article will give you the “other side” of the issue.
   In the other column, place the main reasons (gathered from the articles) not to support cheating/AA/SSM.
   Then number them, arranging the reasons in the emphatic order, saving the “best” for last.
   Later, when you are drafting your essay, discuss in the Body each point (in its own paragraph) that each
    Side has in common by naming, explaining, illustrating, and warranting:

I. SIDE #1: (transition from the thesis question)
       A. POINT #1: name, explain, illustrate, warrant
       B. POINT #2: name, explain, illustrate, warrant
       C. POINT #3: name, explain, illustrate, warrant (the “best”-- most common, most significant)

II. SIDE #2: (transition from Side #1) (this is the Side you'll say is “stronger” in your Conclusion)
       A. POINT #1: name, explain, illustrate, warrant
       B. POINT #2: name, explain, illustrate, warrant
       C. POINT #3: name, explain, illustrate, warrant (the “best”)

   Directly quote (“ ”), paraphrase, and summarize.
       o direct quote: Smith states, “...” (35)
       o paraphrase: Smith believes that…(35).
       o lead-in expression: with credentials
   AND give page # of quote or idea.
       o paraphrase: Smith suggests that … (104).
       o paraphrase: The number of gun-related deaths has risen over the years (Smith 67).
   Also, regarding lead-in expressions and parenthetical citations:
       o As a reader, I need to be able to discern your ideas vs. borrowed ideas.
       o How do you do this?
       o You must cite EACH sentence of borrowed information 
       o Use lead-in expressions to identify a source and then end that sentence with a ( ) citation. Here's an
            example of this (as well as an example of the “illustrate” and “warrant” parts of the paragraph):

             For example, Dr. Jane Smith, chairperson of the Professional Ethics Board at Brown
             University, states, “Cheaters never win” (89). Smith also suggests that “winners never cheat”
             (90). Smith's words clearly and succinctly illustrate the opponents' side of the cheating issue
             on this point: Students should not cheat because cheating sets them up for failure during the
             rest of their adult lives.

         o When you read the chapter & handouts for next week, lead-ins and parenthetical citations will be

**Whatever is not in your “All You Know” essay must be cited, for you learned it from your readings.
**Since you did not know it before, you must give credit to the originator of the idea.
                                    *WHEN IN DOUBT, CITE.*

   organize your essay utilizing the ROGERIAN METHOD
   SUMMARY of the SIDE
       o not a summary of each article
       o note the main points of the SIDE (not of the article)
            you will discuss 2 SIDES to this issue
            you will get each side’s main points from the Reports (outline, summary)
       o use quotes from the sources as EXAMPLES of the main points of the side
            (see Illustration essay from ENG 101)
            quotes = representative of that SIDE on that particular point, claim, idea
* Excluding the Reports, Annotated Bibliography, title, and Works Cited page, this essay has 4 parts:
       o Introduction               (objective)
       o Summary of Side #1         (objective)
       o Summary of Side #2         (objective)
       o Conclusion                 (subjective)
 Remain objective through the first 3 parts.
 That is, you are merely reporting on the issue at hand –
       o Imagine you are a news reporter covering a story and just relate the evidence without bias/opinion.
       o Imagine, too, that the news is actually presented without bias!
 Become subjective only in the Conclusion.
 See below for the ORGANIZATION.

       Works Cited page (Reports, Annotated Bibliography)
       documentation
       organization (including objectivity, Side #3)
       grammar
       set-up, title
      o (10-pt. scale X 2 =100)

  D. LENGTH:          3-4 pages in length

  E. DUE DATE:        ________________
I. TITLE:          This should include your topic and some reference to both sides
                                                                                        I. TITLE
of the issue. Remain objective.                                                         II. INTRODUCTION
   “Two Sides of the Abortion Issue: Pro-Life and Pro-Choice”                          III. SUMMARY of SIDE #1
                                                                                        IV. SUMMARY of SIDE #2
   “To Cheat or Not to Cheat”                                                          V. CONCLUSION
                                                                                        VI. WORKS CITED
   “The Affirmative Action Debate: A Nation Divided”

II. INTRODUCTION with your Thesis Statement:                                         Introduce the topic and

discuss the status of the situation concerning this issue. Remain objective.

   Open with one of the “GQ’S”: generalization, quote, quip, question, or statistic.

       o refer to a current event (court case, election debate), the status of the debate

       o “Affirmative Action remains a hot-button topic in America.”

       o “Instances of cheating have increased significantly in the last few years.”

       o “Last night’s televised debate between the two presidential candidates brought the issue of gay

           marriage to the forefront once again.”

   Narrow deductively towards your thesis.

       o Some, Others

       o “Some citizens argue against same-sex marriages on various grounds.”

       o “However, another faction of Americans fight for same-sex marriages.”

   Even your thesis will be objective: not arguing for a particular side but saying that both sides exist.

       o Perhaps it would be a good idea to utilize a thesis question in place of a thesis statement.

                   “Should abortions remain legal in the United States of America or should they be outlawed?”

                   “Thus, students are left with a choice: Should they cheat or should they not cheat?”

       o Mention BOTH sides of the issue.

       o Do NOT argue for one particular side (Remain objective).
III. SUMMARY of SIDE #1:                          Objectively, fairly, and fully summarize this side of the issue.

Employ quotes, paraphrases, and summaries from the essays in the book, and refer to the authors and key

personnel representative of this side.

       o attribute each point/reason to the SIDE:

                  opponents, challengers, opposition

                  proponents, advocates, supporters

                  “According to this side, ….”

                  “The opposition to affirmative action argues that ….”

                  “Another point proponents of cheating suggest involves ….”

       o each point is its own paragraph

       o employ transitions between each point (for example, for instance, furthermore, additionally)

       o arrange the points via the emphatic order

                  save the “best” (most important, significant, common) point/reason for last

       o SUMMARIZE:
            ** Summarize the sides, not the articles (which you have already done in the reports).
            for each main point/reason common to this side:

               (1) NAME the point/reason (source or your words)
                state the point
                “One reason proponents of cheating offer regards ….”
                “According to opponents of same-sex marriages, .…”

               (2) EXPLAIN the point (briefly, “in other words” or with a source)
                explain it briefly
                “That is to say”
                “In other words”

               (3) ILLUSTRATE the point (use a quote from a source to illustrate the Side’s thinking)
                illustrate it with a representative quote from an article

               (4) JUSTIFY the point/example (warrant--“thus” or “therefore”)
                justify your use of that example through a warrant statement
                “Thus” “Therefore”
                “Therefore, as this example makes clear….”
               * #1 and/or #2 can use direct quotes from the articles, if you'd like.
               * remain objective:
                     o discuss AND explain BUT offer no “conclusion”
                     o just present the facts (objective)
                     o you can characterize the causes, but do not pre-empt your Conclusion
               * When Side 1 is summarized, transition to Side #2 and do the same.

IV. SUMMARY of SIDE #2:                        This is the side that you favor, but you do not mention your

preference in the Body of the essay. Remain objective and fully report or summarize this side of the issue.

Follow the same organization as above:

   transition from Side #1 to Side #2

       o attribute each point/reason to the SIDE:

       o each point is its own paragraph

       o employ transitions between each point

       o arrange the points via the emphatic order

       o SUMMARIZE the SIDE:

                  point by point by point


   Here, you will become subjective in terms of analyzing the objective data you just presented:
       o What are the weaknesses of Side #1?
       o What are the strengths of Side #2?
               Think in terms of
                       Logos, Pathos, Ethos,
                       overgeneralizations,
                       “analyzing” done in the “Reading Tools” section
                       consult your Reports, too
               THUS: which Side has the stronger argument?
   Some of your AYK material may come in here, though it is certainly not necessary.
   What should definitely follow is some suggestion(s) for a SIDE #3:
      o a compromise, a blend of the best of both sides, a new direction
      o Side #3 is what Dr. Tannen suggests in her article “Turning Debate into Dialogue.”

                                         * PLEASE REMEMBER *:
                             st
    remain objective for the 1 3 parts:
        o you are not arguing in the Body of the paper; you are summarizing
        o relegate opinions, feelings, and interpretations to the domain of the Conclusion
   summarize the sides, not the articles
   attribute each point/reason to a Side (not to you, not to an author)
   end with a Side #3


   proper MLA format
        o esp. for works in an edited anthology:
        o text book: Discovering Arguments. Special Ed. Eds. Dean Memering and William Palmer. Boston:
           Prentice Custom, 2007. 83-85.
   reverse indentation
   alphabetical listing
   Works Cited:
        o centered
        o not Works Cited, Works Cited, Works Cited, WORKS CITED, “Works Cited”
                  REPORT on Controversial Issue Essay



4) INSIGHTS (quotable lines)


7) “WRITING SITUATION” (what prompted this essay to be written)


9) THESIS (what’s the position)(rewrite it like a thesis statement for an essay if it’s poor)

10) SUPPORT (what evidence does the author use to back up his/her thesis)

11) THE OTHER SIDE (acknowledged or ignored, fairly or unfairly portrayed, what’s the tone towards
Other Side)

12) LOGOS, PATHOS, ETHOS (note examples of persuasive appeals used in essay)



To top