Chat with us, powered by LiveChat Task: Write an academic position paper that intervenes in the debate about community that we examined in Unit 2. - Tutorie

Task: Write an academic position paper that intervenes in the debate about community that we examined in Unit 2.

Task: Write an academic position paper that intervenes in the debate about community that we examined in Unit 2. To do so, you’ll need to take into account your own conclusions from your Debate Analysis Annotated Bibliography. Given the debate you’ve analyzed, what kind of argument should you primarily make (e.g., conjecture, definition, quality, or policy), and for which particular audience should you make that argument? While the conclusion you produced for the Unit 2 Annotated Bibliography tells you where you need to begin, much of the work in writing this academic position paper will involve fleshing out that argument. To do so, you’ll need to do two things:

  1. Invent or come up with a combination of persuasive appeals to logos, ethos, and pathos that are appropriate for your intended audience (see RC chapters 8 & 10). To do this, you’ll need to think carefully about your audience’s values, beliefs, and assumptions and attempt to find common ground. What values, beliefs, and assumptions do you hold in common with your audience?
  2. Find and cite evidence in support of your particular argument, and frame that evidence in ways that are appropriate for your rhetorical situation (see RC chapter 9).

Goals: By working on this project, you will

  • Conduct research in the library databases
  • Evaluate research for reliability (is it trustworthy?) and relevance (is it suitable to your topic?)
  • Draw on research to form your views and present those views to an academic audience
  • Develop a research question and write a proposal
  • Organize your sources into a Works Cited (MLA format)
  • Quote and paraphrase from sources to support your argument
  • Deploy the three rhetorical appeals to persuade your chosen audience

Process. You’ll choose your own community-related topic for this project and work largely independently, though we’ll talk about and practice the steps together in class. The steps we’ll follow are below:

  • Brainstorm possible topics for your research. You will draw on your analysis of the kinds of arguments from the previous projects for this step. If your analysis revealed that most writers agree on the level of conjecture and definition but disagree about quality, then you will intervene at the level of quality. If your analysis revealed that the main disagreement is about policy, then you will intervene at the level of policy. What questions or subjects seem worth pursuing, related to that kind of argument?
  • Write a research question and a proposal. You will do the best research if you know what you’re researching before you start (rather than randomly poking around the databases). The research question and proposal will help you determine answers to the following questions: 1) what specific angle or area of the topic are you interested in learning more about? What else do you need to know about it? What do you already know? 2) Who is your audience? What position do they hold on the subject, if any? 3) What rhetorical appeals (logos, pathos, ethos) may work? How so?
  • Unlike the Unit 1 and 2 writing assignments, this academic position paper requires that you do some additional research. You will need to find at least three relevant and credible sources through your own library research and use them to support your argument. Locate sources in the library databases, read them, and save material from them. We encourage you to save material using a tool such as Power Notes (which can help you track quotations in particular) and/or Zotero (which can generate citations for you). You will need a minimum of three sources from the library databases for this project. If you would like to add an additional source (from a Google search, for instance, or one of the works from our readings about community this semester), you may do so, but be sure to check any Google-based source’s validity with me.
  • Using the sources you’ve found, decide on a claim and supporting points for your project. Choose relevant quotations.
  • Draft your project and get feedback. You will get feedback from classmates along with your instructor, and you can also visit the Herbert Writing Center.
  • Revise your project and submit.


  • This is your chance to express your own views! However, your views should be based on research. I encourage you to start with the research question, then use the research to form your conclusions about your subject and the points you make in the paper; don’t retrofit the research to your preexisting points, which results in a confusing and unpersuasive project.
  • The narrower your topic and your audience, the better. It’s tempting to write about a big, broad topic but narrowing it will help you find more relevant sources and speak in more detail about your work. So for instance, instead of “communities on campus” you could write about “the role of fraternities and sororities in forming on-campus community” or “communities that help with academic achievement” –– or even, “[community x] and academic achievement.” USE YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE AND YOUR INTEREST IN YOUR PERSONAL COMMUNITIES TO GUIDE YOUR CHOICE.
  • Track your sources as you go. Read your sources as you go. You don’t want to collect your sources, decides on your points, write the paper –– and then actually read the sources and find out that they contradict the points you make in the paper or don’t relate. By reading your sources as you go and pulling out relevant quotations as you go, you will save time and energy writing (or rewriting) your project.


  • 3 pages, typed and double-spaced (about 1000 words).
  • Works Cited at the end, using MLA formatting, and appropriate in-text citations.
  • At least three sources from UTK databases; you may add ONE source from the open internet or from our course readings, but this is optional.
  • The works that you add to your Works Cited page MUST be used in your essay, either in a direct quote or summary.

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