Position Paper

English 12 :: Position Paper

Assignment: write a Position Paper where you take a position on a topic.

You get to choose from one of three preventable problems: Obesity, or Diabetes, or Texting While Driving.

I have printed one article on each side (think: Pro & Con) of each topic. You will use those two articles, plus one that you find, to write your Position Paper.

Just do one step at a time, in order. You may work ahead if you want.

Standards & Scoring: W.7, R.I.1

Secret tips for writing your paper: Do each of the steps, in order. Make your paper look like the outline (Step Six) and you’ll be fine. Be sure you have a bibliography (Step Four) with at least three sources in it.


Wednesday, Sept 24

Step One: Choose a topic from the three options. (Just keep it in mind for now.)

Step Two: Study Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion.

  • Read the material on Logos, Ethos, Pathos. (Note the last bullet point under Ethos!)
  • Have a group or class discussion to check for understanding. Is there any part that you need clarified? What other examples can you think of/create to help explain Logos, Ethos, Pathos.
  • Complete the activity and turn it in:

Turn in – Activity: Now that you have studied the Three Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion, you get to apply that knowledge.

  • Choose one set of articles for the topic you chose. I have printed some copies of each set of articles. If you need to look them up online, here are the titles:
    • “The Health Risks of Obesity Have Been Exaggerated” -vs- “Obesity Poses a Serious Health Problem”
    • “Cell Phone Use is a Danger to Others”, “States Should Try to Curb Teen Texting and Driving”, -vs- “Cell Phone Use While Driving May Not Always Pose a Danger”
    • “A Curse of Diabetes Becomes a Blessing” -vs- “The Culture War On Diabetes”
  •  Complete these four tasks for both articles. Turn in this assignment now, and again with your completed position paper:
  1. IDENTIFY the Purpose and Mode of your the article. (Use the handout on MODE from earlier.) Provide specific evidence, i.e.: give a quote.
  2. List the major points the authors make to support their claim. Summarize, don’t quote.
  3. The author utilized logos, pathos, or ethos. Give at least one example (a quote or summary of a point) for each form of persuasive appeal the author used.
  4. Is the evidence accurate and useful? Explain why or why not, using examples from the article.

Thursday, Sept 25

Step Three: Find one more article, that you will properly cite, on the topic you have chosen (Obesity or Diabetes or Texting While Driving). You will have to skim many articles to find the one that best suits your purpose. Save it or print it out. Use Gale Databases. (Secondary access to Gale.)

Step Four: Make a bibliography page. (Guidelines with examples. Sample)


Friday, Sept 26

Step Five: Make a Mind-map.

Step Six: Write your first draft, following the outline. Requirements:

  • Can be typed or handwritten
  • Uses MLA format for: header, heading, title, line-spacing, margins. (See poster at front of room, or look up the MLA guidelines)
  • Follows the outline
  • Uses in-text citations, properly formatted
  • Includes a properly-formatted bibliography page

Monday, Sept 29

(continue Step Six)


Tuesday, Sept 30

Step Seven: Give and receive Peer Feedback.

Step Eight: Write a second (or more!) draft.


Wednesday, Oct 1

(continue Step Eight)


Thursday, Oct 2

Step Nine: Submit your completed paper! Submit these, neatly attached to each other:

  • Your Rough draft
  • Your 2nd (and any additional drafts)
  • Your Bibliography page
  • Mind-map
  • The four tasks for two articles
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