Skip to Main Content

Scaffold the Argument Paper: What is an Argument?

A series of assignments that will guide students through the process of research and writing

Best Practices and Guidelines

Best Practices and Guidelines

Some students have not written an argument paper before and need help understanding the purpose of this type of research paper. The following documents can be shared with students and may help them understand not only the purpose of an argumentative paper but also how to develop and structure an argument. 

Possible Assignment

Close Reading of "Culture of Contempt"

Ask students to read "The Culture of Contempt" from the FYS Anthology and to review the information in some of the links above on how to write an argument paper, paying particular attention to the Higher Order Concerns link.

Each student should submit to Blackboard:

Students should identify the argument of the "Culture of Contempt" essay, writing a one or two-sentence explanation or summary in their own words of what the paper is about. Students should analyze the paper by looking for the Higher Order Concerns (or using one of the guidelines for best practices linked above of their choice) and how well the author developed the argument and come to class ready to discuss. 

Critical Thinking Activity

Opposing Arguments

Give students an opportunity to practice listening to multiple perspectives, taking into consideration the opposing arguments of a topic. Divide the class into two groups. Using one sample topic, have one side of the room take one position and the other side take the opposing position. Give them about 15 minutes to look for evidence to support their position, and then share with the class. Write the opposing points on the board to demonstrate the complex nature of most controversial topics. 

*Use a non-controversial topic such as, "Should electric scooters be banned in Nashville?" or use the Opposing Viewpoints database to help select a sample topic.