For the Instructor

Chapter 7: Making Your Own Argument

For the Instructor

Part II of this textbook leads your students through the second half of the semester as they build their final essay. We have found it essential to stress that while the focus of the assignment shifts from analyzing someone else’s argument to the students building their own arguments, the mechanics learned in Part I are the same as the mechanics in Part II. In our experience, students often  repeat the assignment from Part I in their work for Part II and will need clarification and discussion in the shifts in purpose and scope that the assignment asks.

Just like the close reading in Part I, it would be useful for your students to come into class with some work already done. Create your essay prompts and give them to the students before they come to class this week. We’ve generated some sample prompts as part of the Introduction to Part II of this textbook if you would like some examples.

We recommend having your students come to class having read the chapter, chosen a prompt and having done a close reading of their prompt (which you could also check as homework). Additionally, if you have them think about, if not choose, what their central document will be, you could do some of the activities outlined in the chapter with their chosen central document.

In Class

As these are the first steps of the final project for the course, you will likely want to go over the assignment guidelines and the prompts with your class.

As well, we recommend doing a number of the activities that are done within this chapter in class with your students and their specific central documents. In particular, you may want to spend time reaffirming what a short, focused central document is and helping them find one and then write a paragraph explaining why they have chosen it. Once you do that, have them do a close reading of that document, stressing that their two pieces of evidence must be specific. The A-level example used here is useful as a guide but using your students’ work as a model is also effective.

It would be ideal if your students could create a draft of the two-storey thesis and share it with a partner by the end of the class. This will also allow the students to begin thinking about and working on finding and using scholarly research in the coming weeks.

In our sections of the course, this is also the time when we plan to, within the next few weeks, take the students to the library to do some research with a professional librarian.  As such, having the students complete a first draft of their two-storey thesis in class will allow them to answer some of the questions from the end of this chapter for themselves which will then make their research more focused and relevant. If you have time, have the students answer the questions in class to prepare to begin moving into undertaking scholarly research:

  • What words or phrases in my thesis might need further scholarly definitions?
  • What types of statistics might be useful to support my argument?
  • What discipline am I writing within? Who are the experts within that discipline?
  • Are there other terms or words that might be useful search terms when looking for scholarly research about my argument?