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Persuasive Policy Essay

Persuasive Policy Essay

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Published by: Ben Henderson on Mar 30, 2012
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Persuasive Essay

LA101H – Ben Henderson The aim of this 5-7 page (double-spaced) essay is to draw on all the rhetorical skills you have been building in this course to write a persuasive argument that first educates the reader on the importance and scope of a significant social problem, and then advocates for a specific solution to the problem. Specifically, this essay will ask you to present, explain, and argue for the adoption of a specific policy (for example, a new law, regulation, program, or community practice) to be implemented by some collective agent of social change (for example, the student body, the university, the local community, the state, the federal government, the UN, etc.). Understand that your proposed policy might not be able to eliminate the problem you describe entirely, but it should show evidence that the policy could reduce or ameliorate it. You do not have to create a policy of your own. In fact, it is recommended that you argue for a policy that has been proposed by an individual or a group, or one that has been adopted in another community or similar situation. Conducting extensive research, quoting reliable sources, and drawing on the work or experts will improve your own credibility. Your main goals for this essay are: • To raise awareness and inform your readers about the problem. • To convince your readers that the proposed policy is feasible to implement. • To demonstrate that the policy will work. If these goals are reached, your readers should have assurance that the plan is realistic and will produce results. To keep in alignment with the proper persuasive purpose, please refrain from requesting individual action. The goal of this essay is to convince your readers that your policy is sound and best, not to persuade them to act. You’ll need to do something more complex than a traditional five paragraph essay to make this argument. Yet your paper still should have discernible structure (in addition to a strong thesis and topic sentences). One effective way to organize this essay is in terms of need, plan, and practicality/advantages.

First, explain the need for a solution by educating us on the problem at hand, specifically its severity, scope, and urgency. Consider addressing questions such as: Where is this problem happening? Who is being affected? What are the causes and effects of the problem? Organize this section of the essay logically, and support the existence of the problem with credible research. Also, consider what a general audience might already know about this. If the problem you’re addressing is very familiar, you might spend more time exploring its causes than rehashing details that everyone already knows. Next, explain the plan to solve this problem. Explain what your policy is and how it would work by addressing the method of implementation in specific terms. In other words, tell us what the policy entails, who will enact the policy, where it will be instated, and how it will be done, etc. Note the use of journalistic terms here. In order for us to be able to judge whether the policy could be effective, we first must understand its workings fully. This section should be direct and informative. Finally, deliberate on the practicality and advantages of the policy. Now that you have explained the problem and have informed us of the proposed policy, you must then convince your readers that this policy will reduce the problem and produce positive results if implemented. This section is

crucial for the success of the essay – it is here where you work to persuade us that this solution is a viable and effective one. (It’s the why to the who, what, when, and how of the previous section.) Prove that your policy can be implemented, that it will produce desired results, that it is morally just, and that it is better than the alternatives. Do so by providing supporting evidence, expert testimony, and/or successful examples of similar programs, etc. Be honest if there are disadvantages to your plan, but convince your readers that the benefits outweigh the costs. Major Requirements for the Persuasive Essay:

Essay must contain a minimum of 6 different sources, which should be cited within the text, as well as on a bibliography/works cited/sources list. Sources should be used both to substantiate the problem and to support the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed policy. Your introduction should engage your reader from the onset, and it should include a vivid thesis statement (central claim) that guides the entire essay. The thesis should be supported throughout the essay with specific (and appropriate) evidence, examples, and details. Organization should be coherent. There should be evidence of a smart and stylistic manner of transitioning between your key points, paragraphs, and sentences. Paragraphs ought to be controlled by (explicit or implicit) topic sentences, be well developed, and progress logically from what precedes them. The essay should have a memorable written voice, be filled with strong, original verbs and language choices, and have good sentence variety. Writing should be free of grammatical or proofreading errors. Please remember the guidelines for written work. Namely, type using 1 to 1.25 inch margins, use a 10 to 12 point font, and staple your pages. Include an interesting title. (“Persuasive Essay” is not an interesting title.)

I strongly suggest collaborating with others as you develop your argument, and also—only  slightly less strongly—suggest consulting with the Writing Center at any point during the  development and writing of your essay.  Of course, I’m also very happy to meet with you to  discuss ideas; I’m especially keen to meet early in the process so we can discuss argumentation.  (It’s trickier for both of us if you stop in a few hours before the paper is due and I have to tell  you that there are major problems…)

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