persuasion writing technique
The persuasion writing technique essentially requires that relevant factual support be packaged and presented in a manner to support a particular point. The stronger and more directly relevant the factual information is, the more persuasive the argument will be. In other words, it is not simply a matter of using stronger language. That will not accomplish anything other than to tell your reader that you passionately believe what you are saying, and risks exaggerating or overstating your position.
Using the persuasive writing techniques discussed and those corresponding reading in the supplemental writing texts (i.e., “Short Guide to College Writing” by Barnet [Chapter 8], and “The Craft of Research” by Booth [Chapters 7-11]), prepare an essay from a portion of your term paper.  You may either write on one of your points that will be contained in your term paper, or an overview of several points similar to an introduction and conclusion.  Be sure to include, and synthesize, your sources supporting that point or argument.  The objective is to use whatever relevant factual support for that argument to explain why your point or argument is convincing. As I mentioned, layer your strongest argument or support first, and “color” the facts or information.  That doesn’t mean make it up, but it means spin it favorably. For examples, look at the persuasion material from both writing texts as well as the persuasion writing sample (posted in the Handouts folder under Course Documents), which was discussed during the lecture.
The assignment must be at least 2 pages and not more than 4 pages (must be double-spaced, 12 point font and 1 inch margins).  As with both the summary and synthesis writing exercises, you must submit your assignment through the designated persuasion exercise folder ONLY.  ABSOLUTELY NO assignments will be accepted in any other manner, such as fax or e-mail.  Be sure to also include your name.
The term paper project consists of two parts: the topic proposal and the term paper itself. The two are interrelated, and should be viewed as a single project. Students may (and are encouraged to) consult with the instructor before and during their work on the proposal and the term paper. It is emphasized, however, that while the instructor will be pleased to generally discuss the topics, he will neither conduct the research for the students nor advise them of what to write.
The topic must relate to the course curriculum, and the proposal will explain how it does. The term paper itself will then further expand upon the topic of the proposal. Topic selection is a matter for the student, but a wise selection usually assists the student in achieving a successful paper. In past semesters, the best grades have been those that have tied a current newsworthy issue to the course syllabus, and further explored the matter in the term paper.
Students who wish to do the term paper on a topic different from the topic of the proposal must first discuss the change with the Instructor.
The function of the topic proposal is to provide direction of the research for the term paper. Essentially, it is a “stepping stone.” Extensive research for the proposal is not necessary, but will, in fact, constitute the work for the term paper. The student’s opinions may be freely expressed provided they are well-supported from documented research.
Topic Proposal Structural Specifications
The proposal must consist of two-three double-spaced pages that briefly, but completely, address the following generic proposal template:
1)   What is the general area in which your study is located?  This section requires that you locate your project with respect to a larger area of research.  While general topic areas do not, in themselves, constitute research questions, you must briefly introduce the reader to the general area in which you’ll be working.
2)   What previous work in this area has led you to your specific question?  In this section, you will set the stage for your research question.  Indicate what important problem(s) previous researchers in this area have identified, including what has been discovered or agreed upon.  Then move to what has not been successfully solved, or what gaps remain, or what questions have not been asked.
3)   What specific research question(s) do you intend to address about this topic?  In this section, you will introduce your specific question(s), making sure to include enough detail so that the reader can get a clear sense of what you want to find out.
4)   Provide a rationale for looking at your research question.  Why should we think that your questions deserve to be looked at?  Why are your questions interesting?  Who will care about the results?  This section may seem redundant with section two, but here is where you put together all the reasons, theoretical and practical, that make your question an important question to ask at this point in the history of research on your specific topic.
5)   How specifically, will you address your research question(s)?  What data will you use?  How will you get the data?  What methods of analysis will you use?  What theoretical constructs will you rely on?  What will you do first?  What will you do next, etc.?
6)   What is the potential broader significance of your proposal?  When you have answered your question, what will we know that we did not know before?  Will this enable us to ask or answer any further questions?  If so, what are they?
Topic Proposal Format
These six questions can be covered in a number of ways.  A traditional format is to start with an “Introduction/Overview” that includes a brief overview of the context for research and the research question, as well as a mention of the methods and approaches you will use.  Next is “Review of Relevant Research,” which covers question two above.  Then, you may discuss “Methodology” or “Plan of Inquiry,” in which you lay out how you will answer the questions asked.  Finally, many people include a section called “Broader Significance,” as discussed in section six. Again, please keep in mind that while there is no particular format that must be used, you need to be clear and specific enough to include the necessary information for effective evaluation.
Topic Proposal Assessment/Evaluation Rubric
The topic proposal is worth 25% of your overall term paper score, and will be reviewed and evaluated based upon the following criteria:
Propriety of topic as it relates to the course
Demonstrated comprehension of issue
Analysis of issues and synthesis of unified concepts
Adherence to assigned format and specifications
Proposals that fail to satisfactorily address any of these elements will result in the deduction of ten points for each element not satisfactorily discussed. Any proposal scoring below 60 will need to be rewritten.
Peer-Review of Topic Proposals
As part of your participation score for the course, you must read, assess, and provide feedback for two topic proposals. You will be awarded a maximum of four points for each evaluation provided your comments address each of the four elements above; three if only three elements are analyzed, two if only two are addressed, and one if only one. One point will be awarded for your replies to comments from other students concerning your proposal. As always, your posts must be netiquette compliant (see Online Conduct below) and provide meaningful, thoughtful, and constructive advice regarding improvements to the proposal, and indirectly the term paper. Be sure to use the “Quote” option when referring to specific portions of a student’s proposal. Keep in mind that your comments should be made with a view towards assisting your fellow student to achieving greater clarity and focus with regard to their proposals and papers. Your assessments must be posted as indicated on the Course Schedule (see below).
Late Submissions
Remember, both your proposal and your two peer-review critiques must be posted (as indicated on the Course Schedule). Failure to timely post your topic proposal will result in the deduction of five points per day the proposal is late (unless prior approval is sought and received by the instructor). Failure to timely post a critique will result in the deduction of one point (not per day). Proposals not submitted or submitted more than one week, late will received a zero, which will be factored as 25% of your term paper score.
The term paper is due no later than the date upon which the final exam is given (see Course Schedule below). The topic of the term paper will be based upon the topic of the proposal (unless otherwise advised by the instructor), and should reflect in-depth research on the topic. It will be graded based upon the student’s presentation, synthesis and analysis of the topic as it relates to the course and to current events, and upon the student’s demonstrated comprehension of the topic. Unlike the proposal, students may research and cite any appropriate sources, and are not constrained by the date restrictions which apply to the proposal. It is unnecessary to attach copies of the cited sources to the term paper. Proposals and Term Papers which are not timely submitted by the due dates specified in the Syllabus, or which are not in compliance with the specified requirements, will be subject to downgrading.
Term Paper Structural Specifications:
Pagination and Typograghy
All Term Papers are to be prepared using a typewriter or word processor. The main text must be double-spaced (footnotes, endnotes or Works Cited Pages may, and should, be single spaced). Pages must be numbered (except for the cover page).
The main text of the term Paper must be at least 10 pages but no more than 14 pages, not including cover sheet, exhibits or bibliography.
Organization of the term paper is a matter of broad student discretion. The well-written term paper will have a brief introduction of the topic, an in-depth analysis and explanation, and a conclusion. In other words, the term paper should have a beginning, middle and end. The body of the paper may be organized, when appropriate, into headings and subheadings. The student is responsible for presenting the ideas in a comprehensible and clear manner.
The Term Paper must reference a minimum of 15 different researched information sources (not including the course textbook of any edition, companions to the course textbook, style manuals, or dictionaries). The references must be appropriately footnoted, and or properly listed in a Bibliography at the end of the Term Paper.
Reference styles in footnotes and bibliography must substantially comply with the styles and conventions set forth in one of the approved style manuals (see below). References which comply with the style in THE BLUEBOOK: A UNIFORM SYSTEM OF CITATION (Harvard Law Review Assn., 16th ed., 1996) are also acceptable for citing court opinions, statutes, and other legal materials.
Exhibits and Illustrations
It is not necessary for the term paper to use any exhibits or illustrations. Students may use these on an optional basis if, in the student’s judgment, the use of an exhibit or illustration will significantly aid in the explanation or clarification of the text. Whenever an illustration or exhibit is copied from another researched information source, such source must be properly referenced.
At the end of the Term Paper, there should be a bibliography or similar listing of sources researched. The style manuals explain how to put together a bibliography.
Style Manuals
The approved style manuals listed below are available in the Queens College Library, Queens College Bookstore, and other libraries and bookstores. They are useful as guides for preparing the Term Paper. The form and format of Term Papers must substantially comply with the specifications of an approved style manual.
Turabian, Kate, AManual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses and Dissertations, 6th ed. (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1996).
Joseph Gibaldi and Walter S. Achtert, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 4th ed. (New York: Modern Languages Association of America, 1995).
Campbell, William Giles; Stephen Vaughan Ballou; and Carol Slade, Form and Style: Theses, Reports, Term Papers, 8th ed. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990).
Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, 4th ed. (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1994).
Covers and Jackets
A cover sheet is required, but report covers or jackets are prohibited.
Back-up Documentation
Students are well advised to retain a copy of the term paper (if word-processing is used, then making a back-up file is a simple and straightforward matter). Students should also retain their research notes and work-papers after submitting the term paper, in the event that the Professor has any questions regarding the research process used.
Note that computers have a tendency to crash, including and especially as the deadline for submitting the term paper approaches. If word-processing is used, then it is the student’s responsibility to frequently make back-up files of the work in process. A crashed computer or any other electronic or technical difficulty will not be accepted by the professor as a justification for the late submission of a term paper.
Term Paper Assessment/Evaluation Rubric
Term paperswill be graded based upon the following elements, and in accordance with the General Writing Assessment Rubric (posted separately):
Propriety and quality of topic and proposal: 25%
Demonstrated comprehension of issue: 20%
Analysis of issue and synthesis of unified concepts: 20%
Adherence to assigned format and specifications: 15%
English usage, grammar and spelling: 20%
Term papers not timely submitted by the due date specified in the syllabus, or which are not in strict compliance with all specified requirements, such as electronic submission to the appropriate Blackboard SafeAssign folder, will receive a zero. In addition to proper electronic submission as indicated, student must also provide the instructor with a hard copy at the final examination. NO late submissions will be accepted for any reason.
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