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Now we are going to push our ideas of truth a bit further


Now we are going to push our ideas of truth a bit further. Can we look at information objectively, being careful to maintain neutrality, to help ourselves and perhaps our readers to see a more universal truth than seems possible in the polarized reality of our current world?

When most of us think of argument, we think about winners of arguments and losers of arguments. Arguments can be strong and forceful. An Aristotelian or classical argument is a strong, a “this is my assertion and here’s why I am right” kind of argument. But that kind of argument isn’t going to work in all situations. When your audience is a really difficult one in the sense that you know your audience isn’t going to completely agree with one side or the other of the issue, it can be a good idea to try to find a middle ground. 

Based on the work of psychologist Carl Rogers , a Rogerian argument focuses on finding a middle ground between the two sides and the audience. This type of argument can be extremely persuasive and can help you, as a writer, understand your own biases and how you might work to find common ground with others.

This assignment provides the opportunity for you to research and write about a controversial topic. For this assignment, you will be using the Rogerian Argument Format to respond to an issue that can be perceived to have at least two sides.  Please study the Rogerian Format closely, noticing how the format differs from the formats we have been using previously for this class.  For this essay, you will use the Points of View Reference and Opposing Viewpoints in Context databases from Trident Technical College’s Library Resources to find your topic and to research support this essay.  To avoid too much repetition of topics, please confirm approval of your topic with me before you begin your research. 

There is a link to the Library Resources at the top of your TTC home page.  Once in the Library Resources page, go to Databases by Subject. Choose the Points of View Reference or Opposing Viewpoints in Context database to begin exploring for a topic that interests you. The Points of View Reference is helpful in that it lets your find the two opposing sides of a topic more clearly than the Opposing Viewpoints in Context database, but both databases have good information. When you find a topic, send me an email or tell me before class to get approval for your topic. You can access the databases off campus by using your D2L login.  You will also need your Student ID Number to access some information. You can find your ID number on your Navigate profile.

Here is a summary of the basic strategy for a Rogerian argument:

  1. In your essay, first, introduce the problem.
  2. Present one side of the issue. This may take more than one paragraph. Support this side without bias.
  3. Next, you should carefully present the other side of the issue in a way that does not dismiss the other side. This may also take more than one paragraph.
  4. You should then work to bring the two sides together. Your thesis will appear in this section of the essay. Help your audience see the benefits of the middle ground. Make your proposal for the middle ground here, and be sure to use an even, respectful tone. This should be a key focus of your essay and may take more than one paragraph.
  5. Finally, in your conclusion, remind your audience of the balanced perspective you have presented and make it clear how both sides benefit when they meet in the middle.

While your thesis sentence will appear later in the essay than our previous essays, this placement does not diminish the necessity of a clear thesis statement and topic sentences for this essay.

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