Rebuttal Argument Essay


Project: Rebuttal Argument Essay Pages: At least 2 full pages, double-spaced, in MLA format with a Works Cited Sources: 1 source in addition to the letter/editorial you’re rebutting For Project 3, you will write a Rebuttal Argument — an essay that requires you to either refute or counterargue against another’s argument. Rebuttal Arguments There are two ways to argue against another’s position: by pointing out the weaknesses in another’s argument (refutation), or by emphasizing the strengths of your own argument by bringing up points the other writer didn’t consider (counterargument). A refutation involves identifying the points another writer has made and directly refuting (pointing out the weaknesses of) each one. A successful refutation, therefore, will organize itself around the main points of the other argument. You might, for example, demonstrate where fallacies exist in the other’s argument, or point out areas in the argument where evidence is lacking. A counterargument, on the other hand, will bring up points the other has not considered. Since your goal with counterargument is to make the other writer’s case pale in comparison to yours, you may or may not address all the points the other writer has brought up. Instead, you’ll emphasize the positives of your own argument with new and different points. These points need to be strong enough, however, to balance or exceed the potency of the other writer’s points. It’s typical to include elements of both refutation and counterargument in a good rebuttal argument. Your Assignment Visit the online opinion section of Lincoln’s Journal Star newspaper at (Links to an external site.). You will see the option to read columnists, editorials, or letters to the editor. Your mission will be to write a rebuttal to the argument made in one of these columns, editorials, or letters. You are not required to submit your rebuttal to the Journal Star, but I encourage you to consider the possibility! The editorials and letters tend to address issues of local (city and statewide) concerns, while the columns focus more on matters of national importance. Scroll through the list and find an issue that engages you; because you’ll be constructing a rebuttal, it’s logical (but not necessary) to choose a letter or editorial that has a claim with which you disagree. The letter or editorial you choose does not need to be a recent one; the only requirement is that your chosen argument have enough substance (at least three major points) to support its claim. Most editorials and columns will be substantial enough to meet this requirement; keep this requirement in mind if you choose a letter, however. Once you’ve chosen a letter or editorial, follow these steps for writing your rebuttal argument essay. Write a claim that argues against the argument of the letter, column, or editorial. Be assertive! You don’t need to disagree with all components of the writer’s argument, but you should be able to disagree with its major tenets. Identify the main points of the other’s argument and examine them for weaknesses that you can refute. Look critically at the reasoning used by the other writer. Are the facts accurate and current? Are statistics interpreted reasonably? If the author uses quotes, are the quotes’ sources reliable? Do the quotes seem to be represented fairly or taken out of context? Does the writer make assumptions that might be biased, inaccurate, or otherwise flawed? Does the author use a tone that indicates a reasonable examination of the situation from both sides, or is name-calling or other ineffective tactics present? Does the writer have enough credible evidence to support the points made? Can you prove the writer wrong? Consider what points the writer has NOT made that you might use for counterarguments. What points has the writer ignored or greatly downplayed that you could raise to support your argument? What different sources could you use to reject or mitigate the testimony raised by the writer’s sources? Draft your rebuttal essay. Start with a reference to the other writer’s argument with the title and author’s name and the date of publication. Give the reader a brief summary of the writer’s position before moving into your own claim that rebuts the writer’s main claim. Then, move into a thorough rebuttal of the writer’s argument by refuting each of the writer’s main points and/or by raising salient points that counterargue. Use at least one source, apart from the piece you’re rebutting, to back up your claim. End with a conclusion that reaffirms your argument and questions the legitimacy of the other writer’s claim. Remember to add a Works Cited with entries for both the Journal Star piece you’re rebutting and for the source(s) you used. Your rebuttal essay draft should be at least two full pages, double-spaced, and formatted in MLA style with a Works Cited. Soon, you will submit your draft, along with a link to the original letter/column/editorial, to for peer review. Start working on this essay now.

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