The Assignment:

Please peruse a recent (less than six months old) news article from a newspaper, magazine, journal, or the Internet. Find a topic that is controversial – There need to be two distinct perspectives/sides to the issue for it to be considered controversial.

Please submit a copy of the article, or a link to it, and submit it along with your essay so that I may read it. For this essay, you must provide a Works Cited page and list your original article, at least. Of course, you are encouraged to use more than one outside source to help support your point of view.


  1. Your first option is to take the issue you have chosen and briefly discuss it from both sides of the argument. That is, you will write a brief paper for the “pro” or positive side and another, completely separate, brief paper for the “con” or negative side of the issue. The papers must focus on the same article/issue and should be considered two separate papers. Each will need a Works Cited page but you only have to provide one copy of the original article.
  1. Your second option is to take the issue you have chosen and discuss it in greater depth. This discussion will be to prove only one side of the argument. This paper will require a Works Cited page and, because you will go into greater detail, it is expected that you will provide more than one outside source to help support your opinion. Again, please attach a copy of the original article with your essay.

Some things to think about:

  1. Although you are stating an opinion and trying to prove that your opinion is correct, this is not merely an opinion paper. You must support your overall opinion (your thesis statement) with an abundance of proofs (details, examples, explanations, quotations, references to authorities, facts, and numbers/statistics).
  2. All good arguments must contain a refutation of the counterargument. You simply cannot be convincing unless you can examine your opponent’s position and disprove it (take it apart and show how it is wrong and yours is right).
  1. Some general tips. Your essay should have the following characteristics:
  1. Formatting: It should follow MLA formatting.
  2. Grammar: It should have few if any errors in grammar, mechanics, usage, or punctuation.
  3. Organization: It should be clear and easy to read, with a clear thesis statement, clear topic sentences, and well-organized paragraphs.
  4. Content: It should have something significant to say, and your ideas should be abundantly supported.
  5. Style: It should show your voice as a writer and should be recognizable as such. That is, this paper should show how you write papers, your voice, your perspective; it should be uniquely yours. Although other people could write about the same topic, no one can do it just like you!


All papers must have the following characteristics:

1) Double-spaced

2) Use a sans-serif font such as Ariel or Helvetica

3) 12 point height (neither less nor more)

4) Follow consistent MLA formatting

5) Length: Two-paper option – each paper will be two or more pages long. One-paper option – this paper will be four or more pages long. Please submit them as one file if possible.

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