Using a pattern of refutation, including acknowledgment, accommodation, and refutation, write a short essay of about five double-spaced pages (inclusive of a scrupulously designed MLA style Works Cited page containing a minimum of five reputable sources) that systematically controverts an officiallypublished opposing argument credited to an author (or co-authors). The choice of topic is yours to decide, as long as it is current, is of real interest to you, and avoids being any of the following:
- hate-speech and anarchist manifestos;
- a cliched, boilerplate controversial issue such as abortion, recycling, death penalty, animal testing, torture, etc.);
- a contentious position about a reference source such as a Wikipedia page or a dictionary definition;
- a straw-man argument (one that’s obvious weak or falsely portrayed to be weak), such as discounting Flat Earth “theorists,” debating racism, advocating for the rights of the disabled;
- an irrelevant debate (e.g., the Roman Empire shouldn’t have conquered and colonized Britain) or an unnecessary speculative “what if” scenario (“Would the world be thrown into chaos if we discovered intelligent alien life?”).
Your topic may be political but doesn’t have to be. Also, it doesn’t have to be of general interest; rather, it can be esoteric and nerdy. It needn’t be of concern solely in the United States, either. The argument you controvert should be written by a credible author and found in a credible source such as a dissertation, an editorial or commentary, a critical blog or review, or a civil ordinance. It should not be taken from a random internet site, or a casual conversation with someone.
In fact, the language of the opposing argument will play an important role in your how you controvert its points, so you will need to quote the source verbatim and directly respond to its authors in their own words. It must also be open to research.