Why some people don’t know basic history and how to fix it


Your grade for the final revision of this essay will be reduced by ten points if you fail to bring in copies of the draft and participate in the in-class workshop

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Topic: A problem that is relevant to your major or about which you have a significant concern


Purpose:   A proposal argument in which you argue in favor of a specific solution to the problem, ideally a solution that has not been proposed in the past. See Chapter 12.


Audience: An audience comprised of people who may be opposed to the proposal you are making and who have the power to decide if your solution is funded and/or enacted


Style:         Appropriate for an academic audience; all sources must be cited using Modern Language Association or American Psychological Association guidelines.


Description: The first step in this project is to identify your topic: a problem that is relevant to your major or a problem about which you have a significant concern. Since you will do a lot of reading about the topic, pick something that is beneficial and meaningful to you. A good research project often begins with a question. What should be done about grade inflation? How can public support be garnered for municipal construction projects? What can be done to relieve testing anxiety for nursing students?


You must choose something that you have not researched or written about before.


Your mission is to conduct extensive research on the history and current status of the problem, and on failed and potential solutions to the problem. Ideally, your research and critical thinking on the topic will result in your development of a new solution to the problem.


After conducting your research, write an essay in which you propose a solution that you think has the best chance of solving the problem. Your essay should show that the problem exists and discuss what has caused the problem. The essay should show that your proposal meets a need and has a good chance of solving this problem. The essay should have an explicit claim (the solution you propose) and provide valid reasons and credible evidence to support the claim. Additionally, the essay should outline possible objections to your solution, and discuss the weaknesses of alternate solutions. In essence, your essay should argue for your proposed solution, using logos, pathos, and ethos to persuade your audience to take action. A proposal often ends with a specific call for action or response. See the “Guide to Writing a Proposal” on pages 288-93 of the textbook.


Your argument must be supported by at least six credible and scholarly sources. Do not use .com websites unless you have them approved by me in advance. I encourage you to find a way to conduct field research, interviews with credible experts, or surveys as part of your research. You may use the sources you outlined on the Annotated Bibliography as well as other sources you have found in your subsequent research.


Length:   2,000 – 2,250 words, not including the citation page. Please include a word count at the end of the essay



Your essay will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Perspective: development of a compelling topic and expression of thoughtful connections; the essay contributes something new to the conversation on this topic.
  • Focus: clarity of your claim and purpose.
  • Development: effective support for your claim using logos, pathos, and ethos; inclusion of at least six credible sources; consideration of opposing views.
  • Rhetorical awareness: effectiveness of the essay for the specific situation and audience.
  • Expressiveness: control and variety of sentences; appropriate and articulate use of words and phrases.
  • Mechanics: organization, grammar, spelling, punctuation, citation, etc.


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