Touchstone 1.2: Outline a Persuasive Proposal
ASSIGNMENT: In your personal, academic, and professional life, you will encounter countless situations where you will need to convince family members,
friends, coworkers, committees, and other audiences to adopt new policies, consider different processes and perspectives, or make changes that will impact
others. Being able to convince others will allow you to have a voice in your own life and impact the lives of others. In order to do this, you will need to develop
strategies for persuasion. You will be more convincing if you are able to provide credible evidence to support your point. Having valid and credible evidence
to support your arguments plays a large role in how persuasive you are, how others receive your information, and the credibility you can build for yourself.
Following the Assignment Guidelines below, choose an argumentative topic to research. This will be your topic throughout the entire course, so the activities
required for this assignment will provide the foundation for your future Touchstones. The topic for an argumentative research paper must be a debatable
topic, meaning that it involves conflicting viewpoints. Additionally, it cannot be a topic that is already decided or agreed upon by most of society. You will
need to take a firm position on the topic and use evidence and logic to support the position.
Touchstone 1.2 includes a research question, a working thesis, a detailed outline, and a reflection on this pre-writing process.
Sample Touchstone 1.2
In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0,
and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.
A. Assignment Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Choose a scenario below and create a research question, a working thesis, and a detailed outline. Your topic should be current, appropriate for
an academic context and should have a focus suitable for a 6-8 page essay.
Step 1: Select a Scenario and Topic
You’re going to begin your prewriting process by choosing a scenario so you can then start to brainstorm the problem you’d like to focus on. The scenario
you select will help determine what type of problem you will explore in your proposal, as well as what audience you’ll be writing for. Since you’re writing a
proposal, you already know your purpose is to persuade. But how you will persuade—what rhetorical appeals and research you will use—will likely depend on
Scenario 1: Community
Community-focused problems are issues that affect the daily life of individuals. These individuals can be from the same neighborhood, a neighborhood
across town, or the same city. Have you ever wished the city would install more street lights, or put in a skating park, or did something about the persistent
littering throughout the neighborhood?All of these are examples of community-focused problems.
The goal of this scenario is to persuade a community group to fund the solution that you believe will address a particular problem and benefit the area. How
will you persuade the community group to give you what you’re asking for?
Scenario 2: Workplace
Workplace-focused problems involve issues or needs that affect employees at the office, department, or company. Some examples of workplace issues
might include poor communication between departments, wasteful spending, lack of work-life balance, or a desire to have on site childcare. The goal of this
scenario is to analyze the problem, then develop a solution that you think will resolve or improve the situation for the employees. How will you convince
management to accept your solution?
If you are wondering which scenario would be best to choose, think about concerns, issues,or projects that you are passionate about in your own life and
career. For Example, as you think of this, if you keep coming back to how the empty lot on your block would make a great community garden space, you may
want to consider choosing Scenario 1. If, when you think of your workplace, and it is experiencing a delay in receiving supplies, and want to explore a solution
to this problem, you may want to consider choosing Scenario 2.
Once you select a scenario, focus on identifying a specific topic that you’d like to address and think about why that topic is important to you. Use the
prewriting strategies you learned about in Unit 2 to narrow down your final topic.
Step 2: Determine Research Question and Working Thesis
The research question and working thesis are the driving force behind your research and eventual argument.
Remember from 1.2.2: Identifying the Problem that a research question defines exactly what you are trying to find out. It will influence most of the steps you
take to conduct the research. Consider what you need to know and research to persuade your audience. You may remember this research question from
Anna’s example: How can a recycling program save the city money, both now and in the future?
Possible research question stems:
How will benefit our workplace?
What steps will we need to implement in the community?
What are the costs associated with ?
Next, construct a clear and concise thesis statement that states your opinion or stance on the topic. Since this is about a problem and a solution, you would
state the solution, and why it is the best choice.