Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course materi


Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course materi

Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You can work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it until you have completed the Unit’s Challenges. Once you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it will be graded and counted toward your final course score.
Touchstone 4: Argumentative Essay
Consider revisiting the tutorial Supporting an Argumentative Thesis. Just like in previous Touchstones, your stance needs to be stated in a thesis statement and your evidence in body paragraphs should work to support your claim. For help citing evidence in body paragraphs, revisit the tutorial Source and Quotation Formatting in APA to learn how to quote and paraphrase sources using APA style.
ASSIGNMENT: Write a 4-6 page (approximately 1000-1500 words) argumentative essay arguing one side or stance of an academically appropriate debate using the classical model supported by evidence and research. If the writing exceeds the 1500 word maximum, it will be returned back for revision.
Sample Argumentative Essay
In order to foster learning and growth, all work you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any plagiarized or recycled work will result in a Plagiarism Detected alert. Review Touchstones: Academic Integrity Guidelines for more about plagiarism and the Plagiarism Detected alert. For guidance on the use of generative AI technology, review Ethical Standards and Appropriate Use of AI.
CopyLeaks Originality Checker: All writing will be checked for originality. Ensure that all references are credible and include page and paragraph numbers if the source is longer than four pages. If a source cannot be accessed by a grader, you might need to provide digital proof that you possess the source (for example, a photo of the print book). Text from any third party source is prohibited, including internet or chatbot searches, without proper APA-style citations. Focus on developing your own ideas and use evidence sparingly to support your own original claims, following the classical model of argumentation.
A. Directions
Step 1. Choose a TopicToday, there are many different debates being had all around the world about topics that affect our personal, professional, civic, and/or academic lives. Some of these debates have been such hot topics for so long that it has become very difficult to add to the conversation with new and original ideas or stances to take. To move beyond this trend, we have created a list of topics that may not be written about for this Touchstone. This includes example topics that are used in Unit 4. Feel free to access a tutor if you would like support choosing a topic for this essay.
Please AVOID choosing any of the following topics:
Abortion Rights
Animal Testing (Unit 4 example)
Climate Change (Unit 4 example)
Belief in God(s) or Afterlife(s)
Death Penalty / Capital Punishment
Euthanasia / Assisted Suicide
Fad Diets (e.g., Keto, etc.)
Funding/Defunding Law Enforcement
Legal Alcohol/Tobacco Age
Legalization of Marijuana
Legalization of Sex Work
Paying Student Athletes
Second Amendment Rights (i.e., Gun Control)
Social Media’s Impact on Mental Health
Universal Healthcare
Choosing to write about any of the above topics will result in a non-passing score.
Step 2. Write an Argumentative EssayRemember the word “argument” does not mean a fight in a writing context. An academic argument is more like a thoughtful conversation between two people with differing viewpoints on a debatable issue. However, you are required to take a position on one side of a debatable issue that is informed by academically appropriate evidence.
For the purposes of this assignment, expressing or relying on your personal opinion of a debate is discouraged. Rather, the essay must argue one side or stance of the debate using the rhetorical appeals (logos, ethos, and pathos) and be supported by academic or scholarly sources. These include physical sources in public libraries, digital sources in academic libraries, online sources (excludes unreliable sources like and, which are discouraged), and published expert reports, preferably peer-reviewed by experts in the field to maintain utmost credibility. Consider revisiting the tutorial Finding Sources for more information on appropriate sources for argumentative writing.
Your submission must include an APA style in-text citations and a reference page following the essay. In your research, you will need at least 2 and no more than 4 credible primary or secondary sources to use as support in your essay.
All sources cited in the writing submitted must be locatable by a grader; include hyperlinks to the sources in the reference page.
The use of any source that requires payment for access is strictly prohibited for this assignment.
Avoid using sources that exceed 20 pages in length, as they may be overly extensive for the purposes of this assignment.
Including more than four sources may cause delays, and you might be asked to provide additional evidence of the credibility for each source.
The following resources will be helpful to you as you work on this assignment:
Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Formatting and Style GuideThis site includes a comprehensive overview of APA style, as well as individual pages with guidelines for specific citation types.
Frequently Asked Questions About APA StyleThis page on the official APA website addresses common questions related to APA formatting. The “References,” “Punctuation,” and “Grammar and Writing Style” sections will be the most useful to your work in this course.
APA Style: Quick Answers—ReferencesThis page on the official APA Style website provides numerous examples of reference list formatting for various source types.
Step 3. Think About Your WritingOn a separate page, below your reference page, include thoughtful answers to the Think About Your Writing questions. References and Think About Your Writing questions are NOT included in the word count for this essay.
Below your reference page, include answers to all of the following reflection questions.
What have you learned about how to present a strong argument? How could/will you apply this knowledge in your professional or everyday life (3-4 sentences)? Sophia says: Think about the specific skills and techniques that you used while developing and writing your essay. What tools will you take with you from this experience?
Consider the English Composition I course as a whole. What have you learned about yourself as a writer (5-6 sentences)? Sophia says: What did you learn that surprised you? Is there anything that you have struggled with in the past that you now feel more confident about?
Step 4. Review Rubric and ChecklistYour composition and reflection will be scored according to the Touchstone 4 Rubric, which evaluates the argumentative topic and thesis statement, argument development and support, organization, flow, research, style, use of conventions (grammar, punctuation, etc.), and your answers to the “Think About your Writing” questions above.
Refer to the checklist below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
Argumentative Topic and Thesis Statement
❒ Have you included a thesis that takes a clear, specific position on one side of an academically appropriate, debatable issue?
Argument Development
❒ Are all of the details relevant to the purpose of your essay?
❒ Is the argument supported using rhetorical appeals and credible, academic source material?
❒ Is your essay 4-6 pages (approximately 1000-1500 words)? If not, which details do you need to add or delete?
❒ Have you cited outside sources effectively using quotation, summary, or paraphrase?
❒ Are the sources incorporated smoothly, providing the reader with signal phrases and context for the source information?
❒ Are the sources explained with regard to your topic and how they relate to the argument?
❒ Have you referenced at least 2 and no more than 4 credible sources?
❒ Have you included an APA style reference page below your essay?
❒ Have you included a hyperlink to each source in the reference page?
Organization and Flow
❒ Is there an introduction, conclusion, adequate body paragraphs, and a counterargument?
❒ Do the topic and concluding sentences reiterate the argument to maintain a sharp focus on the purpose of the essay?
❒ Is the argument presented in a logical order and easy for the reader to follow?
❒ Are there transitions within and between paragraphs?
❒ Are the word choices accurate and effective?
❒ Are the sentence structures varied?
Conventions and Formatting
❒ Have you properly cited your sources according to APA style guidelines?
❒ Have you double-checked for correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, and capitalization?
❒ Have you proofread for typos?
Before You Submit
❒ Have you answered all of the Think About Your Writing questions on a separate page below your reference page? Are your answers thoughtful and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?
❒ Does your submission include your essay, followed by your reference page, followed by your Think About Your Writing questions?



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