Assignment: Weekly Writing 4

Thursday, Sep 21, 2017
Tuesday, Oct 3, 2017
This writing assignment is collaborative, and the work submitted at the end should be the work of the entire group. While it is acceptable for you to split portions of the paper in the early stages, every group member should contribute to the writing process for each section of the paper.


In this weekly writing, you will examine two sides of an argument over a health trend, and attempt to determine what conclusions the evidence supports. Unlike our previous weekly writing assignments, you will complete this assignment with a randomly selected group. Groups and topics will be assigned in class on September 21st.


Your writing should use the following structure:

Begin your writing by summarizing the entire paper: briefly explain the health trend you have been assigned, introduce the arguments in favor and against the trend, and state your final conclusion about the issue (see below). Your abstract should be no longer than 400 words. This may be difficult, but concise, detailed writing is a skill that you should practice!
After your abstract, introduce the issue again in more detail this time. There may be some redundancy between your abstract and introduction, but these sections are distinct. Think of the abstract as a very brief summary that someone could read to know what to expect from the rest of your paper. The introduction gives additional detail without stating arguments from either side (at least not in significant detail) or any conclusions.
Argument in Favor
Present an argument in favor of the health trend you have been assigned. You must include at least three substantiated claims in support of the trend. Do your best to explain what makes these claims compelling to those who support the trend. Avoid claims based on flawed arguments; you are looking for the best supporting evidence.
Argument Against
Present an argument against the health trend you have been assigned. Again, you must include at least three substantiated claims, this time in opposition to the trend. You are free to reverse the order of the two argument sections if you like.
Complicating Factors
Present at least two substantiated claims that complicate the argument. These may be challenges in studying the claims of the supporters, associated health effects that neither side can account for, or other facts related to the issue that “muddy” the argument.
Based on the arguments you have presented, make a decision: does the evidence support or refute the claims about this health trend, or is the situation unclear? Your conclusion should be based on the evidence you present, not simply your opinion. You may find that the complicating factors are helpful in supporting your conclusion. There are often compelling arguments on both sides of an issue, but a factor that one side fails to consider can tilt the outcome in one direction, the other, or make it clear that a consensus has not yet been reached.
Your writing will include at least eight distinct claims (three in favor, three against, and two additional points). These claims should be supported by other work, which you must cite. It is acceptable to use multiple claims from a single source, but please try to draw from a variety of sources. Five distinct sources seems like a reasonable minimum, but I can be flexible if you find one particularly good source for a number of good points for your work. Please use the MLA citation format for this paper.


Your final written work should be 3–4 pages of text in an 11pt serif font (e.g. Times New Roman) with 1.5 line spacing and one inch margins. You should include a title (be creative), your name, and the subtitle “Weekly Writing 4” on the first page of your writing.

As with all work for this course, you are required to cite your sources. You may use the course texts, but I encourage you to find additional sources. Use MLA citations for this paper. Your bibliography should generally contain at least five sources, and does not count toward the page limit. If you have questions about how or whether to cite a source, please contact me or make an appointment during office hours.

Submitting Your Work

To leave some additional time for group collaboration, I am giving a week and a half for you to complete this “weekly” writing. Please submit one copy of your writing at the beginning of class on the due date. I would like you to submit your writing assignment on paper (double-sided please) at the start of class rather than electronically this time.