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ENGL 015: Rhetoric and Composition (Pangikas-Miller)

Recommended library resources for Essay # 3, exploring an environmental or social issue.


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Essay #3, Exploring an Issue

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Assignment from your syllabus:

Environmental concerns have been brought to the forefront of American consciousness since the publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring in the early 60s.  This new movement of green thinking has sparked debate over the nature of man-made pollutants ranging from carbon emissions to synthetic waste.  Now that each of you has taken some time to consider his or her own position on the role of human beings in the stewardship of this planet, you are ready to begin your third essay: exploring an environmental issue.

For this assignment, you will be asked to:

1. Select any environmental issue of hot debate,

2. Research it thoroughly,

3. Take a stance in terms of what should be done (if anything) to resolve the issue.

You will be asked to utilize PSU’s vast library resources in search of reputable sources to aid in your exploration of the issue, seeking to understand it in its entirety. It is important to review the arguments and proofs given for each side before seriously considering your personal position on your chosen topic. This essay should make a clear argument while providing necessary background information, including any factual information, statistics, anecdotes, testimony, etc. You must thoughtfully identify the appropriate audience for your message being careful to provide the necessary background for your topic but only if the designated audience requires it. 

In addition to taking your own stance, you must be sure to include any objections that the opposing side might make against your argument and systematically refute them (think of the classical rhetorical form presented in our rhetoric discussion). Doing so will help to naturally strengthen your argument and assist in persuading your audience to agree with you.

This essay must be 5-6 pages in length, written in Times New Roman Font, and include 3-5 high-quality sources (more sources are welcome, but try not to overwhelm your essay or research).  Since you will be using 3-5 sources to inform your opinion, a Works Cited page and parenthetical citations must also be included.

Pre-writing: Before researching your topic, complete a minimum of a 10-minute free-write regarding your current opinions of your selected topic.  Once this is complete, please consider whether or not your opinion is supported by evidence.  Begin to research the Web and/or the PSU library/database for articles or related information pertaining to this topic; use one of the research methods presented in CR to take notes and respond to information (required – I will ask to see this as part of your revision project).  Once the research stage is completed, select one invention strategy to help you organize or refine your information and/or perspective.

To begin questioning this topic, please be sure to consider (if applicable):

  • Popular opinions or points of view regarding your subject. Any research done on this issue. Who your issue most directly impacts, positively and negatively. Which areas are most affected, positively and negatively. The financial, social, political, etc. implications in continuing the activity unchecked or reversing/revising current standards.
  • The environmental impact.
  • The source of any research compiled:
    • Is the source unbiased?
    • Is the information anecdotal or statistical? 
    • What type of research has been conducted and is it sufficient? 
    • Does the argument make a logical case or is it based on emotion or misuse of facts?