Synthesize Two Sources Toward the Development of an Original Argument

The writer will demonstrate the ability to synthesize two sources toward the development of an original argument. Specifically, the assignment asks you to examine various texts and media on related topics, considering how they inform and interact with one another in conversation. Identifying a critical conversation, you will then practice participating meaningfully in such conversations via informed critical response. The purpose of this specific assignment is for you to present your own point of view – supported, of course, by relevant facts, drawn from sources, and presented logically. Your first source must be chosen from the following list (do not use any of these articles for your second source; it must be found from outside this list):

The Food Babe: Enemy of Chemicals
https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/02/the-food-babe-enemy-of-chemicals/385301/

The “Food Babe” Blogger Is Full of Shit
https://gawker.com/the-food-babe-blogger-is-full-of-shit-1694902226

Don’t Blame the Eater
https://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/23/opinion/don-t-blame-the-eater.html

Man vs Earth
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR_gnk8sVr4

Al Gore: Climate of Denial
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/al-gore-climate-of-denial-244124/

How Junk Food Can End Obesity
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2013/07/how-junk-food-can-end-obesity/309396/

Holy Grail
(PDF attached)

How to Be a More Sustainable Cook
(PDF attached)

The History of the Earth’s Climate
(PDF attached)

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Task —
Select a topic of your choice, research that topic using various methods and sources, and critically evaluate each source. Investigate all potential sources for usefulness by asking questions about context, stance, and relevance to your topic.

Once you have identified your sources, you will synthesize the information gathered to (a) narrow down your topic to a specific argument and (b) serve as support for an original argument and illustrate its relevance in a critical conversation.

Criteria for Success —
Introducing the Conversation or Context: In the introductory paragraph, you will present a brief overview of the critical conversation you’ve selected to participate in. You should begin by introducing the general topic and then narrow your focus by introducing and summarizing your source materials’ main arguments. Finally, conclude your introduction with an argumentative thesis statement that articulates your essay’s position in the critical conversation.

Thesis Statement: Your thesis should articulate a specific argument that engages critically and intellectually with the sources you’ve presented in the introduction. Remember, the argument isn’t simply what these sources are “about,” but rather what these sources in concert motivate us to think about a particular issue or subject and where we might go from there. You want to offer your own interpretation or perspective, informed by your sources.

Supporting Argument/Body: Each content paragraph should include three components: (1) a topic sentence, (2) evidence, and (3) analysis. Each topic sentence should make its own argumentative claim that further specifies or demonstrates your reasoning for the overall claim you’ve made in your thesis statement. Meanwhile, evidence will take the form of quotations or paraphrases from the source texts that support or illustrate the topic sentence’s claim. Your analysis will explain how each piece of evidence supports, illustrates, and otherwise proves your argument. This essay should demonstrate your own ability to identify and research a critical conversation and to join it. Consistently analyze your source texts throughout, avoiding personal response or anecdotes, metadiscursive references to the assignment or your writing process, and heavy summary.

Conclusion: Re-emphasize and expand upon your own argument. Reflect on why this topic is essential beyond the scope of your own essay. Why should your reader care? What is at stake? Reiterate the value of considering your researched source texts together. In other words, leave your reader with both a sense of the critical conversation reflected in your essay and a way to enter that conversation themselves.

MLA Format: Be sure to use the Purdue OWL website in formatting both your in-text citations and works cited page. Be sure to cite every reference to your source, including any material summarized or paraphrased.

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