ASSIGNMENT #4: ROGERIAN ARGUMENT RESEARCH PAPER
Length: 5 full pages + a Works Cited page (on the 6th page)
Due: First draft is due in class on Thursday, April 21st (we’ll be peer-editing
Final Draft (with peer editing sheet, first draft, and articles used with passages
highlighted) is due on Thursday, April 28th
Format: MLA format (double-spaced, 1” margins, 12-size standard font style throughout, student and course information in top left corner of first page, last name and page number in Header against right margin, centered title)
Audience: general audience (classmates and professor)
Objectives: to compose a five-page research paper that presents a convincing, well-reasoned Rogerian argument. It must include from 4 to 8 different reliable sources in the form of direct quotations, which must be correctly cited in the essay as well as on the Works Cited page.
Directions: Write a paper that does one of the following:
Topic choice is a crucial first step in making an interesting, effective essay; choose a topic that is close to you, important to you, or interesting to you.
Second, research the topic. Your paper should explain the ways in which people have divided over the topic, and what their reasons are for doing so. Some class time will be devoted for research time in the Library’s Reference area or in a Computer Lab, but more individual research time will be required. Find sources that present the views on your topic and explain the reasoning behind those views. Sources must come from our library’s catalog: this includes paper books and journals, as well as electronic sources from the library’s electronic databases. IT DOES NOT INCLUDE OTHER WEBSITES, WIKIS, BLOGS, OR SOCIAL MEDIA. Remember: at least four and not more than eight different reliable sources must be used.
Remember your readers. You are trying to build a bridge of shared concerns. Anticipate their hesitancy, apprehension, or potential opposition to your idea, and address their concerns with respect.
You will be required to attend a short (10-minute) conference with me about your progress (questions, problems, etc.) on this paper. A conference schedule will be set up.
What’s a Rogerian Argument?
Arguments do not have to be confrontational. . . .In fact, the twentieth century psychologist Carl Rogers contended that in many situations, this method of arguing can actually be counterproductive, making it impossible for two people to reach agreement. According to Rogers, attacking opponents and telling them that they are wrong or misguided puts them on the defensive. The result of this tactic is frequently ill will, anger, hostility—and conflict. If you are trying to negotiate an agreement or convince someone to do something, these are exactly the responses that you do not want. To solve this problem, Rogers developed a new approach to argument—one that emphasized cooperation over confrontation.
Rogerian argument begins with the assumption that people of good will can find solutions to problems that they have in common. Rogers recommends that you consider those with whom you disagree as colleagues, not opponents. . . .
Rogerian argument encourages you to enter into a cooperative relationship in which both you and your readers search for common ground—points of agreement about a problem. By taking this approach, you are more likely to find a solution that will satisfy everyone.
By attempting to understand the audience’s concerns and by avoiding confrontational language, you demonstrate empathy and respect for the audience. In this way, you define the common ground between your position and that of the audience. By making concessions to the opposition, Rogerian argument tries to avoid an “I win/you lose” situation and reach consensus. Thus, the strength of a Rogerian argument rests on your ability to identify areas of agreement between you and your readers. The more successful you are in doing so, the more persuasive and successful your argument will be.
Kirszner, Lauri G. and Stephen R. Mandel. Practical Argument: A Text and Anthology. 2nd
edition. Boston: Bedford St. Martin’s, 2014. 186-87.