This paper assignment expands upon your Week One Assignment and prepares you for the Final Paper. The expansion is to learn to improve one’s argument after investigating and fairly representing the opposite point of view. The main new tasks are to revise your previous argument created in Week One, to present a counterargument (an argument for a contrary conclusion), and to develop an objection to your original argument.
Here are the steps to prepare to write the counterargument paper:
- Begin reviewing your previous paper paying particular attention to suggestions for improvement made by your instructor.
- Revise your argument, improving it as much as possible, accounting for any suggestions and in light of further material you have learned in the course. If your argument is inductive, make sure that it is strong. If your argument is deductive, make sure that it is valid.
- Construct what you take to be the strongest possible argument for a conclusion contrary to the one you argued for in your Week One paper. This is your counterargument. This should be based on careful thought and appropriate research.
- Consider the primary points of disagreement between the point of view of your original argument and that of the counterargument.
- Think about what you take to be the strongest objection to your original argument and how you might answer the objection while being fair to both sides. Search in the Ashford University Library for quality academic sources that support some aspect of your argument or counterargument.
In your paper,
- Present a revised argument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
- Present a counterargument in standard form, with each premise and the conclusion on a separate line.
- Provide support for each premise of your counterargument. Clarify the meaning of the premise and supporting evidence for the premise.
- Pay special attention to those premises that could be seen as controversial. Evidence may include academic research sources, supporting arguments, or other ways of demonstrating the truth of the premise (for more ideas about how to support the truth of premises take a look at the instructor guidance for this week). This section should include at least one scholarly research source. For guidance about how to develop a conclusion see the Ashford Writing Center’s Introductions and Conclusions.
- Explain how the conclusion of the counterargument follows from its premises. [One paragraph]
- Discuss the primary points of disagreement between sincere and intelligent proponents of both sides. [One to two paragraphs]
- For example, you might list any premises or background assumptions on which you think such proponents would disagree and briefly state what you see as the source of the disagreement, you could give a brief explanation of any reasoning that you think each side would find objectionable, or you could do a combination of these.
- Present the best objectionto your original argument. Clearly indicate what part of the argument your objection is aimed at, and provide a paragraph of supporting evidence for the objection. Reference at least one scholarly research source. [One to two paragraphs]
- See the “Practicing Effective Criticism” section of Chapter 9 of your primary textbook for more information about how to present an objection.
For further instruction on how to create arguments, see the How to Construct a Valid Main Argument and Tips for Creating an Inductively Strong Argument documents as well as the video Constructing Valid Arguments.
The Counterargument Paper
- Must be 500 to 800 words in length (not including title and references pages) and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center (for more information about using APA style, take a look at the APA Essay Checklist for Students webpage).
- Must include a separate title page with the following:
- Title of paper
- Student’s name
- Course name and number
- Instructor’s name
- Date submitted
- Must use at least two scholarly sources in addition to the course text.
- The Scholarly, Peer Reviewed, and Other Credible Sources table offers additional guidance on appropriate source types. If you have questions about whether a specific source is appropriate for this assignment, please contact your instructor. Your instructor has the final say about the appropriateness of a specific source for a particular assignment.