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The presentation of an argument using source texts
a) Britain should develop new nuclear power stations.
b) Britain should not develop any new nuclear power stations.
You should focus on two or three topics of debate (e.g. cost, waste, safety, pollution).
1) Structure your argument so that each point is clearly separated and occurs in a logical order (e.g. if arguments against nuclear power are presented topic A, topic B, topic C, then arguments for should also be presented in this order). Note that in an adversarial essay we present the ideas we disagree with before the ideas we agree with, so that the ideas we agree with appear as a refutation of the ideas we disagree with. There should be an introduction and a conclusion. Use topic sentences and ‘framing’ or ‘signalling’ language to make the structure and logical connections clear.
2) Use the source material that was given out in class as evidence to support your ideas, or as opinion to argue against. You must refer to the text that you disagree with, as well as the text that you agree with.
3) Most references to the texts should be in the form of paraphrases and summaries. Use the method discussed earlier in the semester (make bullet point notes of the relevant parts of the source texts and then summarise the ideas in your own words). If you feel there is something special about some words in the original document, you may include a short direct quote (not longer than 10 words maximum). For both summaries and direct quotes, you must create a proper reference (in-text citation plus full publishing reference). Do not cite any other material. (Use secondary referencing to refer to texts cited by the authors given (e.g. (Smith, cited by Friends of the Earth, 2013)). Reference lists for these texts are available in MOLE.
4) When referring to texts containing strong opinions we normally mention the author’s name within our own sentence and use a reporting verb that suggests opinion. The most common reporting verbs for opinion are: suggests, argues, according to. The verbs claims and maintains are also often used to report an opinion that we disagree with.
5) Your own point of view should be clearly signalled separately from the texts you refer to. Use formal language to present your opinion, for example, unattributed statements without the personal pronoun (I) – e.g. Nuclear power cannot . . ./ Nuclear power will . . . , or structures such as It seems that . . . or it could be argued that . . . or it is evident that . . .
This assignment shows that you are capable:
a) of building a coherent, well-organised argument on a controversial topic;
b) of expressing your own opinion clearly;
c) of using a source text appropriately to support your opinion;
d) of using a source text appropriately to show your opposition to its opinion;
e) of producing accurate citations and references.
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