Writing to Convince and Solve Problems: Online Opinion Piece
An opinion piece expresses a concise and focused opinion about a particular issue. For this assignment, you will write an opinion piece about the issue that you have been focusing on all semester. You will focus on one aspect of your issue and argue for a solution to a problem. Most likely, this will involve advocating for a policy change. A policy is a course of action. It can be a statement of principle on which people base their behavior, such as policies that determine ethical behaviors or transactions in business or organizational relationships. It can also be a law or rule that regulates behavior, such as setting up cameras to catch traffic violations at busy intersections or an anti-harassment policy at a workplace.
Purpose: This assignment exposes you to the genre of an opinion piece or “op-ed,” which is public writing. The opinion piece is normally a text that expresses an opinion and is commonly published by newspapers, magazines, and advocacy websites. It is a persuasive/argumentative piece and will prompt you to use each of the rhetorical strategies of logos, pathos, and ethos–in varying degrees–in order to strengthen the readers’ acceptance of your course of action.
Research: You will use the quotes from your research done for your annotated bibliography to bolster the ethos or your argument.
Audience: Your audience will consist of your professor, your academic peers, and a specific audience that would be reading the type of publication in which your opinion piece might appear. In order to think about where your op-ed would be published, you need to consider who your intended audience is—who do you want to convince or persuade? Who needs to read what you have to say? What action would like your audience to take?
Content/Subject: In your opinion piece, you need to identify one problem related to your issue and advocate for a specific solution that will help or eliminate the problem you have identified. Your piece needs to convince your audience that:
• There is a problem.
• Your solution can fix or help that problem.
Your writing needs to be effective and efficient because you will only have a limited space to accomplish these goals. You should include relevant information and sound reasoning in order to convince your audience of your argument.
Constraints: An opinion piece is a genre of public writing that focuses on the quick and clear expression of an argument in a restricted space. As a result, the writing is often very precise and concise to maximize the amount of space available. You should ensure that your opinion piece has a clear, understandable argument and makes use of correct, grammatical sentences.
Design: Since you are writing an online opinion piece you have to take design into account. Use appropriate visuals that contribute to the understanding of the issue. Use visuals that help attract attention to your issue and convince your audience of your stance and solution. Also since this is a genre in the public forum you must use different font size and color to attract attention and appeal to online readers. All of which must be conducive to the conventions of online opinion pieces.
Specific guidelines for the assignment include:
• Clear introduction to issue.
• Effective, concise discussion of your issue’s problem and solution.
• Sophisticated development of logos, pathos, and ethos.
· A design element using appropriate visuals and text
· Use of at least eight sources from your annotated bibliography to bolster the logos and ethos of your argument. (if you want to use new sources not on your bibliography, that is fine too)
· Use signal phrases to introduce the sources
· Have a “critical occasion” (a recent event in the news or in your life that might prompt you to write this Op Ed
· Create at least one metaphor, analogy, simile to articulate your topic, problem, or solution
• 700-1000 words in length (not counting Reference page or title page)
• Adherence to APA format. (both in-text citations and reference page)
• Use of concise language.
• Correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
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