Formal Essay 4: Causal Argument
To write a convincing causal argument
Focusing on a specific issue that relates to your overall research interests, you will isolate a specific event, issue, or policy. You will then examine the causes of your chosen subject event/issue/policy and explain them, incorporating substantive researched support. (Students who wish to do so may reverse this basic framework to discuss the effects of a specific event/issue/policy, as relevant to your chosen topic and after consultation with me.)
Your essay should include the following:
An informative and creative title (i.e., not “Essay 4” or “Causal Argument”).
An introduction in which you set the context of your chosen event, issue, or policy; explain why an examination of the causes of your subject is important; and state your thesis (next bullet).
A thesis statement that (a) sets forth the core causal relationship and the component causes you will discuss, and (b) provides a clear focus to guide the content of the body of your essay.
Your presentation of the specific causes that have contributed to the event/issue/policy you are discussing. This is the core of your argument—why have you chosen these specific causes as the ones that deserve the most attention? What evidence can you bring to bear to establish a true causal relationship? Which causes are remote and which are proximal? What are contributing causes and what are main causes? How can you help your reader to see the connections and to follow a causal chain?
A required concession/rebuttal section, in which you give substantial consideration to reasonable alternate explanations of the causal relationship you are arguing. What alternate cause could a reasonable person suggest? How can you then rebut that argument with a thoughtful explanation of how the causes you’ve argued are indeed more relevant and better explain the event/issue/policy? Give at least one...
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