Semester Dialogue Project

1. Part A: Background: .Write up a 4 to 10 page literature review outlining current scholarly/professional research and opinion on your issue. Use 6 to 10 recent professional or scholarly sources for your report!  See this link for how to do a literature review.

Part A due on paper at the beginning of class Oct. 2, 2015. This is your Midterm Exam. 

Part B and C: During the second half of the semester your group will divide up into sides and separately and together, do a dialogue paper and a dramatic dialogue presentation strongly arguing two different, opposing sides of your chosen issue, attacking and refuting each other as much as possible. Your intended audience consists of students who disagree with you on your chosen issue. Your purpose is to influence your audience's opinions (those of your classmates) by demonstrating not only the strength of your own standpoint but also the fatal weakness of opposing standpoints.

Each side's argument must include questions and answers, theses and antitheses, and clear, opinionated conclusions.  The Final Report must include full arguments on both sides and clear, direct refutations of each others' standpoints, evidence and arguments (i.e., arguing directly against each other, not just arguing for different standpoints). This can only be done if there is genuine respect for both sides of the argument.  This is a form of the argument "in utrumque partes," or the classic "Thesis."

Steps to produce the final Dialogue:  Based on the research you did during the first half of the semester:

1. The Writing Group will divide in halves, one "for" and one "against" the thesis of your subject. Alternately, if the group is too small to divide, the entire group can write both sides of the argument.

2. Each half of the Writing Group will write their own persuasive arguments with warrants and evidence strongly supporting their own side of the issue. At this initial stage no antithesis or refutation is needed.

3. Then the two halves of the Writing Group will exchange their arguments so the other can read them.

4. Each half of the Writing Group will summarize the other half's arguments, warrants and evidence and then directly and respectfully refute them, ending with a conclusion on "what is to be done" on the issue. 

5. By November 25 at the beginning of class each Writing Group as a whole will turn in one single carefully-edited, proofread and corrected group paper consisting of three separately labeled parts:  A. The group's corrected and edited informational research report from the first half of the semester; B. the full "pro" argument (In ISARC format including a strong refutation of the "contra" argument and a conclusion on what is to be done); and C. the full "contra" argument (in ISARC format including a strong refutation of the "pro" argument and a conclusion on what is to be done).

6. Each group will also do a 20-30 minute final presentation in dialogue format with each side defending their own standpoint and attacking the opposing side's arguments. Your goal is to convince your classmates (or some other chosen audience) to agree with your standpoint.

General hints: 

A. Try to connect your subject and arguments to your own lives, interests and majors, and those of others in class.
B. Avoid complex standpoints (e.g., "War is murder except when the President, acting as Commander in Chief determines it is in the national interest, because he's the decider and knows more about the situation than we do." Or, "Everyone, male or female, should remain a virgin until marriage except if they are truly in love and make sure to use reliable protection or unless both partners are consenting adults of the same gender who don't want to wait." )
C. Your task is to invent creative and original standpoints, arguments and refutationsDo not just echo the same old boring, off-the-shelf standpoints, refutations and arguments we've heard a hundred times before.
D. Your arguments must be credible to those in your intended audience who disagree with you. For instance, simply quoting from Holy Scripture will probably not be credible or persuasive to people who have different beliefs than you, while quoting from an authority that most everyone respects (e.g., Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, Nelson Mandela) can be very persuasive. 

Your Final Group Dialogue Paper is due in print (one copy per Writing Group) at the beginning of class on Wednesday, November 25  at 8:30 am.

You may not use or count any encyclopedias, printed or online, in your report or your bibliographies. Use of Wikipedia in your report is specifically prohibited! APA format is recommended.

Suggestion: Interview friends, relatives, classmates, professors, or anyone else who is an activist on the issue you chose.






O.W. Rev. 5/15

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The University of Texas at El Paso - 500 W. University Ave. - El Paso, TX 79968
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