You might have a lot of things in the world around you that you wish were different. This doesn’t necessarily make you a malcontent, just someone that thinks there could be some changes made around here and right about now! Writing an analytical argument about the thing you hate may be a way of better understanding this thing that bothers you while also possibly helping you to find a solution to this problem. Perhaps you are the one that can remedy this situation. This will be your task in this assignment: Something is not as it should be and you wish it were different.
You are writing for someone (or someones) who has the power to make the change you seek.
You want to persuade. But remember, this is not the persuasion of a small child throwing a tantrum until the authority figure gives in. You need to convince your audience that this change is in everyone’s best interest, not just your own.
- Feel the hate. Let loose all the dislikes you have about the way the world operates around you. Visualize your day. What are the problems? What could be better? Maybe it’s something at school or even in your own home. Write down everything you can think of, no matter how trivial it might seem, but try to focus on policies and procedures rather than individuals. You’re moving through your day-to-day life, trying to achieve certain goals. What prevents you from achieving those?
- Find your focus. From your list, pick an item that seems important to you and also might impact others. It should be something that, if you can solve it, will have a positive impact on the world beyond yourself.
- Consider your audience choices. What are all the different groups affected by this problem? List them. There will be many. We call these people “stakeholders.” Which ones seem both persuadable and able to make change? This is your audience.
- Analyze your audience. Which decision maker(s) are you going to write to? Why have you chosen them? Consider your audience’s needs, attitudes, and knowledge regarding your subject.
- Make your case that a problem exists. Write an argument that describes the problem to the best of your ability without relying on any additional sources. This is only based on your experience, but remember what you know about your audience. What can you say that will persuade them to agree with you that this is a problem worthy of their attention? You are not complaining. While you are working, feel free to feel your feelings and vent to anyone who will listen, but remember that in the end that venting is a pressure release, not an effective method of persuading an audience to take action to help solve the problem.
- Improve your case. What additional information and research will help improve your argument that this is a problem? What do you need to prove to your audience to be convincing, and what kind of proof do you need to find? Are your sources convincing and authoritative?
- Create a solution. As you do research into your problem, you will likely also find information on possible solutions. You probably have a few ideas of your own as well. What would be a good solution to this issue? How will you convince your audience that it’s a good solution?
- Draft, revise, edit. Now that you’ve done all the thinking, planning, and research, write a solution to this problem targeted toward your specific audience.
- Title. A title will be especially important here. One technique to consider may be the use of a title and subtitle where the title introduces the subject but primarily functions to interest the reader, and the subtitle clarifies the specific purpose of the piece.
How’d that feel? One of the things you should experience in doing this kind of writing is the sense of your growing expertise. You will know much more about your issue at the end than at the beginning of the process. Take a minute to list the things you know now, having written your argument, that you didn’t know before.