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How do you convince your boss to make a real and positive workplace change? Strayer student, Shelby Warlick, worked as a call-center representative for a major cell-phone provider. She noticed an issue with the call center bonus system - too many employees were losing the bonus!

When her professor, Gail Summerskill, gave her an assignment to write a persuasive proposal that identified a problem, used relevant facts, and proposed a solution - Shelby knew just what to write about. Ultimately, Shelby gained the confidence to write a memo to her boss proposing a new, more effective way to evaluate her fellow call-center employees' performance.

In this video, we'll see how identifying a problem, careful research, and using the most relevant facts in a persuasive piece of writing can help you create positive changes for yourself and your community.

Week 4: Start Making Sense

If writing an essay is like building a house, you’ve already laid the foundation. Your topic and position, supporting points, and preliminary research will underlie everything you do from here on. Now it’s time to build the house’s frame by creating an outline of your essay.

Where will the front door go, and what will it look like? This will be your introduction and thesis statement. What shape will each room take, and how will they flow one to another? This will be the body of your essay. How will the roof (your conclusion) tie everything together?

Strength and Limits

While “framing out” your essay with an outline, you are deciding on its scope—on what belongs inside it. You’re also deciding what doesn’t fit. Defining and limiting your argument will make your work manageable and will result in a clear and compelling essay.

Appealing to the logical needs of your readers is an important factor in being able to persuade them to consider your argument. If you cannot support your claim with factual information and logical reasoning, they may not be convinced. Logic also informs the structure of your essay (how it is put together). No matter how fanciful a house’s design, the builders must rely on solid engineering principles to make sure it will stand up. Likewise, however much you appeal to emotion and credibility, you must still structure your essay according to a logical plan so it will make sense to your readers. In order to be logical, the order of your points must make sense, so think about which point should come first, second, and last.

Before outlining your essay, this week you’ll also delve deeper into how to construct a logical argument. Topics will include the following:

  • learning to use logical appeals

  • persuading readers with logical reasoning

  • outlining your essay

  • crafting a persuasive thesis statement

  • reviewing Writing Activity 2 requirements

This week, you will work in writing templates in the webtext to draft your outline and thesis statement, major components of Writing Activity 2.