Expository Essay Ideas: ASSIGNMENT 4: Explaining Opposing Positions Paper (The St. Martin’s Guide to Writing, chapter 5)
“Write an essay about opposing positions on an issue that interests you and that you want to learn more about. When you have reached a good understanding of the debate on the issue, explain it to your readers. Consider carefully what they already know about the debate and try to interest them in it. Your goal is to explain the issue in an unbiased way – to report on it—while taking care not to express your own position on the issue of the debate, should you have one.” (223) It is suggested that the writer find two reliable and substantive essays on the topic, one of either side of the debate, and focus the paper on comparing and contrasting the issue as presented in the two essays.
Basic features (220-221)
• An introduction to the issue and the opposing positions. The writer explains the issue to the reader, and names and introduces the debaters.
• A comparison and contrast of topics raised in the debate. The writer goes beyond explaining the issue itself to more specific topics that are important in the debate.
• A logical plan. The writer sequences the topics compared and contrasted in a logical manner, such as most to least complex, most to least familiar, or least to most important.
• A fair and unbiased presentation of opposing positions. The writer presents both positions completely, correctly and without bias. A reader is unlikely to know what the writer’s opinion is.
• Careful use of sources. Sources must be used and documented in an appropriate standard format.
Assessment. The teacher may consider the following when assessing an opposing positions essay:
• Purpose and audience: Does the writing meet the assignment requirements and engage the audience?
• Idea development: Is the topic appropriate, neither too broad nor too narrow? Is the issue clearly and completely introduced? Are the debaters introduced and their...