Development of an original argument directly in response to the argument of another writer.

Essay #1: Summary and Response

Length: 2-3 pages

Primary Source: Heather Douglas, “The Dark Side of Science”


In this assignment, you will develop an original argument directly in response to the argument of another writer. Specifically, you will practice critical reading skills, presenting a clear and precise argument in your thesis statement, supporting your thesis with effective paragraphs, and incorporating sources (by quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing) in MLA format (through in-text citations and Works Cited page).

Summary and Introduction:

In the introductory paragraph, you will present a summary (5-7 sentences) of the author’s main argument and key points. No need to give examples from the article; you’ll do that in the body of your essay. The summary should be written in your own words, followed by an in-text citation. Remember, the argument isn’t merely what the article is “about,” but rather what the writer is actively trying to persuade you to think or feel about a particular issue or subject.

Thesis statement:

You may draw from the *three templates we discussed in class:

1. “Disagree – and Explain Why”2. “Agree – But With a Difference”3. “Agree and Disagree Simultaneously”

*Adapted from They Say, I Say

Remember that the above are not merely fill-in-the-blanks responses, but rather, templates to help you brainstorm and articulate your thesis. Feel free to adapt as needed.

Supporting argument/body:

Next, you’ll “prove” and support your thesis throughout the body of your essay (3-5 body paragraphs). Each body paragraph should include a clear topic sentence and supporting examples from the text.


Re-emphasize and expand on your own argument. Reflect on why this topic is important beyond the scope of your essay. Remember tone as well – these are your closing remarks to the reader.

– must be a statement of assertion (claims)

– should not be a fact or an observation

– someone familiar w/ article could reasonably disagree.

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