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Mapping the Issue Instructions

Mapping the Issue Instructions

For your Issue Proposal, you organized your preexisting knowledge on your issue and sketched a plan for research. You then compiled several sources and summarized their contents for your Annotated Bibliography. For this paper, you will map the controversy surrounding your issue by describing its history and summarizing at least three different positions on the issue — all from a completely neutral point of view. Your audience will be UTA students, faculty, and staff who read a (fictitious) UTA periodical that offers analysis and commentary about politics, news, and culture.


Before people can make an informed decision on a controversial issue, they must know the history of the controversy and the range of positions available. Major news organizations often inform their readers of public controversies by providing a neutral, unbiased description of an issue’s history and the main arguments made on all sides, and academic organizations often map field-specific controversies in order to provide researchers with an overview of unsettled questions and unsolved problems.




In rhetorical studies, invention refers to the systematic search for ideas that can be shaped into an effective composition. (The term “prewriting” is sometimes used to refer to the concept of invention.) This section of the assignment, then, is designed to help you generate the required content for your Mapping paper. Please note that the following steps are not intended to serve as an outline for your paper. Rather, these steps will help you produce the “raw materials” that you will then refine into a well-organized paper. These steps also are likely to produce more material than you can actually use in the draft you submit to readers.


As readers will need to have some background information on your issue in order to understand how the controversy reaches its current state, draft answers to the following questions:

What caused the issue?

What prompted past and present interest in it?

Who is interested in the issue and why?

Readers will also want to know the current, major positions on the issue, so reflect on the titles in your Annotated Bibliography, draft descriptions of 3 – 5 different positions, and identify which articles in your bibliography advocate the positions you’ve described.

Now that you’ve drafted descriptions of the background and major positions on your issue, draft a more detailed description of one position:

What are the main claims of those who advocate this position?

What reasons do they provide for those claims?

What evidence do they use to support their reasons?

What assumptions underlie their arguments?



Once you have described the position’s argumentative structure, summarize at least one source from your Annotated Bibliography that advocates this position.

Repeat inventional steps three and four with a second position. Additionally, draft a comparison of the two positions by answering the following questions:

How do the foci of the positions intersect and diverge?

On what points do advocates of these positions agree, and on what points do they disagree?

What are the reasons for their disagreement?

Repeat inventional steps three, four, and five with all the remaining positions you plan to describe.

The previous six steps will help you construct effective logos appeals. You should also make effective ethos appeals in order to come across to readers as a person of good character, good sense, and good will. Here are some tips:

Describe the most significant positions across the entire field of the controversy; don’t simply describe those positions that cluster around the position you favor.

Summarize sources fairly and analyze them carefully. Accurately identify their main claims, supporting reasons and evidence, and implicit assumptions.

Maintain neutrality. The time will come for you to take a stand on the issue, but don’t do it now. Advocates of the positions you describe should feel that you have represented their views and arguments fairly, and your readers should finish your paper without any idea of where you stand on the issue.

Finally, make pathos appeals to readers by connecting with their emotions, values, and imaginations. To make effective pathos appeals, make sure you:

appeal to readers’ desire for information by presenting clear, well – organized, well – supported summaries that show you’ve read widely and closely and have developed a deep understanding of positions ranging across the entire field of the controversy.

appeal to readers’ sense of fairness by providing truly unbiased descriptions of all positions/arguments.

Draw on the lessons of Ch. 9 in They Say/I Say by mixing standard written English with “the kinds of expressions and turns of phrase that you use every day when texting or conversing with family and fri ends” (121). Because you’re writing for publication and for readers you don’t know, you should adopt a more formal style and tone than in your first paper. This does not mean, however, that you need to abandon your unique ways of expressing yourself.



In rhetorical studies, arrangement refers to the selection of content generated during the inventional stage and the organization of that content into an effective composition.


To begin your paper, follow the advice offered in Ch. 1 of They Say/I Say : “To give your writing the most important thing of all — namely, a point — a writer needs to indicate clearly not only what his or her thesis is, but also what larger conversation that thesis is responding to” (20). In this case, the conversation you ’re responding to is the one surrounding your issue. Indicate at the beginning of your paper that you’re writing in response to that conversation; then state a thesis that previews what you’ll be discussing in your mapping paper.


Also mind the lesson of Ch. 7 in They Say/I Say : “Regardless of how interesting a topic may be to you as a writer, readers always need to know what is at stake in a text and why they should care. . . . Rather than assume that audiences will know why their claims matter, all writers need to answer the ‘so what?’ and ‘who cares?’ questions up front” (92 – 93). Don’t assume that your readers will understand why your issue matters — make them understand by explaining why your issue is important and why it matters t o a community. Feel free to use the templates in Ch. 7 of They Say/I Say.


After you’ve completed these introductory moves, the arrangement of your analysis is up to you. You should include material from each step in the inventional stage, but your selection and organization of that material should follow your own judgment as to what will prove most effective with the UTA community.




In rhetorical studies, style refers to the appropriate language for the occasion, subject matter, and audience.


As mentioned earlier, you should follow the advice in Ch. 9 of They Say/I Say and mix standard written English with “the kinds of expressions and turns of phrase that you use every day when texting or conversing with family and friends” (121). You should adopt a more formal style than in your Issue Proposal because now you’re writing for publication. At the same time, you’re writing for a popular periodical rather than a scholarly journal, so you need not write in stuffy, academic prose.


Readers appreciate coherent, unified paragraphs, even when reading an informal piece of writing. Your paragraphs should include a topic sentence that clearly states the main idea of the paragraph and supporting sentences that cluster around the main idea without detours.


Proofread carefully; avoid errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Visit the Purdue OWL website ( ) for questions you have regarding style.


Other Requirements


Your paper should be no longer than 6 pages — anything beyond that length will be considered a failure to adhere to one of the assignment’s basic requirements. It should be double-spaced, typed in Times New Roman font, with 12 – point character size and one-inch margins all the way around. Your paper should also follow MLA citation and formatting guidelines and cite at least five sources.


For additional criteria view the Mapping the Issue rubric below.



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