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For Teachers: Sample Assignments

Below are suggested assignments for English 2000, drawn from past and current syllabi of LSU instructors. 

You'll find resources on teaching strategies (peer response, research, and designing in-class activities) here.


Annotated Bibliography: An annotated bibliography helps students think through a research topic. In addition to bibliographical entry, each source is followed by a concise analysis of its main points. Annotations may also include a short response or a statement of potential uses for the source. These annotations are intended to be tools for students as they work on their researched argument essays; annotations should be designed to help them quickly remember how each source might be useful in their writing.

How to prepare an annotated bibliography (with example) | Assignment sheets 1 | 2 (collaborative)



Argument Analysis: Analyzing an argument can work to activate the analytical skills that students learned in English 1001 and introduce them to the genre of argument. These essays can proceed according to formal traditions, such as the Toulmin model or the Rogerian Argument, or they can work from a more general analytical frame, as the assignment on the right does, to uncover assumptions, evaluate claims and evidence, and identify logical fallacies.

Assignment Sheet  | Toulmin Analysis



Background Essay: The background essay asks students to fully investigate their own rhetorical situation by considering (1) their purpose for writing, (2) the audience for whom they write, (3) the situation in which they are writing, and (4) the larger context of their work. More specifically, the background essay asks students to answer questions about geography, demographics, history, and culture (among other relevant factors) and articulate these factors in four-to-six pages, thus exploring the context of their writing.

Assignment Sheet | Audience Analysis guide | Sample Essay and Peer Review Sheet | Rubric



Causal Argument: An argument of cause can begin with an effect and make claims about underlying causes. Alternatively, it can identify a cause and make claims about effects that will result. It might trace a chain of such causes and effects. Causal arguments rarely offer absolute or single conclusions; they are usually complex and involve a great deal of analytical thinking. Causal claims are often part of a larger argument, such as a proposal, and often rely on arguments of definition.

Assignment Sheet 1 | 2 | 3 || Causal Argument Rubric



Definition Argument: The question of definition is at the heart of most arguments; it hinges on the meaning of a contested term (examples from current events include the terms citizen, enemy combatant, and marriage). Such arguments offer a definition—often one that differs from or is more developed than popular understanding—provide examples to develop it, and argue that a particular term does or does not fit that definition. Lesson + assignment | Assignment 2 || Sample essays 1 | 2


Evaluation Argument: The writer establishes criteria by which to assert a positive or negative judgment, or to argue the relative merits of two or more ideas or things. Classical arguments of evaluation (or quality) ask “is it just and expedient?” Such arguments might also assert  that a thing is (or is not) useful, effective, successful, innovative,  valid, important, etc.  The book or film review is a popular genre of evaluative writing. Evaluation Assignment 1 | 2 || Defense of Major Assignment


Issue Analysis: In an issue analysis, students are asked to explain the debate surrounding a contested issue. Because issues involve multiple perspectives, students must locate a wide range of sources in order to present each perspective fairly and thoughtfully. The ultimate goal of an issue analysis is to introduce the debate to an uninformed audience without favoring one argument. Find assignment sheets, scoring matrices, and sample issue analysis essays on the 1001 Assessment page.



Policy Argument: Also called a “proposal argument,” this assignment asks students to suggest a solution to a problem. This form of deliberative rhetoric addresses the question, “what are we going to do?” A successful proposal argument demonstrates not only that the problem is significant enough to merit attention, but that the proposed solution is the best one. Sample Student Essay



Presentation: For the presentation, students are asked to present their analysis of an issue, text, or image to the entire class. Some teachers ask students to work collaboratively, use technology such as Power Points, or use other visual media. Group Visual Presentation Assignment | Individual Oral Presentation Assignment



*Researched Argument (required final essay): The researched argument essay should include a debatable thesis and evidence to support each claim and sub-claim as well as a discussion that anticipates and addresses alternative points of view and/or counter arguments. Students should draw on six to ten sources with topic-appropriate mix of primary and secondary sources, including some scholarly ones. Because this is the essay that will be assessed, all sections should assign it as 1500 words, plus Works Cited (MLA). Students should turn in a digital copy to teacher in MSWord format. Click here for more information on the program's assessment model.

Assignment Sheet || Sample student essays 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 (scored) || Peer Review Guide



Research Proposal: The research proposal is designed to help students select a topic of interest and narrow their research down to a specific question or thesis. By the end of the proposal, students should be able to articulate the ultimate goal of their research as well as construct a potential model for argument. The research proposal is best used in sequence with other research-oriented assignments, such as the background essay. Assignment sheets 1 | 2 || Sample student essays 1 | 2



Rogerian Argument: Named for psychotherapist Carl Rogers, the Rogerian argument focuses on resolving conflict by honestly considering opposing views and striving to find common ground. It offers students an alternative to the belief that the point of argument is to defeat one's opponents. The structure of this argument emphasizes understanding and concession by placing them first in the essay, followed by a statement of the writer's position. Assignment with Resources