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Argument & Thesis Statements

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Rhetorical Mad Libs

In this activity, student groups experiment with different rhetorical appeals and strategies of argumentation (assigned randomly) to write a fake letter to a specific audience.

Rhetorical Analysis Thesis Workshops

These two activities are designed to introduce students to the idea of a thesis statement for a rhetorical analysis essay and provide structured peer feedback on their draft thesis statement.

The Empath, the Sweetheart, and the Skeptic

This innovative modification of a peer response activity asks students to pitch their thesis statements to each other in small groups, with respondents playing the roles of an active listener (empath), a "Sweetheart" (someone who really loves the thesis statement), and then the Skeptic (someone critical of the thesis statement).  

Identifying Warrants or Assumptions

This activity is designed for students to work through the warrants and assumptions they may have for their arguments and identify possible gaps at the early stage of the research process. They can use this activity to consolidate the research process and locate useful sources and materials to formulate a coherent argument.

Evolving Your RA Argument

In this workshop, students apply the Evolving Thesis method to their RA pre-write, using the pre-write as a foundation to develop their first working thesis. 

Visualizing the Argument

Through creative use of the whiteboard, this activity challenges students to think creatively about their developing research arguments to re-assess what they truly wanted to argue in their upcoming RBA.

The Elevator Pitch

This speaking activity encourages students to focus their argument by asking them to construct a pithy, brief "pitch" that they iteratively revise after delivering.

The Elevator Pitch with Peer Response

This activity helps students continue to develop their focus and argument for their RBAs. It is intended to show students that research is an ongoing process.