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Audience: You must write with an awareness of the audience you chose. You have already researched and analyzed that audience, and now you must tailor your word choice, evidence, and tone to the expectations of that audience. (You may want to review

this video

from Lesson 11).

Evidence: This is a researched academic argument, so you must use evidence from the most reputable research you can find. Some topics will necessitate using popular sources: if you are using popular sources, make sure to frame them within your text in a way that highlights their credibility (for example, “according to computer scientists” vs. “according to mashable.com”). You will be writing to sophisticated audiences who will be persuaded only if you use highly credible evidence. Introduce and synthesize the evidence you provide. (See “Summarizing, Paraphrasing, and Quoting from Sources,”

Insider’s Guide

, pp. 94-98 (2nd edition) or pp. 71-74 (1st edition);

Genre: You will be writing to persuade your audience to accept your proposed course of action. One of the ways writers present such arguments is through the genre of the advocacy letter. The final version of your letter should comply with the formatting and length conventions of this genre. Make sure your rhetorical choices have precedent in the genre; if it doesn’t show up in the advocacy letter genre, it shouldn’t show up in your advocacy letter. (See sample Advocacy Letters in Lesson 10 and Lesson 13).

Structure: Advocacy letters have a specific structure, but that structure still requires an introduction and thesis, body paragraphs (containing reasons, implied assumptions, evidence, counterarguments, and rebuttals), and a conclusion. Use good paragraphing techniques to help your audience move easily through your argument. You may choose to use headers or bold some parts of your text, as long as you can base that decision in examples you’ve seen from other advocacy letters.

Thesis and Argument: Since you are writing an argument, you will need an argumentative thesis that contains a claim and a reason. Therefore, your thesis statement should 1) propose a solution that your audience can enact and 2) provide reasons for your recommendation. The thesis is most often the answer to your research question. (See Lesson 12).

Counterargument: In the body of your paper, you must also address the counterarguments to your claim, reasons, and implied assumptions in order to persuade your audience. The counterargument should address the audience’s resistance, concerns, or opposition to your position and/or your suggested plan of action. Concede where necessary; refute where you can. (See Lesson 11 and 12).

Documentation Style: Use the documentation style appropriate for the Advocacy Letter genre. Note that many advocacy letters use bibliographic footnotes or endnotes according to the Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS). You can learn more about CMOS in Reading 11.

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