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ENC 1101 (Ojeda)- Documented Argument Assignment: Step 3: Narrowing Your Topic

This guide will help students complete Professor Ojeda's documented argument assignment

Constructing an Argument

Fracking is a broad topic.  As you gather background information on your topic consider the 5Ws: What, Who, When, Where & Why.

What?  Consider the issue and how you wll state it.

Who?  Who are the stakeholders and who is impacted?

Where? Consider the geographical location. Local, national, international, or other?

When?  Does your topic require only current research or do you need to provide historical information as well?

Why?  Be able to describe why this issue is important

List Key Points

Fracking Points
Pro Con
Economic and employment boost in fracking areas Contaminates ground water
Lower dependence on foreign fuel Contributes to global warming
Lower natural gas prices Causes earthquakes

A background search on fracking will quickly turn up some of the information listed in the table above. Based on these points and the 5Ws, a research focus can be developed that draws from information found during background research.  The following are just two of many possible approaches.  Either of these could be made even more specific by focusing on perhaps just one state, such as Oklahoma for instance.

  • "The United States should implement stronger regulations for the hydraulic fracturing industry due to its impact on the local and national environment." To support this argument, the three con points in the above table can be developed using supporting sources found during research that verify these points.  The argument should also include a rebuttal to some of the pro points or illustrate how the environmental risks outweigh the benefits of fracking.
  • "Hydraulic fracturing provides economic benefits to the local, state, and national economies in the United States."  To support this approach, sources proving these points will need to be found and used for the argument as well as sources that rebut the environmental issues.