Students are the master’s level, according to experience, are already quite proficient at writing in English as a second language – ranging from the low advanced to superior levels (ACTFL scale). Experience has also shown that students can write information-driven content competently. But there are some problem areas that – in general – remain. In terms of content, integrating argument and critical dialog into academic papers, even those largely dealing with empirical questions, is often lacking. It is typical to find reports of what academics A, B, and C have written, but not a word about the issues they raise; no attempt is made to critically engage these issues.

           Thus we will in this course work on writing argumentative response – carefully reading and understanding the arguments made by an author, defining the problems raised by the argument, and coming up with your own response, justified by argument, written in the spirit of dialog to a audience of critical readers, done for the purpose of deepening understanding (not ‘winning’ the argument). We assume you can state your belief and justify it with arguments; that is not what we are doing. You are to understand another’s belief and their arguments, and respond in close dialog to these. There are also areas of writing style and paper structure that we will work on. To this end we will focus on some of the typical problems of academic writing, writing good introductions and conclusions, and designing as well as developing main body paragraphs.