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The Definition OR Causal Argument

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My subject for this essay is:

Should Trump’s Wall be builded at Mexico border and I am supporting that it should not be builded since it is not going to solve the immigration problem.

The subject is “Trump’s Wall at Mexico Border”. For Assignment 2, you will construct a definition or causal argument. Consider your audience neutral, unless you are aware that you are taking a position contrary to popular belief. But even an educated, neutral audience will be skeptical; that is, they may not yet adhere to any one viewpoint on the issue, but they will be reading critically. No matter what, you should anticipate possible objections and carefully include appropriate acknowledgements of alternative views, along with necessary refutations and/or concessions. As part of your attempt to persuade your audience, remember to clearly state what is at stake in resolving your issue.

Learning Goals for the Definition/Causal Argument

  • To place your argument within an ongoing textual conversation; it should be clear to the reader that you are joining an existing debate. (Core Value 3)
  • To demonstrate the ability to write within a specific argumentative genre. (Core Value 3)
  • To select the most appropriate and best quality sources for your purpose. (Core Value 4)
  • To integrate sources into your writing effectively by introducing sources with signal phrases, deciding when it is best to paraphrase vs. quote, and citing sources properly. (Core Value 4)
  • To demonstrate an awareness of audience by providing necessary background information, anticipating objections, and recognizing potential differences you hold in beliefs and values. (Core Value 3)
  • To acknowledge that though writing may be persuasive, it may be impossible to draw indisputable conclusions. (Core Value 5)


There are two possible ways to construct a definitional argument based on your research:

  1. Identify an important, but potentially disputed term within your subject, and argue for the adoption of a specific definition of it. Explain what is at stake (i.e., the consequences of different definitions), and offer examples or cases to support your argument. This approach focuses on the criteria of a category. An example is the term “consent” used in part for classifying actions as sexual assault.
  2. Identify a controversial case you have encountered where the status of a person or thing within an important category is debatable. This approach focuses more on whether or not a specific phenomenon is a “match” for the criteria of a category, but it likely will mean interpreting those criteria. An example of this would be whether or not putting a child in beauty pageants constitutes “child abuse.”

In either case, you need to put thought into the source of your definition. If you are using an existing definition, it should be from a source or authority that your reader will respect and that gives you an edge (so consider a few before choosing one). If you must create your own definition, indicate to your reader why it is necessary to do so.


Within your general topic, identify an issue about the causes or consequences of a particular phenomenon and create a thesis that asserts which cause(s) or consequence(s) seem most relevant for better understanding and responding to the problem. Be careful to distinguish between types of causes (direct vs. indirect), to acknowledge other important causes/contributing factors, and to avoid inductive fallacies in your reasoning. To generate ideas, consider the causes or consequences of trends related to your topic, or the consequences of actions being taken or proposed.


  • Length: 900 to 1300 words.
  • Sources: minimum of two academically credible sources.
  • Original title.
  • Four-line header on first page containing student name, instructor name, course title and section number, date in European format, and the type of argument (e.g., Causal Argument). The four-line header goes on the first page only.
  • Typed, double-spaced with headers (name and page numbers in upper-right corner on all pages)
  • 12 pt. Times New Roman, 1” margins, double-spacing.
  • Properly formatted in-text citations and Reference page.