2 Sample Refutation Paragraphs
(Each these samples have 2-paragraph refutation; some essays may only have a 1 paragraph refutation while other essays, like research papers, may require a much longer refutation)
Charter Schools Vs. Public Schools (School Choice)
By Mark Liles
Thesis: School choice turns out to not only be a bad idea; it’s also a violation of our constitution.
Refutation: ...[Introduce Opposing Arguments] Considering the many challenges facing public schools, it’s understandable that many people would be eager to pursue new options. Supporters of school choice point out that under the current public school system, parents with economic means already exercise school choice by moving from areas with failing or dangerous schools to neighborhoods with better, safer schools. Their argument is that school choice would allow all parents the freedom, regardless of income level, to select the school that provides the best education (Chub and Moe). Schools would then have to compete for students by offering higher academic results and greater safety. Schools unable to measure up to the standards of successful schools would fail and possibly close. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education, but the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole.
[Counter Arguments] One of the biggest dangers of school choice is the power behind large corporations specializing in opening and operating charter schools. Two notable companies are Green Dot, which is the leading public school operator in Los Angeles (Green Dot), and KIPP, which operates 65 schools in 19 different states [KIPP]. These companies represent a growing trend of privatization of public schools by large corporations. It is feared that these corporations could grow to a point that public control of education would be lost. Education policy would be left in the hands of entrepreneurial think tanks, corporate boards of directors, and lobbyists who are more interested in profit than educating students [Miller and Gerson]. [Begin Concluding] Education should be left in the hands of professional educators and not business people with MBAs. To do otherwise is not only dangerous, it defies common sense.
What I liked about this refutation: The writer calmly and clearly outlines the true concerns and reasons why people oppose the opinion. He makes sure the reader knows that he is outlining opposing viewpoints because he gives hints like "Supporters of school choice point out that..." or "Their argument is that...". This is a nice way for readers to be aware of what others think.
Also, towards the end of the first paragraph, and throughout the second paragraph, the writer spends time clearly attacking these opposing views. He helps the reader feel like the opposing views might SEEM good on the surface, but they are indeed not good enough. He helps the reader see this with hints like "One of the biggest dangers of school choice is..." or "It is feared that...". This paragraph particularly draws in any hostile readers; the writer cunningly draws them in by complimenting their views when he says "Activists within the school choice movement can be applauded for seeking to improve public education," but he immediately points out the flaws, saying that " the changes they propose would in fact seriously damage public education as a whole." Complimenting the opposing argument really invites all your hesitant readers; they’re not threatened, and they’re now more willing to listen to the arguments.
Finally, at the end of the refutation, there is a clear conclusion.
Safe Traveler Cards
Taken from College Writers pg. 733-734
........[Introduce Opposing Arguments] As attractive as Safe Traveler Cards or national ID cards are, they are not without drawbacks. For one thing, as Easterbrook notes, these cards would expedite security procedures only for travelers who do not mind volunteering such information to obtain a card. Moreover they would not prevent passengers with "clean" backgrounds from bringing weapons or explosives on board, as was the case in the September 11 attacks. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that some people believe that these cards would deprive people of their privacy and that for this reason, their disadvantages outweigh their advantages (168).
........However, there are many who disagree with these contentions. [Acknowledge Valid Parts] While national ID cards could lessen a person's anonymity and privacy, [Counter Argument] this is a small loss that would be offset by a great increase in personal security. To Dershowitz--a self proclaimed civil libertarian--this tradeoff would be well worth it. According to Dershowitz, the national ID card would be only a little more intrusive than a photo ID card or social security card. Best of all, it would reduce or eliminate the need for racial profiling: "Anyone who had the [national ID] card could be allowed to pass through airports or building security more expeditiously, and anyone who opted out could be examined much more closely" (590). Such cards would enable airport security officials to do instant background checks on everyone. [Begin Concluding] The personal information in the system would stay in the system and never be made public. The only information on the card would be a person's "name, address, photo, and [finger]print" (Dershowitz 591).
A position paper is an essay that presents an arguable opinion about an issue – typically that of the author or some specified entity. Position papers are published in academia, in politics, in law and other domains. The goal of a position paper is to convince the audience that the opinion presented is valid and worth listening to. Ideas for position papers that one is considering need to be carefully examined when choosing a topic, developing an argument, and organizing the paper.
Position papers range from the simplest format of a letter to the editor, through to the most complex in the form of an academic position paper. Position papers are also used by large organizations to make public the official beliefs and recommendations of the group.
Position papers in academia enable discussion on emerging topics without the experimentation and original research normally present in an academic paper. Commonly, such a document will substantiate the opinions or positions put forward with evidence from an extensive objective discussion of the topic.
Position papers are most useful in contexts where detailed comprehension of another entity's views is important; as such, they are commonly used by political campaigns, government organizations, in the diplomatic world, and in efforts to change values (e.g. through public service announcements) and organisational branding. They are also an important part of the Model United Nations process, and are used in the European Union.
In government, a position paper lies on somewhere between a white paper and a green paper in that they affirm definite opinions and propose solutions but may not go so far as detailing specific plans for implementation.
In international law, the term for a position paper is Aide-mémoire. An Aide-Mémoire is memorandum setting forth the minor points of a proposed discussion or disagreement, used especially in undiplomatic communications.
- Bond, Michele T. (September 14, 1998), Public Diplomacy, Defense Technical Information Center
- Newsom, Doug; Haynes, Jim (2004), Public Relations Writing: Form and Style, Thomson Wadsworth, ISBN 0-534-61296-2
- Sanders, Marianne; Tingloo, Andrée; Verhulst, 3=Hans (2005), Advanced Writing in English: A Guide for Dutch Authors, Coronet Books Inc, ISBN 90-5350-761-2
- Steely, Mel (2000), The Gentleman from Georgia:The Biography of Newt Gingrich, Mercer University Press, ISBN 0-86554-671-1
- ^Sanders, Tingloo & Verhulst 2005, p. 11, "The simplest form is the letter to the editor... The most complex type of position paper is the academic position paper in which arguments and evidence are presented to support the writer's views."
- ^An example of a position paper published by an organization: Information Literacy: A Position Paper on Information Problem Solving, American Association of School Librarians
- ^Steely 2000, p. 186, "Through the use of position papers, telephone briefings, audio and video tapes and personal appearances Newt was able to share his ideas, ... ."
- ^Government position papers, Brake: the Road Safety Charity, retrieved 2008-08-24
- ^Bond 1998, "..., writing position papers and talking points, ... are examples of non-classified work which is carried out at virtually every diplomatic post."
- ^Newsom & Haynes 2004, p. 163, "Another special area is the use of position papers as the locus for image ads and public service announcements (PSAs) for an organization."
- ^How to Write a Position Paper, United Nations Association of the United States of America, archived from the original on April 10, 2008, retrieved 2008-08-25