The gold medal award in women’s downhill skiing from the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Three athletes stand on the pedestal, holding their skis over their heads in triumph.

Source: Women’s downhill skiing at 2010 Olympics, beachpiks, Flickr

It’s your turn to test your knowledge and skill in analyzing the value of data, facts, and ideas when you’re writing a persuasive essay. For the next exercise, read the thesis statement and check all the boxes that could be used effectively in an essay on the given thesis. Note: Check the boxes in order.

  1. Thesis Statement: Minority voters must have equal access and opportunities to vote at polling locations.

    Which note represents the best information to use?

    Note #1 Note #2
    We have arrived at a point no one envisioned in 1965. The right to vote no longer means simply the right to enter a polling booth and pull the lever.

    (Source: Law and Policy, Vol 10, issue 1, January 1988)
    Election results further caution us that even when numerical equality in the voting population is appropriately calculated, such a population proportion is not always sufficient to elect minority candidates.

    (Source: Where Votes Count: Affirmative Action and Minority Voting Rights, Harvard Univ. Press, 1987)

  2. Note #1
    So far, you're correct!

    Note #2
    Correct! Both notes could be correct and could be used to discuss what has happened as minorities have achieved equal access.

  3. Thesis Statement: Education is the most powerful tool for children to lift themselves out of poverty and to participate fully as citizens.

    Which note represents the best possible data to use?

    (Source for all three notes: UNICEF website)
    Note #1 Note #2 Note #3
    In the aftermath of war, often nothing can make a child feel more secure than having a school to go to. After the Rwandan genocide, 800,000 people were dead and 95,000 children were orphaned. Many children had witnessed horrible violence or were forced to commit atrocities. For these children, going back to school meant a return to normalcy. So UNICEF developed its School-in-a-Box kit, a portable classroom with all the supplies needed to hold a class anywhere. Since then our School-in-a-box kits have been distributed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, after Hurricane Katrina, and to earthquake survivors in Haiti. Today, school kits are being delivered to children trapped in emergency situations in Ivory Coast, the Libyan border, and Japan. Semi-permanent schools are being built in post-emergency zones in Haiti and Pakistan.

  4. Note #1
    So far, you're correct!

    Note #2
    So far, you're correct!

    Note #3
    Correct! All three are possible sources because they all suggest ways for children to go to school.

  5. Thesis Statement: States should not be required to honor handgun permits from other states.

    Which note represents the best possible idea to use?

    Note #1 Note #2 Note #3
    “The right to defend yourself and your loved ones from criminals is fundamental, and it should not be extinguished when you cross a state border,” said Representative Cliff Stearns (R-FL).

    (Source: PilotOnline)
    Dennis Henigan, Acting President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said, “It’s deplorable that the first major gun legislation passed by a house of Congress since the Tucson shootings is one that would make it easier for the Jared Loughners of the world to pack heat on our streets and in our communities. It’s deplorable that they did this so soon after Gabby Giffords shared her remarkable and moving comeback story. She and all gun violence victims deserve better from Congress.”

    (Source: Opposing Views)
    “This would create a lowest common denominator approach to public safety that would increase the threat to New Yorkers, impede the ability of law enforcement to do its job and undermine the will of our citizens as expressed through their duly elected state legislators,” New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote.

    (Source: Capital Tonight at YNN website)

  6. Note #1
    Try again.

    Note #2
    So far, you're correct!

    Note #3
    Correct! Note #1 wouldn’t work because it argues the other side of the issue. Notes #2 and #3 discuss how handgun violence would increase if permits were honored across state lines.