At the beginning of my Emory career, I did not have the opportunity to write any argumentative or persuasive essays. I wanted to use this expository essay as an opportunity to communicate my opinion and the facts of the opioid epidemic, without bias in clear rhetoric. I wanted to write this essay for the general public to engage with a topic that is often misportrayed by the general news media. Throughout my essay, I tried to use a direct tone, yet simultaneously engage the public with a more scholarly, educated tone. One of the faults of the current news media when discussing the opioid epidemic is that it often discusses personal anecdotes and stories rather than addressing facts and statistics.
In my investigation of the opioid epidemic, I wanted to use an array of different sources in order to create a sound argument with different perspectives. I first investigated typical news media sources such as CNN and Vox. Then, I read scholarly articles from JSTOR and the CDC. This strategy of using a variety of scholarly sources strengthened my writing process. When I decided to write about the opioid epidemic, it did not occur to me that I would be reading many medical journals, more specifically articles from the CDC and the JAMA. By reading medical journal abstracts, I learned how to uncover the most important parts of 30-page journals to incorporate them in my paper.
With regard to my writing, the formulaic process of writing this essay allowed me to be more careful and efficient when writing my final essay. Creating a source assessment of five different types of sources, particularly the scholarly article, allowed me to investigate sources that I would not usually consult. The series of source assessments allowed me to be extremely specific when reading an article. Rather than reading an article once or twice, I had to answer crucial questions with regard to each individual source. Within the source assessments, the questions provided me with content to incorporate throughout my essay. For example, in my assessment of the newspaper story, I described the audience of the article. “The article intends to bring attention to the widespread, growing number of adolescents and young children who are facing accidental deaths due to opioids. The article states that ‘Prescription opioids accounted for 73% of the deaths, but heroin killed nearly 1,900 (about 24%) of those age 15 to 19’ (Ravitz).” I might have otherwise missed the importance of this particular fact if I had not done an in-depth analysis due to the source assessment.
This essay has provided me with helpful preparation for essays I will write in the future. Until writing this essay, I thought that my high school had prepared me for writing essays with detail and specific attention. The source assessment that we completed prior to writing the essay allowed me to delve into sources in a way I had not before. In the future, I will use the questions outlined in the source assessment when writing. This will allow me to better evaluate the information I encounter by attempting to avoid my confirmation bias and to check the validity of a source