Assignment – Critical Thinking & Evaluating Arguments

One of my favorite assignments to do when prepping for the Argumentative Essay is a jury duty assignment. In this assignment, you will participate in a mock trial by evaluating a claim/case and its evidence. As you are evaluating the case and two sides of the argument, think about how the side of the Prosecution and the side of the Defense uses the rhetorical appeals in the case. Think about how the case is affected by logos, pathos, and ethos.

Jury Duty & Argumentative Essays?

The next writing assignment you will get will be the Argumentative essay. In this essay, you will choose a debatable topic, take a stance on the topic, then make a claim. Once you make a claim, you will then use evidence to prove your claim. (For example, you will make a claim by taking a side on topics such as: Is the death penalty effective? Or, should animals be used for research? Or, should college athletes be paid.)

In this jury duty assignment, I am picking the topic. You will be evaluating the claim of two lawyers, a Prosecution lawyer and a Defense lawyer. The Prosecution believes the defendant in the case is guilty and will present their witnesses/evidence to prove their side. If this case were set up as a mini outline, it will look like this:

      • Opening Statement – think of this as an introduction paragraph. The “thesis” would need to be added by either side with the statement of guilty or not guilty plus the three reasons why.
      • Prosecution Witnesses – there are three witnesses. Think of the witnesses as the three body paragraphs.
      • Closing Arguments – The closing argument in this case includes a counter argument, rebuttal and conclusion. In the argumentative essay, the counter argument and rebuttal are separate paragraphs from the conclusion.

The Defense believes that the defendant in this case is not guilty. The outline for the Defense will look the same, except the witnesses will all be Defense witnesses.


  • Open the document – downloadBe sure to read all the information.
  • You will be evaluating the information presented in a mock jury case and responding to the evidence/witnesses. This is a 100 point assignment. Please be sure to answer in complete sentences. Each 8-point questions should be answered in at least 2-3 sentences. Each 5-point question should be answered in at least 1-2 complete sentences.
  • Save the document on your computer. When you have finished the assignment, click the “Submit Assignment” button on this page.
  • Upload the document from your computer.
  • Click the “Submit Assignment” button again.

*Please be sure to include your Course Name and Course Number on all assignments.

How to answer questions in complete sentences

The video below explains how to answer questions in complete sentences. This assignment may only need steps #1 and steps #2.

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