Unit III: Stasis Model
Requirements: APA format and style (length requirements stated in sections below)
In classical terms, the word “stasis” literally means a “slowing down” or a standstill. (“Stases” is
Greek for “stopping points.”) Similarly, in rhetoric, we use stasis theory to point to an issue that is
controversial and needs a decision or clarification before the argument can move forward. Stasis
theory, therefore, can be used to identify and work through impasses in an argument, particularly
impasses that result from a disagreement over the facts of the matter. A conversation with no agreed
upon middle ground becomes an “I’m right, you’re wrong” deadlock. Passing through multiple
stases helps weed out ineffective dialogue.
To complete this assignment, you will pick a very specific problem regarding social class in the
United States and use four stopping points to analyze the problem. The four stopping points we will
- Facts What happened or is happening? What are the relevant facts?
- Definitions How do we define the problem and its parts?
- Causes/Effects What are the causes and what are the consequences?
- Value Which are most important causes/effects to consider?
Since we are working with page lengths, and not a word count, the formatting
requirements for this assignment are very strict:
• One-inch margins
• Times New Roman, 12-point font
• Spacing should be exactly as in the example given on the Canvas assignment
page (i.e., include no extra spacing before/after sources, before/after
Include a title page. Do not include a running head, abstract, or references page. Incorrect
formatting will severely impact your grade.
Stopping Point: Facts (30 points)
You will compile three pages of facts about the problem. These pages will be single
spaced and will have a minimum of six sources. Two of these sources need to be academic
sources from our library databases.
These pages will basically be raw data; you do not need to interpret information or make
commentary. You may simply include relevant quotes or paraphrased information, in
addition to a reference in APA format. A sample entry would look like this:
Armstrong, N. (1987). Desire and domestic fiction: A political history of the
novel. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Writers like Richardson, Defoe, and Swift did not confine themselves to merely
fiction or their normal modes of writing.
“Conduct books addressed a readership comprising various levels and sources of
income and included virtually all people who distinguished themselves from the
aristocracy, on the one hand, and from the laboring poor on the other” (p. 62).
“Pamela can be supplanted by Austen’s minimalist representation precisely
because the rules… laid out in the conduct books could be taken for granted.
Austen could simply allude, where Richardson… had to elaborate for hundreds
of pages” (p. 63).
A concerted effort should be made to not compile facts at random; a good approach is to
try to answer specific questions: What is happening or did happen? How, why, when,
where, and by whom is the problem happening? Are there facts in dispute? What facts can
be agreed upon by all parties? (Don’t stop with these questions; the more relevant
questions you can think of, the easier your work will be.)
As an extremely general example, imagine we are exploring the issue of rising college costs.
We would want our facts to try to answer all of the questions surrounding the debate: What
constitutes higher education? How are most people paying for school? Why have costs risen
in the last five, ten, or twenty years? What types of schools are raising costs more than
others? What social groups are most impacted by higher education costs? What facts about
the issue are being disputed? What do people agree on? What are the economic implications?
Social implications? General health implications? Mental health implications? (We could
keep going. Once a problem area is selected, it becomes easy to tailor many questions to the
Stopping Point: Definitions (20 points)
In this section, you will define all of the terms and concepts associated with the problem.
Remember, the purpose of stasis is to try to agree upon—or at least understand—basic and
common principles; at this point, you need to define terms in a way that most sides of the
issue can generally agree. This section will be a minimum of one page, single spaced, with
one-inch margins. Do your best to create a list of as many terms as possible.
Imagine we are writing about something related to immigration: try to think of all the terms
and concepts that surround the issue. For example, immigration, deportation, selfdeportation, amnesty, ICE, undocumented worker, identification card, DACA, dreamer,
nativism, naturalization, nationalism, and so forth. The list goes on.
Use your sources to define these terms. Use in-text citations as appropriate. Again,
remember this is not the time for debate; try to assign definitions that most people can agree
Stopping Point: Cause and Effect with value (50 points)
This section will be in essay format and will be at least 900 words. Here are the details:
The cause and effect essay is your opportunity to begin to insert your own commentary and
judgment. While the causes and effects of a problem are frequently perceived as being
factual and not for debate, this perception is commonly not correct. You will describe the
causes and effects of your selected topic, and since there will be many, you will need to make
value judgments to determine which causes/effects to share. These values—or the
determination that one item is more important/relevant than another—are up for debate, so
you will need to write your essay in a manner that will persuade your reader that your
assessment of the causes and effects is correct. As Chapter 12 explains, when you write a
cause and effect essay, “you answer fundamental questions about the what and why of an
event or phenomenon” (Cooley, 2018, p. 417).
Your assignment is to write a 900- to 1000-word essay that does the following:
• Recognizes the immediate cause(s) of a problem as well as the remote cause(s)
• Emphasize the main cause(s) while acknowledging contributing causes (refer to the first
paragraph on page 418 to verify that the main cause is both “necessary and sufficient”)
• Does not confuse correlation with causation (see 418 & 419)
• Is very specific in presenting the effects of the problem
o Uses examples to make the effect real and meaningful to your reader
Additionally, you should:
• Prove to your reader that the illustrated causes and effects are true
• Indicate (as the book describes) if you will put a greater emphasis on addressing the
causes or the effects
• Make a claim regarding the main point of your essay
Your purpose is to convince your audience—your classmates—that your main point
regarding the causes/effects is correct. Your main point should be structured around your
value judgement of what in this conversation most merits attention.
Note: While the previous sections mostly list information, this section will be your own
writing and language. Present your ideas in essay form: use full sentences and paragraphs.
Use APA citation. A references page is not necessary, as long as each cited source is in the
facts portion of your stasis model.