Research-based argumentative essay



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General Description: The second major assignment for this course is a research-based argumentative essay. Your topic must be arguable/controversial, and supportable by research. Between six and eight sources are required for this essay, at least two of which must come from peer-reviewed, academic journals. Length and Formatting: The essay should be typed, double spaced (2.0 in MS Word), using standard (one-inch) margins and a 12-point, Times New Roman font. It should be 6 to 7 pages in length and follow APA stylistic conventions. Assignment Purpose: The purpose of a research-based argumentative essay is to persuade the reader that your thesis or reasoned point of view is correct. It is a way to advance a thesis that you have carefully developed, using logical arguments and evidence that you have uncovered via research. Unlike Essay One, however, you will be conducting preliminary research to identify a significant issue related to your assigned topic. Reading extensively on the topic should allow you to develop an original angle of vision on the topic and, thus, a thesis that is compelling and defensible with evidence from your sources. Once you’ve done that, another wave of research will help you establish a strong, focused body of research. As with Essay One, another purpose of the essay is for you to demonstrate the academic skills of paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting information, developing arguments, and providing evidence from sources to support your thesis. Use of Sources: All sources must be credible and published by reputable media companies. Between six and eight sources are required for this essay, at least two of which must come from peer-reviewed, academic journals. Development of the Essay: Your essay will be developed through class workshops, peer feedback activities, and a conference with your teacher to discuss either an outline or a draft of your essay. Percentage of Course Grade: 25 percent General Organizational Guidelines/Tips: Your essay should include the four parts described below. Here, these parts are numbered for convenience, but they should not be numbered in your essay. If you develop transitions properly, one paragraph should flow smoothly into the next. 1.     Introduction (1 paragraph)   Purpose: To create interest in the topic, provide contextual information, and state your thesis. Elements of the introduction:   • An opening sentence or passage that creates interest for the reader in the topic. • Information that provides a context for the topic. For example, a brief explanation of a theory or issue and why it is significant is often provided as a “frame” for the reader. • Definitions of key terms that may not be familiar to the reader.       • A statement of your thesis at the end of the introductory paragraph (required). 2.     Background Paragraph/Definition of Key Terms (optional) Purpose: To assist the reader in understanding the key points of your paper.  • Background information expands upon the points stated in your introduction but is not the main focus of the paper. Sufficient background information helps your reader determine if you have a basic understanding of the research problem being investigated and promotes confidence in the overall quality of your analysis and findings.   3.     Body Paragraphs that Provide Supporting Evidence   Purpose: To prove that your thesis statement is true. Include as many paragraphs as you need to provide a complete argument that supports your thesis, but make sure you clearly demarcate the sections of your paper either through clear transitional language (“signposts”) and/or by using subheadings. Elements of the body paragraphs that provide support: • A topic sentence that states the main point of each paragraph. This sentence should “echo” the thesis statement and provide support for it. • An explanation of the topic sentence. • Supporting evidence: the specific reasons, examples, facts, statistics, quotations, etc. that support your topic sentence. • Explanation and/or analysis of the evidence: How should the reader interpret this evidence? How does the evidence prove the point you are trying to make in this paragraph based upon your analysis? • Concluding sentence (optional): End your paragraph with a concluding sentence that reasserts how the evidence provided helps prove that your thesis is true. 4.     Body Paragraph that Provides a Counterargument and Rebuttal   Purpose: To anticipate your reader’s objections and respond to them. By including a “naysayer” and responding with a rebuttal, you as a writer show that you can consider other perspectives, thus strengthening your position. The counterargument and rebuttal often appear in a single paragraph at the end of an essay, just before the conclusion. Depending on your thesis, however, this section can be longer than one paragraph and may appear at virtually any place in your essay.   5.     Conclusion: Your “So What” Paragraph   Purpose: A good conclusion reminds the reader of your thesis, main arguments, and supporting evidence while illustrating that you have thought critically and analytically about the issue. Keep the following points in mind. • Your conclusion should not simply restate your introductory paragraph. If your conclusion says almost the exact same thing as your introduction, it may indicate that you have not done enough critical thinking during the course of your essay (since you ended up right where you started). • Your conclusion should tell us why we should care about the ideas you have expressed in your essay. What is the significance of your thesis? Why is it important to you as the writer? What should the reader take away from your essay? • Your conclusion should create a sense of movement to a more complex understanding of the topic of your essay. By the end, you should have worked through your ideas enough so that your reader understands what you have argued and is ready to hear the larger point (i.e., the “So what?” that connects your topic to something even greater). • Vivid, concrete language is as important in a conclusion as it is in the rest of your essay— perhaps more essential because the conclusion will leave the reader with a final impression of the validity of your arguments. Do not leave the reader with the impression that your argument was vague or unsure. Be definitive and state your final thoughts boldly.

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