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MLA Research Essay Assignment
Write an 8-10 page argumentative research essay (this does not include the works cited page) in MLA format that uses at least three scholarly sources as well as five additional credible sources.

Your audience for this essay is made up of your peers and instructor in this class.

Please keep in mind that this is a diverse class made up of different ages, backgrounds, and experiences. Your job is to appeal to this audience through tone, content, evidence, and style. Engage them; prove that your topic is significant and show them why they should seriously consider your argument.

Your readers will all be familiar with the content in The Curious Researcher, they will understand the conventions of research-based writing, and they will expect that you can correctly apply what youve learned about plagiarism, documentation, integrating sources, paraphrasing/summarizing, argumentation, evidence, drafting, revising, etc. It is in your best interest to carefully plan your essay and be strategic with how you choose to write it.

Formal Requirements
Your essay needs to be 8-10 pages long (this does not include the works cited page), double spaced, with page numbers, and in 12 point Times New Roman font. It also needs to include smoothly integrated, relevant, and properly cited quotations and/or paraphrases from at least three scholarly, peer-reviewed sources as well as five additional credible sources.

There will be two required peer review assignment before the final draft is due by the designated due date. Please pay attention to peer review due dates which will be posted on your weekly assignment handouts. The peer reviews are a good way to see examples from your peers, get feedback on your work, and figure out ways to improve your essay before turning in the final draft.

Things to Remember
Essays of argument and persuasion always have a specific goal, typically to get the readers to commit to a course of action or to understand more fully the writers position.  At the very least, your essay should be persuasive enough to get the reader to seriously consider what you have to say.

Argument and persuasion must take into consideration objections or counterarguments that the other side would offer.  You cannot ignore the opposition. Your essay must concede certain points; it must refute others.

Argumentative and persuasive essays in college writing require convincing reasons and evidence.  Typically, you need to support your position with facts or quotations or logical reasoning.  This is especially true if positions on the subject are debatable.

Argument and persuasion in college writing should not resort to inflammatory, emotional, or biased language or evidence.  The goal is never to win at all costs.
Questions to Consider
Do I write with a clear purpose and to a specific audience?

Do I have a strong thesis that is specific, debatable, clear, and original?

Does my thesis reflect my main points and do my main points support my thesis?

Do I use strong and varied evidence to prove that my argument is worth considering?

Is my topic manageable (have I focused enough to develop my ideas with detail)?

Have I organized my essay so that the movement of thought will make sense to my audience?

Have I provided clear transitional statements or markers as I move from one example to another?

Does my title invite readers into the essay, not simply state the topic?
Tips on How to Use Quotations
Use relevant quotations help set up or support your analysis or an opposing view.  Remember that when you quote material, you need to place the authors name and the page number the quote is taken from within parentheses: (Appiah 20).

Be careful that you dont just drop a quote into your essay.

Example: Plato is not the only classical author who understands the power of analogy.  We may. . .regard the family as the basic model of all political associations (Rousseau 60).  Analogies are powerful in that they compare something complex and conceptual with something familiar.

So, what is wrong with this example?  The connection between the ideas may be clear, but as the writer, it is your job to integrate the thoughts and ideas of others into your own writing seamlessly.  You need to set up the quote, provide the quote, and explain the quote.

Here is a better version of the previous example: Plato is not the only classical author who understands the power of analogy.  French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseu uses an analogy to make a point about the roots of government: We may . . . regard the family as the basic model of all political associations (60).  Rousseau uses analogy to explain similarities between the governed and the governing and the comparable relationships that exist within a family.  Analogies are powerful in that they compare something complex and conceptual with something familiar.

**Please refer to the MLA section in A Pocket Style Manual for examples on how to cite different sources in the text and on a separate works cited page.

The MLA section of A Pocket Style Manual and Appendix A in The Curious Researcher have information and examples on in-text documentation, formatting the essay, and creating a works cited page. They also include an example of an MLA research essay written by a student. Please refer to these resources frequently while you are writing your research paper.

The Online Writing Lab (OWL) from Purdue is an excellent resource for research, writing, and documentation:

There are a number of excellent resources available within D2L Content under the Academic Essay and MLA Documentation Resources module.

Use the Learning Commons or Drop-in Tutoring resource for real-time tutoring.

Post questions on the Raise Your Hand discussion forum or ask additional questions on either of the Peer Review discussion forums.

Schedule an appointment with your instructor or email her questions when you need help.

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