Research Argument Essay

ENG 1101
Researched Argument Essay Assignment Sheet

Arguments are attempts to influence another persons thoughts and/or behavior, and the argument essay is one of the most common writing assignments you will encounter throughout your academic careers.  There are several types of arguments the sort found in advertisements and other texts, those that occur around the kitchen table (or on Crossfire-style TV programs), and academic arguments.  You will be focusing on the final one, the academic argument, in this final 5-7-page essay for our class.

Most of us have experience with arguing; however, the verbal arguments we might have with our mothers at Thanksgiving or see on Fox News or CNN often focus on who is right regarding a specific issue. That’s why these arguments get very loud very quickly….so, while verbal arguments often become heated and unreasonable, the goal of an argument essay is the opposite: the argument must be specific, patient, reasoned, detailed, and supported with a variety of evidence.  As a result, this essay assignment has been designed to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to do the following:

Employ a variety of rhetorical strategies to appeal to your readers through the evidence you provide as well as the tone you adopt

Participate in critical research to find evidence as support for your argument; organized, in-depth, critical research is crucial to your success when arguing any position

Acknowledge and refute other positions related to your argument honestly and fairly

In order to craft this complex body of work into an effective essay, you must carefully, clearly, and logically argue a position related to the topic that I approved earlier in the term. You also will need to provide a context for your topic and excellent reasons your position is a valid one.  An effective argument is extremely complicated, so dont be afraid of or shy away from these complexities.  Take the time to research deeply, taking careful notes or making copies of those articles, chapters, or websites you find most valuable. 

This essay will be challenging because you must establish yourself as a writer who can be trusted.  To do this, you will need to illustrate within the essay that you have considered other positions carefully and are presenting them fairly.  You will need to find and use sources that dont simply support your own positions, evaluate those sources honestly and ethically, and then summarize those positions clearly and without bias to show that you understand competing positions.  You must deal with these other viewpoints, either by refuting them completely or in part, or by acknowledging they exist, because this is the only way you can present yourself as someone who has taken other views into consideration before deciding where you stand.  And until you do this, readers don’t have to take you seriously.

Final drafts should be:

5-7 pages in length (1000-1250 words without counting the works cited page)
Based on research from 1-2 primary sources and 3-5 secondary sources, which you will use effectively, ethically, and respectfully

Typed (12-point font in Times New Roman) and double-spaced with one-inch margins
Include in-text/parenthetical citations after all borrowed material within the text of the essay
Submitted with an MLA Works Cited page (this will be last page of the assignment; it does not begin where the essay ends… start a new page for the works cited)

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