The goal of the Researched Argument is to conduct research and write an academic argument based on an issue that matters to you within the theme of our course: “(higher) education, civic engagement, and democracy”. That issue should arise from a community to which you belong, and, ideally, your essay should allow you to contribute to the dialogue about that issue you are most interested in exploring and in which you would like to take part. (Topics must be approved by professor.)
Throughout the next several modules, you will be building on all the knowledge and skills you’ve accumulated throughout the semester to tackle a significant academic research project. This project will require you to review past readings, revisit skills from previous papers, and to understand concepts we’ve talked about throughout the semester.
This project will require time, focus, and a lot of research, reading, and writing. Use the discussion boards and pre writing and other assignments to your advantage throughout this project. Ask for help, get feedback, do the work.
In the coming modules, we’ll look at academic research to help us understand the various components of an academic research paper, but certainly ours will not be as extensive as some of the peer-reviewed, scholarly reports we might consult and use in our own paper. However, the researched argument does have several characteristics.
Below, I have outlined the various elements of a researched argument and the various questions you should consider. While the elements work in the order they are listed, you should include only what is pertinent to your argument, and organize it according to what works for the logical flow of your paper.
In the coming weeks, you will be asked to submit a research proposal, an annotated bibliography, and outline, and drafts of your paper. No final papers will be accepted that have not moved through this drafting process. You must secure instructor approval to change the issue of your researched argument, and you will be required to submit a new version of this assignment.
Here are the guidelines for the paper:
When completed, your semester paper will be 7-9 pages with a Works Cited page. (The Works Cited page is not included in this page count. Any papers that come in at less than 7 full pages will not be considered for a passing grade.)
Your researched argument should include 6-9 sources to support your argument.
At least 4 sources should come from scholarly, peer-reviewed books or journals
If you use popular sources (internet or print), those sources should be credible and properly vetted
Your paper will conform to MLA style and format
You will carefully follow the MLA guide instructions for citing your sources in text, as well as constructing a works cited page
You should properly summarize, paraphrase, and quote your sources to avoid plagiarizing
The focus of the paper should be your argument, with your sources used only to support, illustrate, or provide examples for your argument
To be able to pass this class, you must earn a C or better on the researched argument. If you earn below a C on the paper, you will automatically be issued an F for the course, no matter what your grade in the class is at the time. (See syllabus.)
If any instances of plagiarism are found in your paper, you will automatically be issued an F for the paper and an F for the course.
Introduce your topic and state as clearly as you can your
argument (thesis) regarding that topic.
• Identify the important aspects of the problem
• Define the key terms in the issue (for example, “homelessness” or “freedom”
are terms that must be specifically defined within the context of your paper).
Put most simply, your task in this part of the researched argument answer as fully as you can the following essential question about your issue: What is the problem or issue?
Describe the origins and causes of the controversy you have chosen to write about:
• What are the historical dimensions of this controversy? That is, where does
the issue come from? What started the controversy?
• What are the causes of this problem?
Put most simply, your task in this paper is to answer as fully as you can the following essential questions about your issue: How did it begin and what causes it?
Get into the substance of your argument by evaluating what is at the heart of your controversy. It is in this part of your paper that you put forth your opinion regarding the issue in an attempt to persuade your reader about its nature. Listed below are some questions for you to consider. Answering those questions will help you clarify what it is you’re actually arguing about.
• What makes it a good or bad thing?
• Should it be sought or avoided?
• Is it right or wrong?
• Is it better or worse than something else?
• Is it more or less desirable than any alternative?
Address what should be done regarding the issue you are addressing. It is in this part of your draft that you put forth your opinion and/or proposals regarding the issue in an attempt to persuade your readers to pursue a course of behavior or action. Here are some key questions to consider:
• Should some action be taken?
• What actions or policies are possible or desirable?
• How will the proposed actions or policies change the current state of affairs?
• How will the proposed changes make things different? In what ways? For whom?
• In what ways are your proposals different/similar/better than others that have
This section should include relevant rebuttals to your argument. How might people challenge your argument? What relevant concerns do they have about your proposals? How do you respond to those claims?