The Argumentative Research Essay

ASSIGNMENT: This semester you will write an argumentative research paper that defines, provides background on, and explores a subject that grows out of a theme from our reading of Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker. You will do this by locating a debate or controversy within your chosen theme, form a specific topic from within that debate, state a debatable position, and logically argue your claims. Your primary purpose is ultimately to convince your readers that your position is a valid and reasonable one. This research paper is worth 700 points, or approximately thirty percent (30%) of your final grade (i.e., a LOT). You should do your best to follow the Toulmin model of argumentation we reviewed to structure your paper. Required paper elements in detail: 1. Introduction: • Attention-grabbing opening commentary/anecdote. • The context of the topic/controversy you will discuss. • Your position and claim (stated explicitly in your two-part thesis statement). The introduction may also include any or all of the following: – Definition of your topic. – Important people/texts related to your topic. 2. Body: • The development of your thesis through: i. A logically reasoned argument developed by your researched source material: 1. Examples (facts, illustrations) 2. Testimony (quotations by experts) 3. Statistics 4. Personal experience ii. Counterclaim iii. Response (Note: counterclaim and response should be separate paragraphs/sections) The body may also include any or all of the following: – Brief background/history of your topic (if necessary). – Various sub-debates/controversies regarding your topic. 3. Conclusion: • Bring your paper full-circle. • Restate your thesis in different words. • Close with a thought-provoking ending and a call to action. 4. A properly formatted “Works Cited” page in meticulous MLA style (8th edition). Grading Criteria (in general terms): 1. Proper grammar, usage, and mechanics. 2. Sound thesis statement. 3. A logical argument that attempts to effectively convince your readers of your claim(s). 4. Variety of sources. 5. Quality of sources. 6. Apparent comprehension of the rhetoric of your opposition (through a counterclaim and effective rebuttal to that counterclaim). 7. Proper MLA parenthetical citations throughout. 8. Correctly formatted bibliography (MLA Works Cited page). ACADEMIC INTEGRITY (I.E. PLAGIARISM): You must cite anything you have quoted, summarized or paraphrased, but remember: you are writing from your own knowledge after many weeks of research; you will only add support where necessary (ideally no more than twenty to thirty percent of the paper). However, when in doubt, cite it! LENGTH 2,100-2,500 words (about eight pages total, not including Works Cited page). SOURCES: At least eight (8) sources are required including: two books (e-books are acceptable), one journal article, one website, and one alternative source (e.g., personal interview, film, radio transcript, survey, podcast, etc.) You may use the five sources from your annotated bibliography assignment as part of your final source list. STYLE: MLA 8 parenthetical citation and documentation style must be used.

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