Minimum: 1500 words
Maximum: 1800 words
DUE Friday 7/23 @ 11:30pm (to Moodle)
GOALS: Using much of the research you found in previous projects, create the Researched Argument essay in which you support your position using a good variety of quality sources. A minimum of four (4), but no more than 7 sources, should be used in your project. All sources should be listed in APA format on your References page. Likewise, if a source is listed on your reference page, there should also be a corresponding quote or paraphrase attributed to that source.
DESCRIPTION: The researched argument is a document in which you create a sound, valid argument using both your own position and the arguments of others. In order to do so, you will need data/sources; a thesis statement in which you state your position; your assertions about the data that let you prove that thesis; and your research, which gives context to your assertions.
THESIS STATEMENT: Project #4 should be a thesis-driven researched argument. Your thesis statement is the heart of your project. A common mistake is to ask the question that the thesis is meant to answer. “Why have some countries outlawed the use of high fructose corn syrup in their products?” is not, technically, a thesis. If you include the question in your paper, you should include the answer as well, because that’s where the argument is. A good thesis statement for this paper should contain 1) a position, 2) a guide to your evidence for that position, 3) a connection between the research and your topic. A question, or a statement of fact, is NOT a thesis.
The paper should:
• contain at least 1500 words (not including the reference page, title, or header), but no more than 1800 words.
• have an interesting/descriptive title.
• be thesis driven and have the thesis listed on your first page in BOLD PRINT.
• cite at least 4, but no more than 7 credible sources: Credible sources MUST include:
✓ 2 (two) scholarly articles in peer-reviewed academic journals. Using sources curated during your Bibliography project is acceptable as long as they are the correct kinds of sources.
✓ at least 2 (two) reputable mainstream (popular) publications (newspapers, magazines, etc.) such as the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle, USA Today, Washington Post, The Times-Picayune, The Atlantic, Sports Illustrated, National Geographic, etc.,
✓ no more than two (2) from official websites (i.e. NFL.com, PETA.org, HUD.gov, etc.)
• conform to APA formatting and citation conventions: Times New Roman or Arial, 12-point font, 1” margins, double-spaced, top right pagination; APA in-text citations and a properly formatted reference page. NO COVER PAGE, please.
Do not use someone’s blog or any **explanatory sources. Likewise, do not use more than 8 sources; 7 is plenty for a 1500+/- word paper. Remember, the main focus of any paper is the text itself and your argument regarding the issue. Your argument needs to have a home in your research (sources) and make clear reference to those sources. If you list something on your Reference page, it should also appear in your paper.
The Introduction: The introduction should be a relatively short, but solid, paragraph which includes your thesis. Remember, a paragraph should have AT LEAST 3 to 5 sentences. MAKE SURE your thesis statement is in BOLD print. Your main job here is to let your reader know what it is that you are writing about and the essence of your argument. If you want to start out with interesting facts, or a cool quote, that’s fine, but DO NOT begin with “In the modern world,” “in today’s society,” or other vapid clichés. Include your thesis in your introduction, and avoid having your introduction longer than a page. Make sure that your BOLDED thesis statement appears on the first page of your paper.
The Body: This paper is all about proving your thesis in a thorough argument of clearly stated evidence. In order to do that, you provide assertions, smaller argumentative statements which support your overall thesis and which you support with textual evidence and explain with commentary. This is known as the Assert Support Comment structure. Research papers operate on a modified form of this structure, which I call Assert Support Comment Support Comment. That is: Here’s my argument. I’m going to support it with things A, B, C, D.
• Assertion: Here’s point A, including not only what I think it means (assertion about topic) but a brief explanation of what it is. To begin, you need to make an assertion. This is going to be a simple statement that introduces the evidence you’re going to use to prove your thesis, such as “One way, Jones connects the dangers of high fructose corn syrup is . . .”
o Support: Here’s the primary text support for point A. This is where you quote your primary source. Don’t quote it all in one go—no need for large block quotations here. In fact, it’s better if you break up the quotations into small, manageable chunks.
▪ Comment: Here’s my commentary on point A. In this bit, you explain how the evidence proves your assertion, and how that plays into your thesis. This is the trickiest part of the whole operation, because it involves being very clever and saying things like “Riley’s research indicates” or “What this study highlights is…”
o Support: Here’s what the critics say about point A. Once you’ve made a clear statement on the meaning of your sources, it’s time to go to work on the critics. What have they said that can support your point? Remember to bring in critics who both directly support your point, and those who critique it; as it happens, blasting your potential critics in the paper makes for a much stronger paper.
▪ Comment: Here’s my evaluation of the critics’ arguments. And of course, that blasting would happen here. Defend, challenge, or qualify your sources: why do you agree or disagree with them, and what do they let you prove? You don’t have to pick sources that you agree with, and I encourage you to pick a source that you can argue against. This ‘argument’ makes for a more compelling read, and again, a stronger paper.
o Conclude the section: Tie all this information up and point it back to your thesis. What did this little exercise help you prove about your thesis? A good thesis should be not too broad, not too narrow, but just right to express your thoughts/ideas succinctly.
This process is a lot like saying “Okay, here’s what I was thinking … Here’s how I know that from the sources…Now, here’s why I brought that up…”
TIP: One more thing about evidence: please remember the old maxim “show don’t tell.” Audiences are more likely to believe your argument if you present them with the actual text. Paraphrase only goes so far, and should be used to set up your direct evidence. NO “I THINK, I FEEL, or I BELIEVE” statements because those are rooted in opinion. Avoid the I.
Under no circumstances should your paper rely heavily or entirely on summary and paraphrase. Likewise, avoid regurgitating word for word what the sources say about the matter. Use quotes effectively. Keep this process up until you wrap it all up in a nice conclusion that answers one important question: so what? That is, now that you’ve demonstrated that your thesis is true, explain why it’s necessary to do so. Avoid the I. This is not a personal narrative, but a researched argument where you posit your stance based upon solid research and argument.
Finding Research: Your research paper will hinge on both your reading (interpretation) of the issue and a number of critical and philosophical ideas. Acceptable sources should be:
1. an argumentative source that develops its argument based upon solid research, theory, experiments, surveys, etc. NOT opinion-based articles lacking substantial research.
2. published by someone besides the author—so, no blog entries, self-published articles, WordPress journals, and especially no Wikipedia. NO BOOKS, please. Scholarly articles are usually much more currant and timely.
3. a complete essay or article, so no random tirades from Sparknotes or Cliff’s Notes. Likewise, book reviews do not count, nor do abstracts.
4. scholarly, academic articles that have been peer-reviewed, that is, other scholars who also know what they are talking about must have evaluated the article.
5. Take publishing dates into consideration. While a 1969 article might be relevant and interesting, there are probably more recent things that have been published especially if your project involves law, science, and/or medicine.
Most articles that appear in an academic journal, and many things found via a library database search are okay, but only IF it’s in an academic journal (e.g. Poultry Science Quarterly, Modern Agriculture, PMLA, Respiratory Therapist Association of America, Science and Technology in the Workplace) and NOT a book review or simply an abstract for an article which you cannot obtain. Most of your sources can be found by searching our library’s databases.
**Explanatory sources are not appropriate for this project. Explanatory sources include encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), notes sites (Sparknotes), and—as far as anyone can tell—private websites, blogs, etc. Please note that it is a bad idea to rely solely on these sources for your argument. IF YOU USE SPARKNOTES, CLIFF’S NOTES, WIKIPEDIA, AND/OR DUBIOUS WEBSITES IN PLACE OF CRITICAL SCHOLARLY SOURCES, YOU WILL FAIL.
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