Argumentative Research Paper



Helpful Hints

Assignment Requirements

Due Dates and Point Values







In successfully completing this assignment, you will be able to:

  • Research a topic in an in-depth manner
  • Use several sources to support a persuasive argument in a way that is relevant, logical, and effective
  • Explain and substantiate an extended written argument



1. To begin this paper, you must have already cleared your argumentative / persuasive essay topic. The topic must be something you choose to argue either for or against; it cannot just be an "informational" paper. It must be an persuasive paper.


2. Research your topic thoroughly. Find at least 8 sources to use in your paper, no more than 3 of which can be internet sources. Each source must be used at least once inside the paper; conversely, each source inside the paper must be listed in the Works Cited. Documentation is vital in a research paper; errors in documentation will severely affect your grade. As always, use MLA format when documenting.

Note: For this paper, you may use block quotes. However, you may not use more than two, and they should only be used when necessary.


3. This paper required an extended outline. It will not be enough to put roman numerals; you must break these down not only into your reasons, but into subpoints as well. We will go over how to present this during class. Outlines that are not detailed enough will not get more that half the credit points for the outline portion of the grade. Of course the outline must contain the thesis statement as well. While the points of the outlines do not have to be complete sentences, you thesis must be. It must be specific as to what side you are on in your argument.

Also, you must also get more specific as to your introduction and conclusion strategies in the outline. Note: You may have more than one paragraph for your introduction and conclusion, but they still must not be overlong. Introductions and conclusions that take more than a page and a half will generally be considered too long.

I recommend you have at least three reasons, but no more than five. However, the decision is yours. The guideline is: are must reasons sufficient to prove my argument and be developed within the contraints the word limit of 1900-2300 words.

4. You have a lot more freedom of structure in this essay; however, you still must write a paper that contains an introduction, a clear argumentative thesis statement, body paragraphs with support, and a conclusion. Don't forget to title it something creative.


5. As stated previously, use MLA format for the parenthetical documentation and the Works Cited page, as we have gone over in class. As always, BE CAREFUL NOT TO PLAGIARIZE. Also, for your print sources, you MUST make a photocopy of each page you have used and bring it physically to me (or scan it and send it to me) by classtime on the day it is due: the last day of class, May 2.

Additional Requirements: Highlight, underline, or otherwise indicate the passages you have used in your paper. Bring the sources in a folder with your name on it. Each of these will be worth technical points.


6. A Rough Draft will be due on Sunday the 27th at noon. This draft should contain all the required elements, including source and length requirements. I will be pre-checking these before peer reviews, and rough drafts that do not meet requirements will not get peer-reviewed. We will peer edit them in class on Monday and Wednesday....we definitely need two days for this. I will allow you to do extra peer reviews for extra credit.


Helpful Hints

  • When you are developing your argument, do not only give thought to what your reasons can be, but how far they need to be developed. The amount of development for each reason will determine the number of reasons you use
  • When developing your reasons, be careful not to be repetitive. The additional length is for more thorough arguments, not for more of the same.
  • Do not continually use the same source over and over again. If you find three or four paragraphs whose supports are all gleaned from the same source, you are relying too heavily on it. This is especially true if they are in a row. You have eight sources; make good use of all of them.
  • Rememger that you may not use more source material than your own explanation, and that all thesis statements and topic sentences must be your own. We've discussed proper use of quotation and paraphrase before, so I won't get into that.
  • Use transitions not only to divide reasons, but to subdivide them, so that we know clearly when you are moving to the next main point and not just continuing with another subdivision of the previous point
  • The title should not only make your topic clear, but your point of view on that topic
  • Don't forget to put your name in a heading!
  • This never changes: Remember that everything must be connected with logical reasoning and explanation, from support to reason to argument/thesis.
  • If you've had troubles with accidental plagiarism, check over your paraphrases very carefully. If you're not sure, it probably needs to go in quotation marks. Do not attempt to do sentence-by-sentence "paraphrasing." That never works.
  • Make sure your block quotes, if you use them, are not too long. A block quote that is more than half a page long is a block quote that is too long.


Assignment Requirements
How well you meet these requirements determines your grade. A good persuasive reseach paper will:

  • Have a clearly stated, argumentative thesis statement in the introduction
  • Have at least two clearly stated and fully developed reasons
  • Have direct explanations of why those reasons prove that your argument makes sense
  • Have at least 8 well-chosen, relevant academic sources, no more than 3 of which are internet.
  • Have explanation for every quotation, and have more explanation than quotation.
  • Have all sources documented in the paper, right after they are used!
  • Have exact words in quotation marks!
  • Have clear, logical organization and transitioning
  • Be focused - everything must go towards proving your thesis!
  • Have a separate Works Cited page that lists every source used in the paper - papers without this will not be accepted
  • Have a photocopy/printout of the pages you got your quotes/paraphrases off of (you don't need to copy the whole thing, but you can't just do the title page)- papers without this will not be accepted
  • Have sources that are highlighted with the passages you've used and that are brought in a folder


Due Dates:
Wednesday, April 16 by classtime: Extended Outline Due (30 pts)
Sunday, Apr. 27 at 10:00 pm: Rough Draft Due (60 pts)
Friday, May 2 at classtime: Final Draft Due (160 pts)

Maximum Total Score: 250 pts.


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