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Research Argument Paper Assignment
For this assignment, you will write a 1500–2000-word research essay that responds to this
question: What can be done to make the world a better place? Choose an interesting and
significant problem, issue, or social topic that you have an opinion on; an argument that someone
can disagree with. You will be expected to use a variety of sources to develop your ideas and
persuade your reader. A good research paper should do the following:
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Pose an interesting and significant problem
Respond to the problem with an arguable thesis
Use sources purposefully and ethically
The following types of research might be incorporated into your essay:
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Primary AND Secondary sources
Qualitative AND Quantitative data
Scholarly sources
Popular media sources relevant to your topic
In an argumentative essay, the cornerstone of the essay is choosing a nuanced side of an issue
and defending your argument. In developing your topic for the research paper, consider an issue
or debate you are passionate about. Your goal is to further the discussion on that topic by
focusing on a significant point of contention, a piece of the issue that is under-addressed, or a
perspective that, in your opinion, has not adequately been explored. You will develop an
argument about this topic, but you should aim for it to be nuanced and complex. Your goal is to
persuade your reader to agree with you.
You will begin by investigating a specific research question with a narrow focus. Your thorough
research of multiple sources, and full analysis of your findings, will be the foundation from
which you develop your essay. Your sources should be used as evidence to support, contradict,
or expand on your ideas, and your essay must include extensive analysis around the question you
explore.
Your paper should follow this criteria:
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1500-2000 words, double-spaced, 12-point font Times New Roman (standard one-inch
margins)
You should use a minimum of 5 sources: at least 1 primary and at least 4 secondary
MLA citation style
Important dates:
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Annotated bibliography due July 24 at 11:59 PM
Rough Draft due July 26 at 11:59 PM
Final Draft due July 31 at 11:59 PM
Tips for an effective research paper:
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A difficult part of the research essay, often, is narrowing your focus to something
manageable. Think through the scope of your research question before you begin
researching and drafting. We will work on brainstorming and narrowing topics in class.
Clearly state your thesis, which should be your answer to the research question. The body
of your paper should provide evidence to support and further your thesis, in a logical,
fully developed, and consistent manner. For each subtopic, be sure to articulate in your
text how that subtopic ties into and furthers your overall argument.
Don’t just regurgitate research information by quoting or summarizing sources! You need
to provide your own arguments and analysis by synthesizing the information and weaving
them into a full conversation around the topic. Think of it like you’re listening to a
conversation on this topic, and then preparing to present your own opinion. Who do you
agree or disagree with? Why? What evidence supports your idea? What evidence might
contradict your opinion?
Use quotes selectively. When you do include quotations, be sure to explain,
contextualize, and use them in your analysis. Be sure to cite your sources, too.
Use a variety of relevant sources. For the most part, your sources should be scholarly and
recent. They should also demonstrate a range of potential views/perspectives on the topic.
Whether or not a source is appropriately recent depends on your topic. For example, if
you’d like to write about public school systems, keep in mind that the Common Core was
introduced in 2008, so any research before 2008 may not be relevant to current problems.
If you’re writing about American foreign policy, research from before 9/11 won’t be as
relevant, because that was a very significant, shaping moment in American history.
CATEGORY 15-20 points
Thesis
Exceptional
statement/Topic introduction that
grabs interest of
reader and states
topic.
10-15 points
Proficient
introduction
that is
interesting and
states topic.
Thesis/topic is
clear and
Thesis/topic is
exceptionally clear, arguable
well-developed, and statement of
position.
a definitive
statement.
Paper is
Information
exceptionally
relates to the
researched, contains main topic.
at least 5 sources
5-10 points
0-5 points
Basic introduction that Weak or no
states topic but lacks introduction of
interest. Thesis/topic is topic.
somewhat clear and
arguable.
Paper’s purpose
is unclear.
Thesis/topic is
weak or
missing.
Quality of
Research
Information relates to Information has
the main topic, but few weak or no
details and/or examples connection to
are given. Shows a
the thesis.
total; the sources
Paper, is well- limited variety of
References are
support the thesis
researched in sources. References are not cited
argument in a logical detail and from not cited correctly.
correctly.
manner. References 5 good sources.
are correctly cited. References are
correctly cited.
Argument and Exceptionally
Consistent
Some connections
Limited or no
Analysis
critical, relevant and connections are made between evidence connections
consistent
made between and thesis. Some
made between
connections made
evidence and analysis. Argument is evidence and
between evidence
thesis.
weak with a lot of
thesis. Lack of
and thesis. Excellent
holes in logic and
analysis.
analysis. Argument Good analysis. information, missing Argument is
uses ethos, pathos, Argument is
ethos, logos, and
difficult to
and logos to
pathos.
follow with no
somewhat
persuade the reader convincing and
ethos, pathos,
effectively.
and logos.
effective, but
has some holes
in logic or
information.
Essay is organized in Essay structure Essay is disorganized Essay structure
an effective structure is good, but a and confusing, but still is impossible to
that builds on itself little unclear or manages to express the follow, too
and is clear to the
confusing.
necessary information. confusing for
There may be
the reader to
Organization reader. Every
paragraph has a clear sections with
understand the
purpose and
unclear
argument.
argument.
purposes.
Writing
Writing is clear and Most ideas are Many ideas require
Paper does not
relevant, with no
stated clearly clarification, are off- meet the
grammatical and/or and are related topic or have little
criteria for the
spelling errors –
to the topic,
relevance to the thesis. assignment (too
polished and
with only minor Many grammatical
short or
professional.
grammatical
and/or spelling
incomplete, too
Reference, citations and/or spelling errors; challenging to long, and/or
and images are
errors.
read, poor writing flow. completely offproperly formatted. References,
Improper citations.
topic).
citations and
References and
images are
citations are
adequate.
missing.

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