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ENG-106 Online Composition II Research Assignment
COMPOSITION II Argumentative / Persuasive Research Paper
Research a News Topic: The Big Picture
Research Objectives
Conduct research on a narrowed-down topic that explores a current issue in the news in
more depth, possibly including the topic’s history and long-term impact.
Like all other Composition II paper topics, support an argumentative/persuasive claim.
Take notes from at least six credible sources.
Synthesize notes from credible sources into a well-organized research paper in MLA format
with in-text source citations and Works Cited page.
Cite sources using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format of documentation.
Incorporate at least one visual such as a photo or chart from a source, using proper MLA
citation in a caption.
This paper is worth 200 points and word count is at least 1,500 words (approximately 5 to 6 pages
double spaced). Word count length does not include Works Cited (source list).
Important: Find an argumentative/persuasive claim to your topic so that your paper isn’t only
informative facts. Your claim must support a side, not objectively present both or several sides of a
Topic Ideas
Below are example topics for some ideas for your own; these stories were in the news spring 2021
to serve as examples only.
For your topic, please choose something in the news this current semester.
Example in the news March 2021: A gigantic container ship named Ever Given ran aground
in the Suez Canal in Egypt, blocking international ship traffic through the region for almost
one week. Bigger picture research topic: What risks and benefits do such “mega ships” pose
in today’s economy?
Example in the news April 2021: One American and two Russian astronauts returned to
Earth from the International Space Station. Bigger picture research topic: Is the space
program worth the cost? Another bigger picture topic idea: How much should national
space programs of different countries work together?
Example in the news May 2021: Sports stadiums required fans to show proof of Covid-19
vaccination in order to enter to watch a game. Bigger picture research topic: How far should
“vaccine passports” be extended in society?
Advice: Don’t mistake a “bigger picture” topic with a broad, general topic. For instance, for the May
2021 example above about sports stadiums requiring vaccination proof, don’t make the topic about
whether vaccinations are beneficial or not. Your topic is the bigger picture, but not broadened to
ENG-106 Online Composition II Research Assignment
the point of being too general.
Required “green light” sources (see chart below):
• At least one current news story that gave you the idea for your bigger topic. At least one
“big picture” source that explores the bigger picture of the issue (see topics above).
• At least one source that provides history or background on your topic. It does not need
to be a very recent source. For instance, for the first example above about the mega
ship Ever Given, a source could be why mega ships are on the seas in the first place.
• Four more “green light” sources. Collect sources from different places—websites, Iowa
Central online library databases, credible YouTube videos, for instance. They do not all
have to be very recent, but recent enough to be current, depending on your topic.
• You may have more than six sources if you’d like.
Red light—avoid
Yellow light—use with
Green light—perfect sources for college-level
caution or avoid
academic research
• Wikipedia.
• Encyclopedias
• Professionally published books and ebooks
Anyone can revise
(excellent for gaining • Articles in publications or online written by
entries, so the
professionals—scientists, doctors, etc.
accuracy is
information, but they • Articles by journalists in print or online
are considered
newspapers or other news sources
research assignments • Documentaries
• Student research
themselves and are
papers on sites
• Videos from credible organizations, companies,
too easy to rely on
such as echeat.com
or producers.
for academic
or essay.com.
• Notes from other classes you are taking that
research). This
cover your research topic
includes Britannica.
• Web sites for credible organizations
• Blogs, online chats
• A specialized encyclopedia; for example, an
(depends on who
endangered species encyclopedia that covers
wrote the blog or
only endangered animals would be a good
whether the chat is
source for an argument about an endangered
led by a professional
or similar expert)
Important tips regarding sources:
• Web pages with the same web site domain name are the same source.
• Google.com is NOT a source. It is a search engine. Use it to find sources and images,
although you need to cite the web address that provides the actual website or image that
you find through Google.
• Aim for variety of kinds of sources—at least two different kinds. For example, you could find
two websites, two scholarly journal articles, a magazine article, and a chapter in a book.
Also, don’t rely too heavily on one source. If only one of your sources provides most of your
information, your topic is too narrow and should therefore be broadened.
ENG-106 Online Composition II Research Assignment
Visual Image
An infographic, photo with emotional appeal, or readable chart arranging statistics or facts can
enhance your argument. Refer to the visual within your paper. Include a caption with description
and in-text source citation, all in MLA format. Include the source of the image on the Works Cited
Research and Writing Process
Tentative research topic
Find “green light” sources
Working bibliography (usable and possible sources)
More sources and research if necessary
Decision on topic (use topic or find another?)
A note-taking strategy helps collect and organize information and arguments from sources.
Aim for a total note word count of at least 1,000 words, which is a significant bulk of the
paper’s word count; keep track of sources in order to cite them within the paper later.
Thesis statement (good idea to write and keep it with your notes)
Organization of notes (see tips below)
Rough draft (includes in-text citations IN the paper and corresponding Works Cited page).
Turn in a rough draft if you want revision suggestions.
Final draft (includes MLA-style in-text citations IN the paper and corresponding Works Cited
Notes and Paper Organization
Notes can help you organize information. Try PowerPoint slides, handwritten notecards, typed
notes with facts separated by bullet points, or a similar note taking method—whatever works for
you. We will explore options in discussion topics. After finishing notes, divide the notes into
subtopics as a start to organize your paper.
In general, the paper’s organization should be as follows:
• Introduction—the first paragraph gives general background information about the topic and
includes the thesis statement.
• Body paragraphs contain information and arguments from notes taken from sources.
➢ The first body paragraph might further define or begin to explain the topic.
➢ Organization of these paragraphs depends on the topic. It might be chronological, or
move from a strong argument, to a lesser one, then to a stronger one. It might cover
all counterarguments before arguments, or alternate between counterargument
and argument, counterargument and argument. Cite sources IN the paper.
➢ Optional: Try using headings to separate topics/ideas within the paper.
➢ Body paragraphs require source in-text citations!
• Conclusion—sum up the main points and include a statement that will make readers
remember your argument.

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