Topic: Choose a topic to write about, and decide which side of the issue you are most interested in. This topic should be controversial (have reasonable people on both sides of the issue), current, and have some connection to our state or local communities. This connection does not have to be the main focus of your paper, but you should mention how your topic relates to the state/region at least once in your paper. Think about this as giving a reason that people who live in Longmont or Colorado should care about your topic (this is the “so what?” of your paper).
Please do not choose any of the following topics: prostitution/sex work; legalizing marijuana; gun control; animal testing; abortion; vaccines. Please do not choose topics that try to avoid the assignment (students shouldn’t have to write research papers or similar), or that are intentionally grotesque or provocative for the sake of being provocative. Original and creative topics are welcome. If you need help thinking of topics, look at the “Argumentative Essay Databases” on the library website. These databases cover many controversial issues. I am also happy to answer questions or provide suggestions for topics.
Research: You will need to use a minimum of 4 sources in this paper for a passing grade. 5 sources are required for an A or B grade. As you research, make sure you’re saving the articles you find somewhere you have access to them to consult as you write. You’ll also need to create a works cited page, so make sure you keep the appropriate information somewhere you’ll have easy access to it.
Choosing Sources: When choosing sources, be sure they are both relevant and credible. Unless you can prove otherwise, you are not an expert on this topic. The point of doing research is to learn what the experts are saying about this issue, and then use them to give your argument more weight.
You are expected to find most of your research using the school’s library, FRCC’s online databases, another university library, and/or the public library. You may have one general website source, and you may use one video/audio source or one interview. If you choose to use an interview, the person you interview needs to be an expert or have substantial unique knowledge on your topic. You should clear all interview subjects with the instructor first. You will be developing these sources into an annotated bibliography and turning this in prior to the actual paper.
– Minimum of 4 sources used in the paper (5+ for A/B).
– Sources must be both relevant and credible.
– All quotes and paraphrased material are cited using in-text citations.
– A works cited list, corresponding to the in-text citations, is included at the end of the paper.
-No more than one general website (from Google or similar)
-No more than one audio, video, or interview source.
Paper Structure: The paper will have an introduction that begins with a hook, introduces your topic and stance, and contains a strong thesis statement. The introduction should act to set up your topic for an audience who is generally well-informed about the world, but may not be familiar with the ins and outs of your specific topic.
The body of your paper will focus mainly on arguing for your side of the issue, drawing on logical arguments and your sources to back up what you’re saying. Each body paragraph should start with a strong topic sentence that sets up the subject of your paragraph. In your body paragraphs, you’ll want to have approximately 80% of your own ideas, with about 20% quoted/paraphrased material, used to support those ideas. Each of your quotes or paraphrases should be appropriately introduced, and then explained or put in context for the reader.
One of your body paragraphs should be a counterargument that introduces what the opposing side thinks and explains why your view is the correct one. For this paper, we want to concentrate on making our own argument, therefore the counterargument and your refutation should not take more than 1-2 paragraphs. A strong counterargument replies to opposing arguments in a reasonable way without using logical fallacies or ignoring arguments. The counterargument is most commonly the last body paragraph before the conclusion, but it can be placed elsewhere in the paper if it works better with your organization.
The paper will end with a conclusion that restates your thesis statement, sums up your main points, and ends with a concluding statement that makes it feel finished. The word count should be printed after the body text, but before the works cited page. It will include an MLA works cited page after the conclusion which is not part of the word count.
Format: Format your essay according to MLA guidelines. Look on D2L or the OWL at Purdue for an example of an MLA formatted essay, if you are absent or forgot the guidelines we discussed in class.
The essay length is to be 1250-1750 words, not including the works cited page. Papers that do not meet the length requirement will not be eligible for a passing grade.
Submit your essay to the “Argument Essay” assignment folder on D2L by the due date.