Paper Four - Gordon State College

Paper Four: Argumentative Research Paper
Assignment: Research a topic of your choosing and take a position on that topic
You plan to publish your paper in an undergraduate edition of a reputable academic journal. Your work
will be read by academics throughout the country.
Reputable Journal Articles, Books, Websites, Archives, Surveys, Interviews, Observations, etc.
Students should have at least 6 sources
All print materials must be at least 4 pages (shorter works may be used, but they do not count toward
the 6-source minimum). All sources must be academic sources
6-8 pages, double-spaced, 1 inch Margins, Times New Roman, Stapled, Folder, All material used to
help generate the final draft should be turned in
MLA Style
Proposal and Annotated Bibliography 10%
Due Date:
Peer Review: April 26, 2016
Argumentative Research Paper 20%
Final: May 2, 2016 (8:00 Class)
April 29, 2016 (12:30 Class)
This assignment will help you to enter into the academic conversation about a contemporary issue of your choosing
that is debatable and important to society. This paper will allow you to gain a better understanding of an important
issue by introducing you to multiple perspectives on that issue. This paper will also introduce you to academic
research, allowing you to have more control over your text and subject matter. You will become more familiar with
library research skills, online databases, web research, and scholarly journals. In this assignment, you will continue
the process of synthesizing and negotiating different positions on an issue, while strengthening your ability to
present a logical well-argued position on that issue. You will also become more adept at incorporating sources into
your texts.
Writing the Paper
Unlike your previous papers, this paper will be dictated by your interests and/or your major. You will choose a
contemporary debate that has an impact on society. You need to explore the different perspective on this debate and
you need to be able to take an informed and supportable position on the issue. In this paper, you will 1) outline the
parameters (different perspectives) of that debate and 2) take a strong position on that subject. I have to approve
your topic. You want to make sure that your topic is not too broad to discuss effectively in a short 6-8 page paper.
For example, I could not do a research paper on affirmative action. I would have to narrow the topic to the
affirmative action in universities. You could even limit this topic further to just affirmative action in faculty hiring
or affirmative action in college admission. Your topic must be an academic topic on which scholars disagree. If
you find that you cannot locate different perspectives on the issue, it means that one of two things is
occurring. Either you are not looking hard enough or in the right places for different perspectives or there is
no longer a debate on your issue.
You have to have at least six sources. You may use only one online source (from a reputable website). At least
two of your sources should come from databases. All print sources must be at least four pages long (this
includes sources that you get from databases). Shorter sources may be used, but they do not count toward the six
source minimum. You will write a Proposal and Annotated Bibliography, which is Due November 13, 2015 and
counts as ten percent of your grade. The Proposal/Annotated Bibliography discusses the issue that you plan to
explore, explains how you plan to limit it and lists the sources that you will include in the paper.
A good research paper should not be limited to sources that just agree with your position. You should have at least
two sources that evidence different perspectives than your own. You may want to consider having more than six
sources. Using your sources as evidence, you should construct an effective argument that seeks to persuade your
audience that your position is the correct position. You also want to be sure to address counterpoints to your
argument throughout your paper.
1. Strong analytic topic sentences, transitions, and concluding sentences are important.
2. Introduce both scholars and texts the first time that you refer to them
3. Make your thesis clear and concise.
4. An effective paper will engage quotes or claims from an opposing text and discuss how they are wrong.
5. Each thesis claim should be discussed, using evidence, in its own body section
6. Discuss the significance of all evidence. Evidence should be clear, logical, and suitable for your audience.
7. In the conclusion, recap your argument and touch on the broader implications of the debate. Answer such
questions as: What are the possible consequences if your argument is ignored? Where do you see this debate
going? Is this particular debate indicative of something else in our culture, etc?
8. You want to draw your paper to a close while raising your audience’s awareness to the importance of the
9. A very important part of this paper is your ability to understand multiple perspectives and analyze both texts
that are in line with your position and those that conflict with your own ideas. You should be able to
confront opposing viewpoints logically and with evidence.
10. If you find that you are not finding different perspective on a topic, you may need to change your topic. It
may be that scholars no longer debate the issue. It may also mean that our resources are limited at Gordon.
Annotated Bibliography and Proposal
The proposal and annotated bibliography are geared toward helping students to narrow down their topic and it is a way for
me to make sure that you are headed in the right direction. Between April 12th and April 19th you will give me your
potential topic. These preliminary topics can be broad, but by the April 19th due date of the Proposal and Annotated
Bibliography your topic should be narrower.
Write a 250-400 word proposal; you should state what you plan to research, give a brief summary of the different
arguments that are important to the issue, and state your position clearly. The proposal should show that you have clearly
defined and narrowed your topic. It should also show that you are aware of the different positions that scholars have on
your topic. It should be very clear from the proposal what position you plan to take.
Construct an annotated bibliography, which is part of the proposal, that contains the MLA formatted citations of all of
your sources followed by a 7-8 sentence paragraph (for each source) that describes the basic argument of the article and
the degree to which you agree with the claims of the source. (This will serve as your assessment of the source; Your
assessment should be thoughtful.) At least two of the sources must be against your position. You want sources that
show different perspectives.
You have already practiced an annotated bibliography, so my expectations are high. There is an example of an annotated
bibliography on the website. Make sure it is properly formatted. There is also an explanation of how an annotated
bibliography functions on the website as well. Make sure that you review that material. I expect you to use either the
current edition of the MLA style guide or the Prentice Hall Guide in order to put your material in proper MLA format.