Argumentative Research Paper Directions

  1. Write a 10-page paper (not counting the Works Cited) that persuades me that one side of a controversial topic is the correct side of that argument. Examples:  the second amendment gives us the right to bear arms, the death penalty is an effective means of punishment, abortion should be legal, etc.
  2. Short paper penalty (9 pages=90% of rubric grade, 8 pages=80% of rubric grade, 7 pages=50% of rubric grade). Elaborate your ideas as deeply as you can.
  3. Do not use pictures, graphs or charts in your paper. These are better known as space wasters to English professors.
  4. The first paragraph is an introductory paragraph that gives a general overview of the controversial issue. Make sure you have a well-written and obvious thesis statement that highlights the main points of your argument.
  5. Your body paragraphs will be logically ordered in such a way that it is easy to follow the idea(s) in your paper.
  6. You must use all elements of persuasion in your paper (ethos, pathos, logos).
  7. Your final paragraph will be a conclusion that thoroughly summarizes the main point(s) of your essay.
  8. You must cite any ideas you use from outside sources using an in-line cite and a reference on the works cited page. Failure to cite your sources is plagiarism.  All plagiarism, intentional or unintentional, is treated the same and the grade for the paper will be a zero.
  9. You must have a Works Cited page and it must follow the MLA format we covered in class. These pages do not count toward the 10-page requirement for the paper.
  10. You must use a minimum of seven outside sources. 10 outside sources are preferred.  Your sources should be well varied between primary and secondary sources.
  11. I do not accept late work. The due date for this paper will be announced several times in class.  Do not miss it.  Upload your essay to ecampus by 11:59pm on the date it is due.  If ecampus is down, email it to  If the entire Internet is failing you, text me immediately.
  12. Your essay must be 70/30. That means at least 70 percent (or more) of your research paper should be your words.  30 percent (or less) of your paper will be from researched material.  Safe Assign will tell you how much of your essay is unoriginal.  You may submit papers more than once.  I grade the final submission.

Helpful Reminders

  1. MLA Format. Follow it. There is a sample paper linked in Blackboard.  Make sure your paper “looks” like that one does.
  2. Visit the Writing Center in the Eastfield Library for additional help.
  3. Consult the rubric as you write the paper. If you use the rubric wisely, your grade should not be a surprise to you.
  4. Do not use the word you (your, you’re, yourself) in formal academic writing. This word can be replaced with the word one, a person, his/her and a few other options.  I will take 3 points off your final essay grade for each use of the word you in the paper.
  5. Make sure you stick to your position.
  6. We will not be covering basic grammar (capitalization, usage, punctuation, spelling) in this class. If you need help in those areas, stop by my office or visit the Writing Center in the Eastfield Library.  Correct English grammar will factor heavily into your grade (see the rubric).

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