Argumentative Research Essay

Instructions:

Length: 1500-2000 words

To make an argument is fundamental to modern Americans: we argue about everything. We argue with our friends and families; we argue with our neighbors and those in the media. The arguments are sometimes friendly (the Chicago Cubs should never win the World Series) and sometimes heated (the Chicago Cubs should never win the World Series). We argue for fun and we argue with purpose.

In the professional and academic worlds, the ability to make good arguments is of great importance. We advance our jobs and we advance knowledge through our arguments. An accountant in a multi-billion dollar corporation will have to make an argument for the millions of dollars out of balance on annual fiscal reports. The small business person will have to make an argument to a loan officer about the financing of the business’ expansion. The teacher will have to make an argument for the beneficial effects of a new lesson plan.

Disciplines and professions all have their own ways of arguing: they inhabit different rhetorical positions, establish credibility in different ways, favor certain lines of argument, and provide different kinds of evidence. However, there are some things that are relatively common: credibility, appeal, and evidence. They are also bound by the rhetorical situation: a speaker/writer saying/writing a message to an audience in a given situation/context. To be taken seriously, a person must follow certain rules and factors when arguing. Just because something is your opinion is not a valid reason for anyone to take you seriously or to trust your word: you need evidence, proof, and reason.  

Here are some things you should consider as you begin this project:

Scope: You want to be careful after choosing a general idea not to leave it too big. Think about your topic: does it seem like one could write a book or number of books on the topic. You’ll want to narrow down your topic to a workable, not overly general, size. The effects of social networking is too big; the networking and political revolution is too big; social networks for local political action is a little better, but not much. An argument that Twitter is dumb is not an academic, well-put claim; an argument that Twitter makes for superficial knowledge is better, but that’s a big topic that will need a lot of evidence, perhaps more than you have space for; that Twitter is superficial because it more or less only links to the popular press and niche blogs and therefore creates a space that only leads to confirmation biases is better. Just think: narrow, narrow, narrow.

Credibility: How do you establish your credibility? In this context you establish it by showing that you have command (good knowledge) of the issue. Using good sources is only one part of this. You must also be able to make logical claims and anticipate other, opposing positions; in effect, show that you know the conversation surrounding the issue. Credibility also has to do with how you express your ideas. You should present your argument using more or less correct grammar/mechanics and good organization of your ideas.

Academic Form: Academic arguments have in common that they include assertions, context, and evidence.

Remember! You are a writer making an argument to an audience in a given context.

Sources: There should be 6-9 sources for this essay

Use professional/credible websites, journal articles, and books. Wikipedia is not appropriate, random blogs that are by random people are not appropriate. Some quality blogs by professionals might be. Use good judgment and ask if you think the source is credible and an authority on the topic.

Remember: This is an argumentative research paper that must have an introduction, thesis statement, conclusion, and body paragraphs (with transitions! There should be clear flow from thesis to end) that support your argument. You must use MLA formatting and style guidelines.  

Make sure you revise, edit, and pay attention to organization. Your goal is to win over the reader with a carefully thought out and researched, well written, well organized, essay.

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