Essay 3: Research Essay Proposal


Length: 1500-2100 words

At this point, you should be planning your attack on the major essay due for this course: the argumentative research essay. The argumentative research essay puts into practice the research, rhetoric, and writing exercises we have worked on so far. Of course, some things can change, but think of this proposal essay like a blueprint, a map, a general outline for the future.

It will inevitably develop and evolve over the next few weeks. But at this point, you should be able to at least sketch what your initial argument, purpose, and claims are along with some rhetorical analysis of some initial research you have so far.

So, for this essay:

Write a statement of purpose that addresses the purpose (obviously) of what you will be researching and arguing about in your argumentative research essay (basically who cares about this topic and issue and why does it matter that you are arguing and researching about it?), the audience, the context of your essay, and the rhetorical analysis of three pieces of research you will be using for your research essay. You should answer at the least the following questions:

  1. Purpose: what do you want to argue for? What change do you want to see? What do you want to have done? What would be different if people are persuaded by your argument and research? What would be the best possible outcome? What would be the worst possible outcome?
  2. Audience: To whom are you speaking and why? Here, I want you to answer a few specific questions and follow more specific directions:
  3. Generate a list of audience characteristics. Age, gender, ethnicity, level of education, etc. (Realistic, you aren’t “making up” the audience. You need to think realistically about who you are aiming this argument for (think about stakeholders and audience). For example, yes you are writing to your teacher and the students who are peer reviewing the research/argument essay BUT think about the topic and purpose. Is this an argument about why there should be more funding for Animal Rescues? You wouldn’t want to “preach to the choir” and try to persuade people who already agree with you (because that doesn’t make change) you want to reach the people who DON’T agree with you, or who are “on the fence” and are unsure what to do. Who are these people typically when it comes to your particular issue?
  4. What kind of evidence will this audience accept as persuasive? What sort of proof does this audience need? Why?
  5. Context: What is the situation you’re addressing? What’s the history? What’s happened before? What’s happening now? Why is this an important moment for intervening and making this argument and this case rhetorically for this issue/argument?
  6. Write a brief summary/annotation of three pieces of research you are using for your argumentative research essay. Address the following things in each one:
    1. Cite the source in proper MLA format.  The citations should be organized in alphabetical order by author just as in an MLA Works Cited page. 
    2. Follow with a brief annotation that summarizes the source (approx. 3-5 sentences). Include some rhetorical analysis: What is their argument? Claims? Do they approach this issue logically? Emotionally? Etc…
    3. In 1 or 2 sentences, explain the source’s relevance and importance to your issue.
    4. Address in a sentence or two how the source and author are reliable, credible, and appropriate for the assignment.

Write about 300-400 words in response to each of the first three points (purpose, audience, context). The 3 research annotations can be between 200-300 words. But I do want you to be a specific as possible. Get really, really particular.

Now, this proposal is a contract, sort of. I’m not going to hold you to every particular, but this proposal will be what you are writing over for your final argumentative research essay. Sure, it will evolve and grow, and you might make changes here and there. But this proposal should be a guide for how you proceed for the following essay. It is like prep work; it will help you be able to get the longer essay done quicker and with less stress!  

Read instructions properly!!

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