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Argumentative Issue Research Essay


The goals of this assignment are to write a thesis driven, research-based paper conforming to MLA format, which synthesizes information and ideas from a variety of sources on a specific, controversial issue in popular culture. The paper will be formal, standard, academic language. The paper will incorporate advanced research skills and practices. Use all the writing skills to form a convincing argument. The main emphasis will be to synthesize ideas from various sources.

Writing Directions:

Choose a topic carefully. The topics come from Unit VI in our textbook, Elements of Argument. Pick a topic with which you are familiar and interested. The topic should be interesting, debatable, not too broad or narrow, not too unconventional. Choose an appropriate topic, analyze it, make an arguable claim of policy about the topic, determine how the issue affects society, and what can be done about the problem.

1.Social Networking: What Are the Consequences of Becoming an Online Society? (Ch. 20)

2.Violence on Campus: How Far Will We Go to Keep Our Schools Safe?(Ch. 21)

3.Climate Change: It Exists. What Now? (Ch. 22)

4.Competitive Sports: What Risks Should Athletes Be Allowed to Take? (Ch. 23)

5.Freedom of Speech: Are Limitations on Our Rights Ever Justified? (Ch.24)

6.Police Violence: Where Do We Go from Here? (Ch. 25)

Be sure that the essay is thesis driven. The essay should be developed according to the methods discussed in class and in the textbook. Document the sources used to support the thesis and by MLA format in a Works Cited page.

Write a eight to twelve page argumentative paper, including a works cited page, (2500 words) argumentative synthesis research paper in MLA format (including proper heading; Times New Roman font in 12 point; margins one inch on all sides; with parenthetical citations and a Works Cited page) on one of the topics listed above.


All steps of the writing process, including research notes, brainstorm, outlining, and a rough draft.

At least 8 scholarly references, or more. (No more than 3 references from our text.)

The references must include academic, scholarly, peer-reviewed journals. (Few websites / Wikipedia)

College-level academic writing. Clearly defined thesis.


A minimum of eight (8) scholarly sources is required or more; focus on quality of sources -­ scholarly, perhaps peer-reviewed journals. The sources should clearly support the thesis statement (claim of the argument). Sources that are counterarguments may be included to establish credibility and to counterargue. This is an argumentative paper, not an expository essay. Therefore, do not rely on informational sources; use opinion journals and articles to bolster the claim.


Choose a topic that interests you. Your interest will enthuse your reader. The more you know about a topic the better your paper will be. Use personal experiences and knowledge of the subject.

If you choose to write about this topic for the next essay, you may use many of the same sources and ideas; however, your thesis statement (claim) must be different. Please, clear your thesis statement with me.

Follow all the steps of the writing process. Pace your reading, research, and writing. Do not try to write it in a short time (one sitting, the night before it is due). Do substantive research before you begin to write-remember the iceberg analogy. If you begin to write before you have enough material will result in “writer’s block” and your paper will not be as good as it can be.

Narrow your topic ruthlessly. Nearly all student topics are too broad. Think of arguing in depth rather than width.

Demonstrate a variety of sentence patterns: active versus passive voice, conciseness (avoid wordiness), coordination, subordination (adverb subordinate clauses), participial phrases, relative clauses, and appositives.

Proofread carefully! Pay attention to MLA format.

Argumentative Synthesis Research Essay 4-Rubric

A – The student clearly understood the assignment and devoted a lot of time and effort to the writing process. The essay synthesizes a clear view using the sources, including additional sources, fluently and logically. It is evident the author proofread carefully, as there are very few or no errors in MLA format, mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling.

B – The student understood the assignment and devoted sufficient time and effort to the writing process. The essay synthesizes a clear view using the sources, clearly. However, the paper presents passages that are not synthesis, but rather a “book report.” There are few errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling.

C – The student mostly understood the assignment and devoted some of time and effort to the writing process. The essay tries to synthesize a clear view using the sources; however, resorts to a “book report.” There are several errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling.

D – The story does not demonstrate an understanding of the assignment and /or the student did not give enough time or effort to the writing process to tell a good story.

The essay does not synthesize a clear view using the sources.

There are numerous errors in mechanics, usage, grammar, or spelling.

N.B. – If you skip a prewriting due date, write fewer than eight (8) to twelve (12) pages (including a Works Cited page),use fewer than eight (8) academic sources, or do all of your research on internet sources, the final paper will not reflect your potential and thus will not earn higher than a C.



Controlling Idea

(SLO #1)

The essay bas a specific, arguable thesis that is researchable.

Development (SL0#2)

The essay is 2,500+ words long and uses research- based evidence and analysis to support an argument.

Conventions/ Style (SL0#3)

The essay applies a variety of sentence structures within a formal academic style.

MLA (SL0#4)

The essay integrates appropriate MLA standards to the following (8) items: heading, running header, fonts, spacing, indentation, works cited page, in-text citations, and correct use of block quotes (if used), with minor errors.

Informational Literacy (SL0#5)

The research demonstrates information competency in these three items:

locating, interpreting, and evaluating appropriate sources.


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