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English 1711 First Researched Argument Essay

This is the capstone project for College Composition 1. It will require you to use skills you’ve already practiced during the semester, including:
• The writing process: brainstorming, drafting, revision and editing
• Project management and outlining for project and paper organization
• Research
• Rhetorical choices based on audience and purpose
• Documentation using correct MLA citation, including a Works Cited page

You will develop new skills during this project:
• Argument and persuasion, including use of logic
• Awareness and avoidance of logical fallacies
• Use of logical, ethical and emotional appeals
• Creating and supporting a clear, logical argumentative claim
• Selecting credible, authoritative evidence in support of your claim

• Length: eight to ten double-spaced pages
• Topic must be arguable: there has to be more than one reasonable opinion about it, and it must not rely on belief instead of evidence. Your paper MUST make and support an arguable claim about a current, arguable, and controversial topic that has appeared in the CQ Researcher or Opposing Viewpoints databases between August and October of 2018
• No papers focusing on over-exposed or belief-based topics such as abortion, euthanasia, gun control, tobacco use, school uniforms, underage or premarital sexual activity, the death penalty, obesity, junk food, or legalization of marijuana will be accepted. Examples of topics which are not arguable include claims that obesity and junk food or smoking are bad for public health or that child abuse is wrong.
• Strong, clear argumentative claim in your thesis statement
• Logical organization and thorough development of your argument
• Sources: a minimum of three credible, outside research sources and a maximum of five. Use only credible, scholarly sources.
• Research sources must include a minimum of one book and two articles from credible sources such as the subscription databases available through SPC’s Library.
• No logical fallacies
• No more than 30% of your paper may be outside material, whether quoted, summarized or paraphrased
• Correct MLA paper format
• Consistent use of third person POV throughout the paper
• Correct and current MLA documentation, including a Works Cited page Few or no sentence-level errors
• Few or no grammatical, mechanical, spelling, punctuation, or word choice errors
• ANY plagiarized material or use of incorrect or incomplete documentation will result in a grade of zero for the paper. Use draft after draft to protect yourself from plagiarism.
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Break your researched argument paper writing process into steps:
Preliminary Step: Calendar time for each of these steps.

Identify potential topics: Skim through the articles in the Opposing Viewpoints and CQ Researcher databases available through the SPC Library: what controversial topics currently being debated are interesting to you?

1. Make sure your chosen topic is arguable and is not one of the Forbidden Topics included in the assignment—writing your argument based on any of these will disqualify your paper.

2. Begin researching: Ask yourself questions about your topic and find the answers. Do this now, so that if there isn’t any useful material available, you can change your topic, or to see if finding out more doesn’t change your understanding of the topic and influence your opinion

3. Prewrite: Brainstorm, walk and talk with a friend who takes notes about what you say, idea map or cluster, list, or free write, but give your mind some time to generate ideas about your topic, then draft some tentative thesis statements that contain an arguable claim about your chosen topic.

4. Test your argument: Find someone to use as a sounding board, even if it’s just your family or friends (let them know you WANT them to disagree with you). Present your claims and support and see what the response is. Listen for possible objections you may want to address in your argument.

5. Outline your paper (this is very helpful with longer, more complex writing projects. Give yourself a road map to follow as you write, with the understanding that you can re-organize your essay later).

6. Select research and create your Annotated Bibliography

7. Write your first draft

8. Listen to the responses made to your argument and read tutor comments–take this information into consideration, and revise your draft.

9. Review the Originality Report on Turnitin and make sure all outside material is credited to a source in your text and in a matching Works Cited entry on your Works Cited page. Make sure there is no more than 30% outside material in your paper.

10. Revise again. Be aware: your thesis statement and organization may evolve as you learn more and think more about your topic. Leave yourself time and room to revise to reflect this evolution. Make sure you can’t find any logical fallacies or weaknesses in your own argument.

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11. Revise: Do a Reverse or Skeleton outline by printing your paper, then highlighting the thesis statement and each topic sentence, then reading them in order. Ask yourself the following questions:

a. Has the paper changed direction or focus?
b. Is any paragraph out of alignment with the rest of the paper?
c. Does any claim need additional support?
d. Do you have adequate concession and/or refutation of opposing points?
e. Are your introduction and conclusion logically connected and well–developed?

Based on your own answers to those questions, revise your paper.

1. All in-text and Works Cited entries are in correct MLA format
2. All sentences are correctly structured and punctuated
3. There are no subject/verb and pronoun/antecedent errors
4. There are no word choice or spelling errors
5. There are no punctuation errors

12. After all that, it’s worth the time to proofread. After all this hard work, don’t let the paper’s worth to be lessened by a silly typographical error.

Researched Argument Paper Reflection
Upload your answers to these questions along with the draft Smartthinking returned to you with comments.

1. Did your argumentative claim evolve or change during the process of writing the paper? How and why?

2. What evidence did you find yourself relying on most to support your claim?

3. How did audience considerations affect your choice of organization and support?

4. Did you find it necessary to concede and/or concede and refute opposing points? If so, where is this reflected in the final draft?

5. What kind of audience did you anticipate for your claim? For example, friendly, hostile, neutral or mixed—and why?

6. Did the organization of the paper change from outline to final draft? Why did you make those changes?

7. What percentage of your paper is outside ideas and research, and how much is your own original ideas and reasoning?

8. What specific changes did you make to the content of your paper as you revised it?

9. What specific changes did you make to the content of your paper as you edited it?

10. What specific skills or concepts have you learned or developed further as a result of researching, drafting, revising, and editing this paper?


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