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The Argumentative Research Essay 


Purpose: To persuade
Audience: Diverse / Educated adults.
Length: 4-5 pages (1200 - 1500 words)
Research & Documentation: Minimum of 5 sources with MLA citations

Visual Element:  At least one visual element embedded in the essay (chart, graph, photo, etc.)

We rarely, if ever, make arguments without being provoked.  Rather, when we make an argument, something has happened or someone has done something that inspires us to respond.   For this reason, I want your argument to be made in response to a current event.   To this end,  I am requiring that you choose your topic from the New York Times "Room for Debate" pages.    Go to: http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate and view the many topics available. 

For each topic there are multiple viewpoints. These will be a central part of the "conversation" to which you respond.  Most topics have between four and seven separate viewpoints or arguments about the event or topic.   Read all of them.  Then begin formulating your own argument in response.  While I don't expect you to quote or summarize from each individual viewpoint for your topic, you should quote, paraphrase, summarize from at least three them.

In addition to the articles on the Room for Debate pages, you will be required to conduct additional research to support your argument.  This research can come from any reputable source.  See "Evaluating Sources" for tips on selecting reputable, scholarly sources.

Whichever topic you choose, you will eventually need to develop an argumentative thesis statement that clearly identifies your position on the topic. Remember that a thesis for an argumentative essay should be debatable and should clearly take a stand.  Refer to the readings in this section to help you create a debatablethesis statement.

To supplement your argument, you must also include at least one visual element in your essay. The visual element can be a chart, graph, photograph or illustration.  The visual should be used in such a way as to support the ideas and arguments in your essay and it should be embedded within the body of your essay(not added as an attachment or link). Identify the source of your images next to the image in a textbox orwithin the body of the corresponding paragraph. To help you choose or create a visual element, refer to the reading in this unit on Visual Rhetoric.

Finally,  now would be a good time to review the readings from unit one of this course, particularly those on integrating quotations and citing sources.  It is not enough to simply meet the research requirement by throwing in a quote here and there.  I want to see that you can integratethe ideas of others neatly into your own argument.

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