THE RESEARCH PAPER Your last major writing assignment of this semester will be your research paper. Please keep in mind that your paper has to be an argumentative paper. This means that you have to formulate an argument that takes a specific stance on a controversial subject that you have chosen from the list I have provided. This argument should be clearly stated in your thesis statement. The body of your essay should be devoted to bolstering and defending your thesis statement, and the outside sources that you will be using should be strong evidence that supports and defends your argument or thesis statement. Outside Sources: Like the other essays, you will be writing an academic essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion, but because this is a research paper, you will need to incorporate several outside sources (books, peer-reviewed journals, websites, etc.) into your paper. This means that you need to quote or paraphrase certain passages from your sources and write them into your body paragraphs. Your sources will be your evidence that will defend your argument (thesis statement). As with any paper using outside sources, you will have to cite every source using the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. I will go into MLA citation in detail during class. In the case of the research paper for this class, you will be required to cite from at least six to nine outside sources. However, I strongly encourage you to find and use more than six outside sources. I find that the better papers provide more than the minimum amount of outside sources. All of your sources should be electronic sources as long as they are credible sources that provide accurate information. I prefer that you find your sources from the online databases found at Mt. SAC’s library, but if you have to widen your search, you must make sure that your sources are reliable and trustworthy. In fact, your web sources should end in either .gov, .edu, or .org. Furthermore, at least three of your outside sources must be research articles published in peer-reviewed journals. You will also be required to make citations in the text of your body paragraphs as well as attach a “Works Cited” page at the end of your paper. Your textbook has a lot of information about paraphrasing, using direct quotes, and formulating your “Works Cited” page. When it comes to in-text citation, I PREFER direct quotes because there is no confusion about what is an outside quote and what is your own writing. Paraphrasing is acceptable, but I tend to dislike summarizing outside sources; the delineation between what are outside sources and what are your own words is too hazy and confusion in regards to summarizing. The rule of thumb regarding in-text citation is ALWAYS cite the source when in doubt. Any information, detail, or fact taken from an outside source needs to be cited. If you do use long quotes, then you must contextualize and/or explain everything in that quote. However, if I find that long quotes fill up space rather than help make a convincing argument, your grade may suffer. Rhetorical Strategies: You will be using outside sources to defend your argument, but you will also have to use certain types of rhetoric in your paper. You should not assume that your outside sources will be enough to prove your argument. You need to build rhetorical strategies around your sources. Listed below are some of the rhetorical issues that you need to address in your essay. Evidence: You need to defend your argument with convincing evidence, which will come from your outside sources. Keep in mind the various types of evidence: Expert Testimony Eyewitness Testimony Numerical Data (statistics, polls, etc.) Research Data (conclusions made from scientific and academic studies) Rhetorical Style: Appeal: you need to figure out what sort of appeal to use in your paper and how you will build this appeal off of the evidence you present. Will you be incorporating a logical or ethical appeal around your sources, or will you use both? How can you form a strong appeal along with your evidence? I will discourage you from using emotional appeal since it is very hard to pull off in a research paper. Once again, you should focus on logical and ethical appeal only. Language: even though this is an academic paper where you still have to be somewhat formal, you still have room to incorporate an argumentative tone. This is where word choice becomes important. You want to incorporate strong words (i.e. must, crucial, vital, cannot fail, etc.). A strong argumentative tone will keep your paper from sounding too passive and informational. Please be aware that you cannot assume that your evidence will speak for you. You must build a strong appeal (logical or ethical) off of the evidence that you present, and don’t forget to incorporate examples of connotative and denotative language. Documents included: Introduction draft doc Works cited doc
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