Final Researched Argument—due May 9

For your final assignment, you need to articulate a well-reasoned argument, support that argument with extensive research, use all of the means of persuasion (i.e., ethos, pathos, logos), address counterarguments, and suggest a reasonable course of action. Persuade your readers to agree with you. Take a stand.


Open your paper with a strong thesis statement. You may want to preface your thesis with a little background information, especially if you are writing about an obscure topic, but I recommend that you state your thesis by the end of your first paragraph.


Since you will be working with many supporting ideas, you should consider outlining your essay. An outline can help you break your argument into manageable chunks—and organize your essay. Clarity is paramount.

Keep in mind, however, that no matter how many pieces of supporting evidence that you use, you should always be advancing one relentless argument. Stay focused. Make sure everything in your essay supports your thesis.

A good way to support your argument is to structure your essay around your reasons for your thesis. Create a list of reasons for your argument and address those reasons one at a time. Along the way, you should support your argument with facts, quotes, and evidence. Keep in mind that this is an argumentative research paper, not an opinion piece based on gut feelings. Most of your sentences should contain citations.

Do not overuse quotes. You are the author, not the copy-paster. Use short quotes only to illustrate others’ opinions. If it’s a question of simply relaying information, summarize the concepts in your own words and provide a citation. Again, most of your sentences should contain citations, but that doesn’t mean every paragraph should contain a quote. Minimize quotes, and avoid long quotes altogether (i.e., quotes that are longer than two lines).

Address counterarguments in a meaningful way. You may have to make some concessions and provide rebuttals, but if your argument is based on good evidence, you should be able to show your readers why opposing arguments are flawed in some way.

After you’ve established your argument, knock out the counterarguments early so you can focus on your argument. Walk us through your thinking, step by step.


A conclusion is a good opportunity to declare why your argument is important. I recommend broadening your scope in the last paragraph to include the “big picture.” Tell us what is at stake. Convince us that action needs to be taken.


· Unless you are a major character in your essay, avoid the first-person point of view.

· Avoid addressing the reader directly. Avoid “you.”

· This is a research paper, not an opinion piece. Rely on evidence.

· MLA requires you to cite per sentence, not paragraph. Always provide citations so that your readers can verify evidence. Citations are not just for quotes. Anytime you discuss evidence beyond common knowledge, you need a citation.

· Write in paragraphs, and avoid bulleted lists.

· Do not cite interviews that you personally conducted. Your sources must be verifiable.

· Review the guidelines for writing an A paper in the syllabus.


· 3600 – 4500 words (i.e., twelve to fifteen pages, not including the Works Cited page)

· Works Cited page with a minimum of ten agreed-upon sources that you actually cite in your essay (You may use more sources if you wish.) Avoid personal interviews and amateur blogs.

· MLA format. Do not confuse APA and MLA!