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ENC1102: Rhetoric and Research
Research Argument Guidelines
An important goal of ENC 1102 is to equip you with the writing and research skills to compose a
clear, coherent, and engaging research argument. A traditional approach to writing a longer essay
includes a process of:
o Generating a topic and identifying a clear, defendable thesis.
o Accumulating and evaluating solid academic and popular (news) resources.
o Organizing a coherent argument (often from an outline) with an introduction, body of
supporting evidence, and a conclusion.
o Working through a recursive drafting process that includes a rough draft, a
preliminary draft, and a final draft.
The subject matter and argumentative direction of your research argument are open to your choice.
You must, however, research and write about a matter of contemporary American public
controversy. In recent classes, students have written about gun control, immigration policy,
educational access, environmental concerns, and stem-cell research—just to name a few potential
topics. Due to the complexity of many of these areas of controversy, you’ll want to identify a subject
that you are passionate about early in the course and begin accumulating resources and refining your
views. I recommend that you develop a series of research questions that will help you to clarify your
position and organize your writing.
• Your research argument should be ten pages in length. Because you will also include a
“Works Cited” page at the conclusion of your work, the final document that you submit for a
grade will stretch to eleven total pages in length.
• You need to incorporate a minimum of at least ten resources in supporting your work. I
recommend a mixture of academic resources (journal articles, reference texts, or chapters
from academic books) and popular resources (newspaper and magazine articles, TED Talks,
or podcasts) for your essay.
• Your essay must be formatted to meet MLA standards. Please review Module Five for
information on citing resources with MLA documentation principles.
• Please use either the Times New Roman or the Courier New font for your work. Depending
on the length of your essay, you can use 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, or (preferably) 12-pt font size.
Your work should be double spaced. Please do not include an extra space between
• Do not include a cover page for this assignment (some instructors may ask for one in other
• Up to three reasonably sized images (charts, graphs, and photographs) are acceptable. Please
re-size them so that the images are not pixelated, and center them in your document with text
above and below. Label them Figure 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3 (for images) or Table 1-1, 1-2, and 1-3
(for charts and graphs). You can use both images and charts, of course, but just make sure
that you label them accordingly.
• Consult the calendar in the course syllabus for the appropriate assignment deadline and
submission method. (1)
(1) Content by Florida State College at Jacksonville is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0