1.) Your researched essay must focus on one or more of the texts we have discussed in class:
a.) Tennessee Williams, A Streetcar Named Desire
b.) August Wilson, Fences
c.) One or more short stories from the ENG 105 Coursepack
The most straightforward way to approach the topic for your research paper is to use either your Synthesis paper or your Literary Analysis as the foundation for the paper. You can keep the same thesis statement and thesis development that you used in this earlier paper, but you will be incorporating additional secondary sources into your argument. These can be either articles of literary criticism (such as the examples we have discussed from the coursepack) or articles that discuss the historical contexts for a particular work (such as “Goodbye to an Era” in the coursepack, which discusses the Jazz Age in relation to Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited”).
2.) Your researched essay must provide documentation of your sources. You should use MLA style and include a Works Cited page at the end of your essay.
3.) You should consult and cite at least five secondary sources. These sources may include the ones you have already consulted for your Synthesis paper. You may also use articles from the Coursepack (pp. 118-179). If you need the citations for these articles, please send me an email and I can provide them for you.
Definition of a Researched Argument (from ENG 105 Student Guide):
We are all expected on occasion to explain our ideas. When we engage in such an explanation, we call upon evidence to convince our listener or reader that our ideas are true and correct and, therefore, worthy of attention. Sometimes we are expected to present and defend our ideas in writing. For example, in your academic career and in the workplace, you will be called upon to analyze situations and texts and to argue for or against certain ideas or opinions. From small businesses to large corporations, employees who can articulate their ideas logically have an advantage in being considered for advancement. As a student, a citizen, a parent, an employee, or a consumer, you will have many opportunities to express your ideas. Being familiar with argumentative skills will improve your chances of being convincing and persuasive. But, more importantly, you will be able to use these same skills in distinguishing between truth and falsehood in the world around you. Being familiar with the tools of argument, you will be able to determine the correctness of claims made by political figures, employers, salespeople, advertisers, and friends. You can then not only determine the validity of others’ arguments, but also formulate your own strategy of reasoned argument to counter the beliefs with which you disagree.
The word argument itself usually suggests a negative activity. We think of an argument as a synonym for a quarrel or disagreement: we argue with parents, spouses, and friends. The way we use the term in ENG 105, however, differs from its original and still primary meaning, which is associated with reason and objectivity. An argument is defined as the process of demonstrating, through reason, the likelihood or necessity of a given proposition. The purpose of an argument is to persuade. It is the process of influencing others, through reasoning, to respond as we wish them to respond. If everyone always agreed on everything, there would be no need for argument. But we know that disagreements do exist at all levels of life. The fact that some of our disagreements are ancient ones suggests the difficulty people have in reaching agreement. For example, consider the controversial topics of abortion, censorship, and capital punishment. These controversies will never approach resolution until the truth is discovered and there is agreement as to that truth. Yet truth can never be discovered until there is a free and open encounter between opposing views.
This very encounter is at the heart of argumentative discourse; therefore, disagreements must be addressed reasonably, objectively, and thoroughly if we are ever to attain the truth. Once we have demonstrated the truth of an argument, however, we must then persuade others of the correctness of that truth. This attempt at persuasion is a complicated undertaking. To gain our readers’ assent to our proposition, we must organize our supporting evidence in a format that will present our ideas most effectively. Thus, since rhetoric is the art of using language persuasively, we employ rhetoric every time we try to convince others of the truth of our convictions.
Research is an essential part of ENG 105. Every good argument should be supported with evidence, and one way to supply evidence in your argument is through research. Learning to integrate research into your arguments will strengthen your essays and also allow you to become more knowledgeable on your topic.
In your writing projects for your composition and literature classes (as well as classes across university disciplines), you will be required to format your papers and correctly credit sources using MLA Style. The MLA (Modern Language Association) has created specific guidelines for formatting manuscripts and for citing sources used in your research. MLA Style uses a cross-referencing system that calls for parenthetical in-text citations and a Works Cited page included at the end of your essays.
- Define your thesis clearly.
- Use at least five reputable sources in your essay.
- Provide concrete evidence to support your thesis.
- Demonstrate how your own position reinforces and/or departs from the positions of the authors you discuss.
- Use MLA form to document your sources.
Criteria for Researched Argument
Characteristics of an A paper:
Content: Provides a clear understanding of the topic and an effective presentation of your point of view on the issue.
Organization: Clearly organized; smooth transitions and a logical progression of ideas.
Support: Appropriate and effective use of supporting evidence.
Style: Sentences are clearly structured and coherent.
Mechanics: Absence of spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors.
Compelling evidence from professionally legitimate sources is given to support claims. Attribution is clear and fairly represented. References are primarily peer-reviewed professional journals or other approved sources (e. g. government documents, agency manuals). The reader is
confident that the information and ideas can be trusted.