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English 1301 - McCormick, Victoria : Controversial Issues - Spring 2017: Home

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Welcome English 1301 Students


“The world is not run by thought, nor imagination, but by opinion.”-- Elizabeth Drew, 1887-1965, English critic and writer.

Your research assignment is to write a persuasive essay defending your position on a controversial topic that is important to you.  Base your essay, first of all, on your opinion, and then support your opinion with three (3) to five (5) secondary sources

These sources must

  • Come from a recognized SAC Library Database or source book.  Do not “GOOGLE” your topic.  That will produce only random sources off the web which may or may not be reliable, authoritative, or unbiased, all qualities that good research sources contain.
  • Be no older than 2012 unless it is a source you are using for background information.
  • Not be from Wikipedia, encyclopedias, or dictionaries, except to define terms.  These will not count as one of your sources.

First, choose a controversial topic, which is one that can be argued pro or con.

Then, identify your thesis, sometimes called a position statement or proposition. Here are some examples:

  • Recreational marijuana should be made legal and decriminalized.
  • The local animal shelter should change its policy of euthanizing stray animals.
  • The federal government should fund pre-K programs for all children.
  • The minimum wage should be raised to $10.00.
  • The legal drinking age should be lowered to 18.
  • The state of Texas should pass a law banning texting while driving.

Now, think about your audience and purpose in framing your argument.  Be sure to give enough background information so that your audience views the issue as controversial.  In fact, although you will only argue one side of the topic, knowing what supports the opposing side will strengthen your argument.

Finally, develop at least three reasons to support your position and provide at least two forms of evidence to support each reason. Your secondary sources will give you the support and evidence you need although you may also use personal experience, interviews, and non-print sources in some cases (such as aired news reports or television programs).

As you gather evidence, be sure to note where you obtained the information and make hard copies of all your sources to bring to class. You will need to give credit in the body of your essay through citations as well as on a works cited page where sources will be listed with more detail.

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