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English 1302 - Kilby : Research-Based Paper: Home

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Welcome English1302 Students!

This LibGuide is designed to help you find information on controversial issues related to your major or career goal.

The Research-Based Paper for En 1302, SAC, Fall 2015, Dr. Kilby

General Guidelines

Write a research-based persuasive paper of 300-400 words.  Observe this word limit in the drafts and final copy.  Use MLA style.  Write on a current and controversial national-level domestic (U.S.) issue related to your major or career goal.  See the outline of the paper on the back side of this sheet.  Avoid topics that have long been the subject of debate or that you’ve written about before.  I will choose a topic from among several you suggest.  I will also show you samples of past papers of students.

The word count includes the title and text, not the heading or works cited page.  You will do at least one draft of the paper, possibly two, and a final one.  Observe the word minimum and maximum in drafts and the final copy.   

At least two to three credible scholarly academic and professional sources from 2011 to the present must be used.  These should appear in internal citations and your works cited page.  Try to use at least one source in each body paragraph.  Periodical databases of journal, magazine, and newspaper articles will have the most current information.  Try to use different types of sources (newspaper articles, magazine articles, journal articles, web pages of agencies, organizations or institutions, books or reference books, government documents, etc.).  Focus first on using the academic databases in your major, the CQ Researcher, and major newspaper databases like LexisNexis and magazine databases.

To find a topic, you can do a search on your career goal or major in CQ Researcher.  You can also search under these terms:   X [your major or career goal] and controversy or X and associations.  You can also just put in your thesis as a string of words:  Why _____Should ____.  Also try these:  arguments for ___ or arguments against ____.  Finally, use the words association and ___ [your major or career goal] in google to find the Web sites of your national professional associations.  Visiting these can acquaint you with the issues that are of concern for them.  Especially check the tab called “advocacy” because this often has their group’s position papers on current and controversial issues or pending federal legislation.

The first and last paragraphs of your paper, as well as the topic sentences of your two body paragraphs, should contain no research.  Use short sentences of ten to twelve words each.

Introductory and final paragraphs are five sentences maximum in length, and body paragraphs contain five to eight.  

With both the drafts and final copy, include internal citations and a list of works cited.  

Submit the required drafts of the paper before the final copy is due.   Grades on the two drafts submitted by the deadlines for them count for half of the grade.  The final copy submitted by the deadline counts for the remaining half.  Even if a draft is submitted late and you receive no credit for it, submit it to gain feedback.   Indicate in your heading whether you’re submitting a draft or final copy.  The date will be that of the draft or final paper deadline.

Photocopy articles you plan to use and place an asterisk (*) in pencil to the left of sentences you have used. Submit the articles with the draft and final copy. You will be turning in photocopies of any material you cite in your paper in summary, paraphrase or direct quotation form.

Whenever you turn in the final copy, submit the previously edited draft(s) too.   Also turn in two copies of your final paper and one copy of your photocopied articles used in the final paper.

Consult your textbook’s section on research documentation (and the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 7th ed., New York:  Modern Language Association, 2009, if you have it).


Title:  Why _____ Should _____

I.          Introduction

            A.  General intro. (3 sentences)

            B.  Thesis statement (“_____ should _____”)

            C.  Forecast sentence (“Doing so could help _____ (who and the benefit) and _____

                 (who and the benefit.”)

II.        Argument (Benefit) 1

            A.  Topic sentence (First, __ should ___ because ___)

B.  Discussion (benefits and for whom and how they could result)

C.  Support from sources

III.       Argument (Benefit) 2

            A.  Topic sentence (Second, ___ should ___ because ___)

            B.  Discussion (benefits and for whom and how they could result)

            C.  Support from sources

 IV.      Summary and Conclusion

            A.  Summary (2 sentences)

      1.  Repeat thesis statement

       2. Repeat forecast sentence

B.  Conclusion (broad, memorable parting thoughts) (3 sentences)

Each Roman numeral represents a different paragraph.

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