WP4: Research Paper & Presentation
The final essay for this course is a documented, argumentative research paper that will be the answer to a controversial rhetorical situation (Bitzer). In terms of curriculum, the purpose is to give you experience in research and working with sources. In a grander sense, the purpose is to give you more experience in communicating your ideas effectively and thoroughly. And globally, the purpose is to help other people. Choose a subject you care about, and consider proposing a solution so that others can truly learn from your research, discussion, and experience.
The length of this paper, seven-ten pages, necessitates an in-depth analysis of your very specific position, and therefore the real possibility of making a difference. In a few weeks you will truly be an expert in your topic.
NOTE: The argumentation model you choose to employ is your decision (i.e., Toulmin, Rogerian, Classic, etc.)!
The best topics are those that directly affect our lives. To that end, for this paper, you must research a local problem. In previous classes, students have written about the effects of meth abuse in their neighborhoods, the benefits of rural schools, the pollution from local copper mines, a solution to curb bullying in the elementary school system. Consider your life and area. Choose a research topic stemming from what you see and feel.
Your thesis must be argumentative. Rather than researching the history of America’s public education system, for example, research why the system must be reformed at your local high school, and how. Rule of thumb: don’t argue a position that is considered a common truth by a "reasonable" person. For example, don’t argue that education is beneficial. A reasonable person wouldn’t argue with you. Don’t argue that meth addiction is bad; we all can agree with that. Instead, what can we do about meth abuse? Or you could look at causes of it.
Also, don’t argue a position based on morality. In other words, saying homosexuality is bad because the Bible says so, or that abortion is bad because the Bible says so doesn’t get us anywhere because not all of us believe in the Bible, so the argument doesn’t have any weight. Instead, choose an argument that can be supported by facts, statistics, experts, personal experience, and observation.
• 7-10 pages long (exclusive of title and reference page)
• Cite a minimum of 6 sources (sources from which you used material, not ones you just consulted). Of those 6 you must cite at least
-3 from the CAC Database
-Remaining sources must also be scholarly; however, can be retrieved from databases of choice
-NOTE: All the sources must be published in 2010 or later.
• Creative title
• Tightly focused topic/claim and a clear definitional claim/thesis statement
• Effective reasons, evidence, and analysis
• Effective organizational pattern
• Clear topic sentences
• Smooth transitions
• Accurate, well-researched information
• Appropriately formatted APA in-text citations
• Appropriately formatted APA References page
• Critical Thinking + Analysis
Have I made sure that…
My thesis statement(s) is an assertion (a claim—statement, not question– that shows I have taken a clear position on the issue) which answers my major research question?
All my reasons clearly support the position? All those reasons are based on hard evidence (statistics, examples, anecdotes, illustrations) and my reasons are vivid, specific, fully developed and concrete?
My paragraphs are well developed with a general statement in my own words that declares my major point and then is supported by details (not the other way around).
My argument responds to counter-arguments and/or answers the opposition?
I have considered the fundamental assumptions of my argument? More specifically, I have included strategies in the argument to accommodate and convince those readers who may not agree with my assumptions that my argument is true and valid?
Is My written essay is logically organized?
The essay includes a balance of quotation and paraphrase? That quotations are documented with quotation marks and parenthetical references? Paraphrased information (that is information in my own words but obtained from another source) is properly documented with parenthetical references as well?
My sources are credible, relevant and recent? I have used the minimum number/types of sources?
My Reference page(s) is free from errors?
My title catches readers’ attention and encourages them to keep reading?
My tone is persuasive but not angry or exaggerated?
My essay reads well or “flows”?
Awkward sentences and grammatical errors are rare?
The conclusion paragraph generator comes to a natural, yet memorable close which reinforces my position?
• To create an engaging, informative, insightful, and creative presentation
• To deliver your thesis/research to an audience that needs to know your insights/new information
• To share your claim, reasons, evidence, concessions, and refutations
• 6-8 min presentation
Things to consider
• States explicit thesis
• Summarizes authors, sources that support your thesis
• Identifies authors, positions, title of readings, author’s key points
• Summarizes and reinforces main points in the conclusion
• Provides closure; avoids, "that’s all I have to say" and fillers like "uh", "you know what I mean"
• Explains information on the screen, avoids reading the screen; uses notecards, not papers
• Has legible words and images
• Accepts 1-2 questions at the end of the presentation
• Uses excellent eye contact, posture, volume; appropriate language, mechanics