Essay #3: The Argument (Research Paper)
For this assignment, choose a current controversy that interests you (see list of forbidden topics).
Research that controversy using a combination of scholarly books and articles from the library, national and international news publications, credible web sources, and other media. Write an 1800 + word essay in which you present, ALL of the major points of view on this controversy, analyzing a) your claim, b) the opposition or the sources of disagreement, and c) benefits to the opposition. Think about ways in which different media (scholarly print, popular print, television/film, radio, internet, etc) shape the controversy.
Each student will:
❖ analyze and use at least 7 – 11 sources (see below);
❖ find and use recent sources in the library sources no older than 10 years;
❖ quote, paraphrase, and summarize from his/her sources correctly and effectively;
❖ cite sources in the text of the paper to make clear all use of source material;
❖ create Works Cited page following MLA formatting standards.
The world around you abounds with topics for this essay. Look to the classes you are taking and the work you expect to be doing when you graduate—possibly even the work you are doing now, if it generates difficult questions to answer.
Avoid “stock” topics—the kind of inane crap that is already pre-packaged and ready to go, done to death by other people. This includes things like Gun Control, Immigration, and Abortion (see the document “Forbidden Topics” for a complete list). Find something original and current. Find something that REALLY MATTERS to people doing the kind of work you want to
do. Most of the stock topics simply don’t fit that mold.
You must use a minimum of 7 sources. Please note that 6.99999 sources will earn a grade of F. 7 is the absolute bare minimum passing standard. 11 sources are better. Sources are used for quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing.
Your sources must be credible, meaning that they must 1) come from established venues and 2) be created by people who know what they are talking about and who are willing to stand behind what they have said. Use a combination of data-based findings (scholarly material) and informed opinion. Be aware that for every informed opinion out there, you will find a few million uninformed ones. 3) sources can no older than 10 years old (2008 – 2018).
Types of sources to look for:
❖ Scholarly books from the University library collection;
❖ Peer reviewed articles from the University library’s databases;
❖ National and international news agencies, such as the Washington Post and Wall Street
❖ Established journals of opinion;
❖ Established websites written and maintained by subject matter experts;
❖ Broadcasts (TV, Film, Radio, Podcasts, etc.) produced by subject matter experts;
❖ Interviews with subject matter experts (a full word-by-word transcript must accompany
all interviews)
❖ Cameron University Librarians as well as Public Librarians are a great resource for
helping you find appropriate sources.
Sources to avoid:
❖ Any source without a named author. If the writer/producer isn’t willing to sign his/her
name to it, it isn’t credible;
❖ Any written source of less than 5 pages;
❖ Blogs and other websites written by people who are not credentialed authorities on the
topic at hand—lots of people have opinions on something, but that does not make them
credible sources;
❖ Digest sources like Current Controversies and Opposing Viewpoints—these are
appropriate for 5th graders, not for college students;
❖ Any source that is uninformed or cannot be verified.
The following topics are not suitable for any work that you will do in this class. This includes everything that falls within the broad scope of the issue (such as Stem Cell research, which 9 times out of 10 is a back door into Abortion rants). You are welcome and even encouraged to write about these elsewhere, but not for anything I have to read.
Capital Punishment
Prayer in School
School Uniforms
Texting while driving
Legalization of drugs
Childhood obesity
Genetic Engineering
Stem Cells
Underage drinking
Drug-testing for welfare
Gays in the military
Gay marriage
Women in Combat
Anything that requires readers to share your particular faith—religious or otherwise
There are millions of better issues out there—from business, science, medicine, the arts,
athletics, every conceivable aspect of society. Choose something genuinely interesting. Choose something that MATTERS RIGHT NOW to other educated people. Choose something that hasn’t been decided one way or the other yet. This means that you will have to THINK about your topic, and do some WORK to find and develop it. I know that thinking and working are UnAmerican, but I ask you to humor me. As always, I remain available to consult with you and help you find and narrow topics suitable for your essays in this class.
The Annotated Bibliography Assignment
➢ Your annotated bibliography will be turned with your final draft.
➢ You must cite at least five (5) and no more than eight (8) sources.
➢ Each source must follow the requirements listed on the Annotated Bibliography Handout
➢ Each citation should follow the MLA format
➢ The information literacy assignment will not be accepted late or as a works cited
replacement. This is a separate document from the essay and works cited page.

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