Project #8320 - Argumentative Research Essay

 You will write a 6-8 page research essay on a topic generated from our texts. This essay will not be merely a report on a topic; you must have an argumentative thesis. Follow rules of MLA formatting and citation. 

 1. Select a topic to research that is associated with one of the texts we are studying in class: Candide, American Beauty, “Metamorphosis,” Hamlet, or any work from our text. There are infinite possibilities for topic selection. Here are a few suggestions:

The Enlightenment

The Dark Ages

The Renaissance


Inventions of the eighteenth century

French Revolution

Any historic revolution

Any philosopher

Any specific philosophy: existentialism, postmodernism, Buddhism, Marxism, etc.

The family

Teenage angst

Midlife crisis

The American Dream






Any specific topic about film: cinematography, film noire, history of film, etc.

Any specific topic in literature: Victorian literature, Modern Literature, a biography on an author or poet, the memoir, the publishing industry, etc.


  1. Research your topic using library resources and search engines. Pay particular attention to electronic database sources available through the library. Though you may NOT use an encyclopedia as one of your sources, you should reference one for preliminary information on your topic and for narrowing the perspectives on your topic. This discovery of subtopics is especially useful if your topic is broad. For example, writing everything there is to know about the Enlightenment could easily fill hundreds of pages; writing about the influence of the Enlightenment on colonial America or the US Constitution narrows the topic to a manageable length.
  2. Be sure your research includes at least three scholarly sources. These articles/essays will be published in academic journals by credentialed experts in the field. Most articles found in the library’s electronic databases qualify as academic sources. You should have about six sources total.
  3. Keep track of your sources with a working bibliography.
  4. After reviewing the information in various sources, construct a working thesis. This statement will demonstrate YOUR conclusion about your topic. For example, if you are writing about large corporations, after reading all your resource material, you might conclude that corporations compromise the integrity of a society or, conversely, that they contribute to the integrity of a society. Consider that sort of statement compared to one that merely states that “There are many multi-billion dollar corporations in America.” No one would argue that statement of fact. Remember: a thesis is arguable.
  5. List your points of support. You may not really fully know what those points are without having done some (or a great deal of) prewriting.
  6. Write a draft that structures your argument.
  7. Revise
  8. Revise
  9. Revise
  10. Submit

 So, to repeat the important points,

 Select a topic from our texts. 

Too broad: consult encyclopedia and scholarship.

Too narrow: find the umbrella under which it fits. For example, you want to research Voltaire as a philosopher, but there is not enough info, so you look at philosophers during the Enlightenment.

 Argument: Go back to your scholarly sources. All of these, by definition, will have an argument. For example, you can read papers, magazines, and history books for info about Iraq War, but all will merely provide facts. Scholarly articles (found through library databases) will offer perspectives.

 To find your argument:

  •  Read all sources.
  • Close them all (place them aside).
  • What conclusion did you draw?
  • Freewrite!

 Citing: If using a scholar’s ideas (perspectives, arguments), cite them. Cite quotes also. Cite in-text and for works cited. Library link to MLA will provide details on citing.

Use Times Roman or Courier New 12-pt font ONLY. 

Subject English
Due By (Pacific Time) 07/01/2013 04:00 pm
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