research paper

Out-of-Class Research Essay in MLA Style: A 4 to 5 Page Position Paper on a Significant Issue

Following is a summary.

During the project, students will create a working bibliography, a proposed outline, a rough draft, and the final draft.

Required length: At least four full pages of text (in addition to the Works Cited page), typewritten and double-spaced in Times New Roman, 12-point font. The research paper will be on an approved topic and will require you to use library and Internet sources, take a position on the topic, and support your position with correct documentation. You may not write about the topic you chose for your classical argument.

Examine the issue critically, take sides on the issue, acknowledge the opposing view(s), and develop a reasoned argument in support of your position. As you did in your previous persuasive papers, you must take your audience’s opinions and feelings into account.


· Although you are not limited in your choice of topic, do choose one that has been and is arguable. Remember that a controversial issue is one about which honorable people disagree, not necessarily one that arouses great passion. Be sure your proposition (or assertion) focuses on a controversial issue and indicates your view. Avoid a proposition that is merely factual; what is demonstrably true allows little room for debate.

· At the beginning of the paper, identify the controversy surrounding the issue and state your position clearly. It should also provide as much background information as your readers are likely to need. Occasionally, the proposition appears at the paper’s end, but it is usually stated at the beginning. If you state the thesis right away, your audience knows where you stand and is better able to evaluate the evidence presented.

· Offer readers strong support for your thesis. Finding evidence that relates to your readers’ needs, values, and experience is a crucial part of writing an argumentation-persuasion essay. Readers will be responsive to evidence that is unified, adequate, specific, accurate, dramatic, and representative. Be sure you answer any major counter-arguments your position’s critics might give, but focus your paper on your own argument.

· Use at least seven academic sources in support of your argument. You must use at least two academic journals and at least three books. You may not use more than three sources from the Internet. Encyclopedia and other general reference books may be used only if you have the permission from the instructor.

· Make photocopies of the pages of the secondary sources that you have cited, highlight the passages that you have used in writing your paper, and attach those pages to your paper. (This is a requirement. The rough draft and the final draft will not be graded unless the photocopies are attached.)

· Organize your paper in a manner that will present your thesis, or position on the topic, in the best possible light. Begin what you know. Write as much as you can from your experience first. If you don’t, you may never have another original thought in the paper. Do NOT rely on your sources to shape your opinion for you. Do not string lengthy quotes together to fill up the pages, either; your job is argumentation, not editing. You should quote no more than 200 words. You may not use more than two block quotations.

· In-text citation and the list of sources cited must be in either MLA or APA style.

· Consider your audience carefully. Who are your opponents? What information do you need to provide so that they will listen to your side? What kind of tone do you need to adopt? Pay particular attention to your word choice and the necessity of defining what you mean.


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