Argumentative Research Essay
Content: For this essay, you will choose a problem to solve. You will do ALL of the following:
1. Present the problem
2. Explain why the problem is a problem
3. Discuss the best solution to the problem and why you believe it to be the best
4. Evaluate other solutions to argue why they are NOT the best solution (i.e. counterargument)
Numbers 1 and 2 should account for no more than FOUR pages of your essay, meaning that numbers 3 and 4 must account for no less than FOUR pages.
Purpose: To use research and writing in order to actually be able to solve a real problem.
.Thesis: The thesis for this essay is a bit more complicated than the ones for the first two. You will still maintain the structure of claim + reasons/evidence. Your claim will discuss what the problem is, and your reasons/evidence will prove that the problem is, in fact, a problem. In addition, you will also list possible solutions to the problem – this can either be done as a separate sentence or combined with the thesis.
Sample Thesis: Addiction to social media can be a destructive force in someone’s life because it can result in a lack of employment, poor school performance, alienation from friends and family, and bad health. However, solutions to this problem include counseling, focusing on other hobbies, reconnecting with actual people, and getting rid of the Internet altogether.
The order in which you list your solutions is important. The first solution you list is the one you believe to be the best solution – the one you’re going to argue in favor of. The remaining solutions that you list will be the ones that you will argue are lesser solutions that will likely prove to not be as effective as your first solution. In essence, you will be ranking your solutions from best to worst (even if they’re all decent solutions, they can still be ranked). This ranking of solutions is essentially your counterargument/rebuttal.
Evidence: For this essay, you will need to use 8+ credible sources. Don’t use Wikipedia as a source – it can, however, be used as a starting point. Certain websites are usually more credible (.edu, .gov, .org), while .com sites are 50/50. If you’re unsure about an online source, send me the link, and I’ll give it a yay or nay. Print media (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) is usually more credible; use precaution, and ask me if you’re unsure.
Length: 8+ pages of writing, 1 cover page, and 1 reference page (10 total pages minimum)
Presentation: You will give a 4-5 minute presentation on your topic/research/essay. We will have a sign-up for the two dates (you will only present on one, but you need to be here for both classes). Your presentation can be as simple as getting up in front of the class and talking, or as complex as a PowerPoint presentation or activity. Please talk to me (or email me) ASAP if this terrifies you.
Possible Content (What You Will Present)
- Discuss your topic (a problem in general)
- Discuss your thesis (problem, reasons, and solutions)
- Discuss the process of writing the essay (from picking a topic to polishing the final draft)
- Just talk (lecture) for 4-5 minutes
- Talk for 3-4 minutes and show a related 1-2 minute video (video should be no longer than half of your presentation; so, for example, you can show a 5-minute video if you also talk for 5 minutes)
- The only thing you cannot do is read for 4-5 minutes directly from the essay (you can use excerpts/quotes – just don’t read word-for-word from beginning to end)
- Make sure to have a thesis statement at the end of the introduction.
- Paragraphs should be a minimum of eight sentences (even the intro and conclusion).
- If you’re struggling with what to put in your introduction or conclusion, see the Composition book as well as the “Typical Five-Paragraph Structure” document on Blackboard (Course Information > Course Materials > Essay Materials)
- Using ‘I’ – Even though this essay has a personal angle, you should avoid using ‘I’ even when you are discussing things that are completely related to you. You can avoid ‘I’ by using the following words: one, he, she, him, his, her, someone, a person, people, they, them, etc. Talk about yourself as if someone else is writing it. In other words, how would it sound if I wrote about you? As always, ‘you’ is almost never acceptable.
Possible Methods of Presentation (How You Will Present)