Overview: As a final project for this course, you will compose an argument-based research paper that
responds to the following prompt:
Research a specific example of how illustrations and words are used collaboratively to support an argument, inform an audience (e.g., students, readers, constituents, etc.), promote literacy, or respond to an event and elaborate on why such media is effective or ineffective in its intended purpose.
Simply put, the research paper is designed for you to develop a critical position on the efficacy of the way words and images are being used in a text. Remember the research paper is not a summary or report. It requires you to assert and support a single thesis statement, and necessitates extensive research to prove knowledge and understanding of your topic. Again, it must establish a clear position on an arguable issue. Most importantly, however, your research paper must contribute an original argument to a scholarly debate. Moreover, this paper will also require you to
● clearly and concisely articulate an argumentative thesis based on the prompt.
● develop a cohesive written argument based on a specific issue that relates to the prompt.
● enter into the broader scholarly conversation currently surrounding your chosen topic.
● elaborate on the potential implications of your argument—in other words, this requires that you
answer the “so what?” and “who cares?” questions of your thesis.
The final version of your research paper must consist of 1,200 words, which is approximately 5 pages. Methodology: I recommend that you complete this assignment by following steps described below:
1.) Reviewallmaterialsrelatedtotheresearchpaperassignment.Besuretoreadthishandout carefully. The text you choose must allow you to respond critically to the prompt.
2.) Researchthefield.Yourresearchpapermustestablishanoriginalargumentanddemonstrate knowledge of the specific topic you choose. This step will require you to read numerous books, journal articles, and scholarly websites to become informed on the debate surrounding your chosen topic. You must incorporate a minimum of six scholarly sources into your essay.
3.) Reviewyournotesandpreviouslectures.Lookoveryournotesonacademicwriting,effective paragraph development, textual evidence, and MLA citations. Your final grade on this assignment will reflect how well you have mastered the skills discussed in these materials–namely critical thinking and analysis.
4.) Composeyourinitialversion.Inthisstage,worktodevelopandrefineyourthesis.Keepin mind that a thesis must always present an arguable claim–that is, a reasonable, well-educated, scholarly person needs to be convinced, with evidence, that your thesis is plausible or interesting. In college-level writing, “argument” does not mean a debate in which you merely agree or disagree, but rather consists of a persuasive critical analysis that convinces readers of your interpretation of a situation, idea, or text. Furthermore, using the personal pronoun “I” is acceptable, as long as you follow such usage with a critical verb (“argue,” “claim,” “assert,” “maintain,” “contend,” “aver,” etc.). You will want to avoid using such verbs as “feel” or “believe,” and do not incorporate phrases such as “in my opinion.” This kind of language subverts critical thinking and instead generates non-scholarly, inarguable statements rooted in emotion.
5.) Proofreadyouressay.Reviewyouressayforgrammar,spelling,punctuation,andproperquote integration. If you require additional help, I encourage you to check out the English and Study Skills Center (ESSC) virtual services, such as paper readers and tutors.
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