5-7 pages, MLA Style
Peer Review Workshop:
The right to be heard does not include the right to be taken seriously.
– Hubert Humphrey
To make an argument is fundamental to modern America: we argue about everything. We argue
with our friends and families; we argue with our neighbors and citizens everywhere on the
internet. The arguments are sometimes friendly and obvious (Nickelback is the worst band of our
time) and sometimes heated (U2 is the most overrated band of our time). We argue for fun and
we argue with purpose.
In the business and academic worlds, the ability to make good arguments is of paramount
importance. We advance our jobs and we advance knowledge through our arguments. An
accountant in a multi-billion dollar corporation will have to make an argument for the millions of
dollars out of balance on annual fiscal reports (unless his name is Donald Trump). The small
businessperson will have to make an argument to a loan officer about the financing of the
business’ expansion. The teacher will have to make an argument for the beneficial effects of a
new pedagogy. In academia the sociologist will have to make an argument for a new concept
based on empirical data or the literature scholar an argument for a new interpretation of an
Elizabeth Bishop poem.
Where in our personal lives we can make arguments based on little more than our own opinions
with little to no evidence and in some cases little to no logic, in academia and the professions,
rhetoricians and writers, to be taken seriously, must adhere to the aforementioned critical factors.
Imagine the small businessperson approaching a loan officer for money to expand her business.
When the loan officer asks why she should get the loan, the businesswoman replies with the fact
that she has a gut feeling that the expansion will be good for her business. Or imagine the teacher
who replies about the benefits of a new pedagogy with the fact that it seems exciting. These are
arguments that don’t typically wash. Instead, imagine the businesswoman with market analysis
and demographic information and the teacher with research studies. These are claims with
The Researched Argument has you writing about a topic in an informed way. Here are some
things you should consider as you begin this project:
: This is perhaps the most important aspect of writing well: finding something
good to write about! Usually, I would ask you to avoid common topics like abortion, euthanasia,
capital punishment, the drinking age, or legalizing drugs. These topics are so completely
overdone that there isn’t hardly anything original to write about them.
But, since the theme of
our class is popular music, your topic must somehow be related to music.
You want to be careful after choosing a general idea not to leave it too big. Think about
your topic: does it seem like one could write a book or number of books on the topic? You’ll
want to narrow down your topic to a workable, not overly general, size. Global warming is too
big; the various green energy sources are too big; an argument against clean coal technology is a
little better. An argument against eating meat is too big; an argument supporting the ban on froie
gras is better. Think narrow, narrow, narrow in relation to your topic.
How do you establish your credibility? In this context you establish it by showing
that you have command (good knowledge) of the issue. Using good sources is only one part of
this. Thus, for this paper,
you must utilize at least three articles from peer-reviewed scholarly
journals as research
(as well as quote and cite them correctly). You must also be able to make
logical claims and anticipate other, opposing positions; in effect, show that you know the
conversation surrounding the issue. Credibility also has to do with how you express your ideas.
You should present your argument using more or less correct grammar/mechanics and good
organization of your ideas.
Academic arguments have in common that they include assertions, context,
and evidence. Remember! You are a writer making an argument to an audience in a given
Paper Format Requirements:
MLA style formatting and citations
A descriptive paper title
1 inch maximum margins
12-pt maximum font size
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