Researched Argument

| December 15, 2015

Researched Argument

For Paper #4 you will write a researched argument essay that addresses an issue related to the U.S. prison system. Think about the documentary films we’ve watched (Into the Abyss, Locked up in America), about any direct or indirect experiences you may have had, any discussions you may have engaged in (in personal as well as academic settings), any material you may have read (in and out of school). Decide on a topic that interests you, and devise a corresponding issue. The issue should be sufficiently complex – something debatable.
Your paper shall be 10 pages, typed, double-spaced. It shall include proper source citations (in-text citations, work cited page).
Follow these steps as you construct your paper:
• Read what experts have already said about the issue.
• Examine the various dimensions of the issue by analyzing and evaluating the experts’ arguments to determine which are the most convincing, which are reasonable but not terribly convincing, and which are flawed.
• Articulate a thesis expressing your own position.
• Discover solid reasons to support your thesis.
• Return to the sources (research) to extract evidence you will use to back up each of your reasons. Ways to support your reasons:
? Examples —
• Based on a similarity to something that happened in the past.
• Based on a similar case.
• Based on a hypothetical situation.
? Relevant Information –
• Facts
• Statistics
• Points of interest
? Statements, testimony, or other relevant information from acknowledged authorities.
? Personal experience (be sure the experience relates directly to the reason you are developing).
• Summarize alternative views and reasonable objections to your argument.
• Respond tactfully to these alternative views.
• Structure your essay (for this essay, I ask that you follow the following structure):
? Introductory Section
• Opener – Introduce the issue and invite your readers into the conversation.
• Explanation and background – Familiarize your readers with the controversy. Give them the information they need to understand the issue at hand and make sense of the conversation.
• Thesis – Give your stand on the issue – your main claim.
? Body of the Essay
• Alternative view on one aspect of the controversy
• Your refutation of this view
• Reason + evidence for your thesis
• Alternative view on another aspect of the controversy
• Your refutation of this view
• Reason + evidence for your thesis
*(This pattern continues until you have covered all the aspects of the issue you have chosen to focus on.)
? Conclusion
• Recap of the argument
• Final statement of argument/final assessment of main issue and claim

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