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Assignment | Argumentative Essay (Anderson): Writing

ENGL 1301 | Prof. J. Anderson | Spring 2020

Develop Your Thesis

Your thesis is where you put forward your argument in a concise, declarative way. It is typically one sentence long and comes at the end of your introduction paragraph. You should only develop your thesis after you've started doing your research. You can have a thesis in mind as you start your research, of course, but be prepared to change it if you find it's unsupportable with the information available to you.

Thesis statements should be:

  • Specific - lay out exactly the arguments/reasons you're using in your thesis
  • Contestable - if you can find a definitive yes/no answer within a few minutes of Google searching, it's not arguable enough
  • Narrow - not about all of privacy ever, but this little sliver of a privacy issue in this particular time and society
  • Provable - or at least something you can persuasively argue.

Your thesis statement should essentially give your reader a preview of what arguments you'll be presenting over the course of your paper.

"Big Idea" Paragraphs

These are your body paragraphs: generally speaking, you want one main (big) idea per paragraph. When you change topics, it's time to change paragraphs. This is where you'll apply your research and use in-text citations that connect to your Works Cited page. Introduce each paragraph with a topic sentence to give your reader a sense of what this paragraph will be about.

Where's Your Evidence?

You are not a literary critic or literature PhD -- and even if you were, authority alone does not usually equal credibility. Nearly everything you write in this paper should be backed up by credible evidence, whether that's pulling from your source literature or your research.

Give Credit to Your Sources

Credit comes in 2 parts: in-text citations + your Works Cited page. Your Works Cited page comes at the end of your paper and has all the nitty-gritty details about your sources. In-text or parenthetical citation are like abbreviated versions of those long citations: just enough info that someone can figure out which Works Cited source that info goes with.

Integrating Paraphrases

When you're using someone else's words, you're also using someone else's thoughts.

The purpose of a research paper is to gather all these disparate sources of information together and weave them into a new article that makes a new point. No, this isn't a new point like you've discovered a new planet, but this should be your very own unique presentation of the significance of your topic.

This is a very short paper: you should not have numerous long "word for word direct quotes from a source" in your paper. You don't have the time or page count to waste repeating what someone else has already written. You need to get your analysis, your synthesis of this information, written out instead!

Organize Your Paper

This is another preparatory step that takes a bit of extra time, but will make your life easier later on. Build on the basic outline below to organize the points of your argument into an order that makes sense.


I. Introduction - common ground

II. Main idea #1: support your argument

III. Main idea #2: support your argument

IV. Main idea #3: support your argument

V. Conclusion - call to action, restate the issue and why it's important. The big "so what?"

Instead of Quoting...

✧・゚: *✧・゚:*  PARAPHRASE. *:・゚✧*:・゚✧

Original Text from Source:

A much larger analogue of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble thought to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But whereas the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane.

How should you add this information to your paper?

"A much larger analogue of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble thought to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But whereas the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane" ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • Too long of a quote for a 4-page paper
  • Doesn't use any original content to introduce the quote or finish up the thought

The Kuiper Belt consists of icy chunks of frozen water, ammonia, and methane believed to be "leftover from the formation of the solar system," much like the rocky field of the asteroid belt ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • Only directly quotes what is needed
  • Original content introduces the quote

Though both the asteroid belt and Kuiper belt are believed to be remnants of the solar system's formation, the Kuiper belt consists mostly of ice rather than rock, including frozen methane and ammonia as well as water ("Two Years On").


The Break-down:

  • The source material is almost completely re-written
  • This would much more easily fit into the organization of my paper.

A bigger version of the asteroid belt, the Kuiper Belt is a cosmic junkyard, full of rubble believed to be left over from the formation of the solar system. But while the asteroid belt is made mostly of rock and metal, objects in the Kuiper Belt are composed largely of frozen water, ammonia and methane.


The Break-down:

  • No citation is given
  • Even if there were a citation, there are no quotation marks around the words repeated verbatim.
  • A few words have been swapped out for synonyms but this does not actually introduce originality.

Works Cited Citation:

“Two Years On, the Kuiper Belt is in sight.” The Economist, 16 Sept. 2017, www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2017/09/16/two-years-on-the-kuiper-belt-is-in-sight.

Grammarly

LSC-University Park students have access to free premium Grammarly accounts! This will be your proofreader/editor tool for your academic and professional writing. To get an account, follow the instructions in the Grammarly guide.