ENG 111 Research Paper Guidelines
Writing is about communication, so pick a topic that you want to discuss, and then discuss it with readers. Show readers why this issue is important; show readers which position you support; show readers why you believe what you do. Don’t inform readers but argue present a claim with reasons to change readers’ opinion. When thinking about a possible topic, avoid the topics that have been used over and over again – gun control, legalization of drugs, capital punishment, etc. Instead, consider a new angle. If you have a strong opinion on an issue, consider arguing the position that goes against how you feel about it. You will have greater success with this assignment when selecting a topic that you have a real interest in.
Explore your topic and find facts (or educated opinions) that support your stance.
Remember, this is your paper and your moment to have your say on an issue.
The research paper is the most critically graded assignment you will submit for this course, so be more critical of your work. This includes a thorough proofreading before its submission.
Remember, for a research essay you gather, inspect, digest, interpret, and present the information. A research paper is not merely a list of facts, quotes, and theories; it is a forum for discovery. As the author of your own paper, you want to support your own voice with sources, rather than use your voice to support the sources. That is often more difficult than it appears. The first step is to limit quotes and attempt to explain the research in your own terms through paraphrasing and analysis (see paper requirements below).
Remember, use insightful research—do not simply force research into a paragraph to meet the paper requirements. As for quotes, follow the guidelines discussed in the course, including the restriction of quotes to information not easily (or effectively) paraphrased.
AS FOR THE “TECHNICAL” GUIDELINES, PLEASE READ ALL OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION CAREFULLY:
Instead of making a separate title page, place your name, instructor’s name, course, and date in the upper left-hand corner (all double-spaced).
e.g., John Doe Instructor Penny Jacobs English 111.0000 (please see Blackboard for your section number) Day Month Year Double-space after the date, and center the title of your paper (without italics, quotation marks, etc.)
Double-space after the title and return to the left margin to begin the text of your paper
Also include a header that numbers the pages consecutively in the upper-right corner of your paper.
Do not use contractions
Do not use the second person “you” (or first person “I” if possible)
Write in present tense throughout (e.g. Doe says, not Doe said)
Include an arguable thesis statement
Include topic sentences for each paragraph
Use standard English—no cursing or casual conversation (e.g., Yeah it is nuts how much waste we have per day)
These sites can help clarify, if needed:
Since you will use research sources for this discussion, include parenthetical citations and a works cited page. Do not use URLs in parenthetical citations (e.g., jumprun.com), and avoid the use of URLs in the text as well (e.g., According to jumprun.com).
Conventional margins are one inch (top, bottom, and sides), conventional font is Times New Roman 12, and conventional spacing is double-spaced (including the works cited page).
Single argumentative topic Clear position and thesis At leastthree main points/arguments supporting your thesis Topic sentences for each body paragraph Relevant (and logical) supporting details Transitions within paragraphs, as well as between paragraphs Six or more credible sources used equally—no Wikipedia or essay sites! The FTCC databases provide credible, academic sources. Websites such as gov and edu are vetted (and reliable) compared to .org, .com, and .net. While Buzzfeed and Huff Report are easy reading, neither reflects legitimate sources, so avoid them. The best choices for sources will come from FTCC databases. Limited quotes, especially use of extended quotes—also, use signal phrases with quotes, as a quote should never stand alone as its own sentence Conventional margins, fonts, spacing MLA documentation—including parenthetical citations and a works cited page 4-6 pages of text (visuals are encouraged but do not count toward page requirement)
—Please do NOT submit this assignment through e-mail. It must be submitted through the SafeAssign submission link
Submissions will be submitted and stored in a plagiarism database.
• Remember, a thesis statement controls the direction of your overall paper; a topic sentence controls the direction of an individual paragraph. Typically, your main points of argument are your topic sentences.
There are many benefits to the legalization of marijuana [working thesis] This thesis tells me your entire paper will support the legalization of marijuana.
One benefit of legal marijuana is its medicinal use [topic sentence] This topic sentence tells me this particular paragraph will focus on the medicinal benefits of marijuana.
• Generally, you’ll want to give each main point its own paragraph. However, you may want to avoid the simplistic 5-paragraph essay by considering subdivisions within main points, based on the depth of conversation.
• When you establish your point (e.g. One benefit of legal marijuana is its medicinal use), support it with relevant, supporting details, such as statistics, illustrative examples, etc. (e.g. Studies show, marijuana helps reduce pain and nausea in cancer patients).
• Also note, avoiding counterarguments can undermine a writer’s credibility, so be sure to include common opposing arguments to your stance, as well as a rebuttal to these counterarguments.
A tried and true outline that works for an argumentative research paper is as follows:
I. Introductiona. Attention grabberb. Establishment of the contextc. Thesis statement that contains a claim and clear argumentsII. A background paragraph that explains the necessary history, definitions, etc. to bring a reader up to speed on the issue. One paragraph onlyIII. Argument one – open stronga. Evidence from credible, academic sourcesb. Analysis of evidenceIV. Second argument – perhaps not as strong as the first one, but solid one nonethelessa. Evidenceb. AnalysisV. A counterargument paragraph that provides the arguments against what is being claimed/argued in this paper. One solid paragraph is all that is neededVI. Final argument – the strongest and the best and the one that will convince readers to take your argument seriously. This argument will be the one you have the best and strongest evidence and analysisVII. A well-written conclusion that does the following briefly summarizes the key points (not restate them), offer a prediction to what the future looks like if the argument is not consider or a call to action.This outline reflects a paper with a three part thesis. Your thesis may be two parts or four parts. Remember also that an argument does not have to be contained to one paragraph. Depending on the depth of the argument, it is possible to have an argument spill over to a second paragraph.