The topic of this paper will be the issue of gun control in America. How you approach this issue is entirely up to you, but your position needs to be clearly stated and convincingly argued, with as much evidence as possible to support your point of view.
You must first start by creating a research paper proposal. Instructions to this is here:
-A clearly-stated argumentative thesis of your own creation. The thesis must directly engage the topic, and must state a clear position on it. Again, I strongly recommend that you write your thesis after you have done your preliminary research, so that your position derives from your findings, rather than directing your research. The thesis should be concise and clear. Aim for one or two sentences at most.
-Evidence from two sources outside of the text, with one quote from each to demonstrate how they connect to your thesis. You are free to use any of the readings we have done, but you must have two individual outside sources to receive credit.
-An abstract, which is essentially a paragraph describing your basic argumentative plan (see the research discussion post for more detail on creating an abstract). This is basically just a very brief condensation of what you plan to write about in your paper.
After creating the research paper proposal you will start on writing the research paper. Instructions to this is here:
this is the place to explore your topic and try to find nuance in your objective assessment of the issue and evidentiary material that you have found.
You should, however, use the standard essay form that we’ve been practicing this semester–you need to create an introduction that gives context/introduces the general subject of the paper, and end it with a clear, cogent, argumentative thesis statement, ideally of no more than two clear sentences; you also need to develop a conclusion which restates the main assertions of the paper, briefly reviews the evidence, and perhaps gives some indication of the broader context/importance of the point that you’ve just argued.
In between, you’ll need at least three well-developed body paragraphs, though more sections than that will almost certainly be necessary to properly develop your points and use the evidence you’ve found to greatest benefit. It is not required, but a sound strategy here would be to decide on a single point for each section of the essay’s body, and support that point with a source (either one which supports your assertion directly, or with two quotes that show each side of the issue at hand). The specific approach is up to you, but you should make sure that you are including at least one piece of quoted evidence per body paragraph, however many that might be.
Above all: do not simply restate what the quote says and expect that to be sufficient. Explicating the quote is fine when necessary, but your main job is to make your own points which you then support with evidence–really, to interpret the evidence and frame it within the context of your own argument–not to tell me what the evidence says in different words.
All of the usual requirements will apply (Full MLA format, works cited page, argumentative thesis, etc) as well as the following:
-Minimum of 1750 words in length.
-Minimum of four legitimate sources from outside of the textbook readings (yes, your two sources from the research paper proposal assignment count for this, as long as I haven’t expressly told you to find new sources).
Remember that your goal here is to choose an angle on the topic–gun control in America–and state a clear argument/position on the subject, which you will then prove using evidence from outside sources. Again, it is fine (even encouraged) to use material from the textbook if you can identify connections to the readings we’ve done so far, but that is not required; what is required is material from at least four outside sources.
Any questions you might have may be directed to the discussion page that has been set up for the research-related assignments.
And, one more time, GET THE FORMATTING CORRECT. I can’t believe I’m still saying it in the last two weeks of class, but some of you are still missing basic elements or getting parts of MLA format wrong. This is a basic requirement to pass this class–I’m technically not supposed to pass you if you don’t get it right. There are prose descriptions of each step, as well as a sample essay and works cited page for visual verification, all in your handbook. It could not possibly be easier to check. No excuses at this point. You can be assured that you will lose at least one full letter grade on the assignment if you don’t get the formatting right. Triple-check it.
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