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1. Four to five pages in length, excluding the works cited page


2. A separate works cited page formatted to MLA 8th edition standards. A minimum of four sources are required. All sources must come from the FTCC databases. No exceptions. No .org or .com websites!!


3. Inclusion of the following elements within the paper:


a. An introduction paragraph that engages the reader, provides context, and presents an arguable thesis with a solid claim and sound arguments. (ACT à Attention Grabber, Context, and Thesis)


b. If necessary, a background paragraph that provides information to the readers in order to understand the issue. Background is not necessary if the issue is familiar to most people. However, background can include definition of key terms, explanation of key people associated with the issue, or perhaps necessary historical background. Again, background is not mandatory.


c. Body paragraphs dedicated to the explanation of each argument that was presented in the thesis. Arrangement of your arguments must follow the order established in thesis, and the order must be arranged with intent – stronger arguments need to outshine weaker ones. Depending on the length and degree of the argument, it is possible that one argument could require two body paragraphs. Body paragraphs will always begin with solid topic sentences and then move onto provide evidence from sources in the form of direct quotes, summary, or paraphrase. Inclusion of source material always requires an in-text citation as credit has to be given to the person responsible for the original idea. Analysis always follows the evidence as it is your task to explain how the evidence supports the point being made. The closing sentence in the body paragraph summarizes the discussion. Follow the MEAL plan to build solid body paragraphs. Please note that you are capped at three lines of quoted material per page. Three lines, not three sentences.


d. One body paragraph that presents the counterarguments to your paper’s argument.


e. A conclusion paragraph that briefly reviews the paper’s key points but more importantly offers either a call to action on the part of the reader or a prediction of what could happen if the issue is not addressed or both.


4. MLA format is required.


5. Topic selection is left up to the student. However, the following topics may be axed by the instructor because they have been argued to death: legalization of marijuana (a moot point in 2018), abortion (a settled legal matter in 2018), gun control/ 2nd Amendment (emotionally charged and little or no new argument to be made), capital punishment (no new argument to be made), same-sexmarriage (a moot point in 2018). For your topic, think about the issues that impact us locally. Consider an issue that is connected to your community. Keep in mind that this paper will not be able to tackle complex issues, so narrow down and use the Topic Discussion Board to help you as well.







Research Question and Working Thesis


Why do you need to create a research question? Can’t you just start writing? The research question allows you to focus on a specific aspect of an issue, and if written correctly will provide you your thesis statement.


What should the research question look like? You want to keep in mind that the question you create gives you the answer that could possibly be a working thesis. Asking a question whose answer is a simple yes or no won’t give you a working thesis.


Example: Should drunk drivers be charged with first degree murder if they kill someone while driving under the influence? The short answers are yes or no. That answer is not a working thesis.


Revised version: Why should drunk drivers be charged with first degree murder if they kill someone while driving under the influence? Drunk drivers should be charged with first degree murder if they kill someone while driving under the influence because…..


This question sets me up to respond with more substance.


Another example: Can teenagers be good parents? The short answer is yes or no.


Revised version: How should teen parents be held to a high enough standard to insure their children are safe? Teens should be required to do A, B, and C in order to make sure their children are safe. This answer gives me something to work with and argue.


A solid research question should never be answered with a yes or a no. A research question that will provide a working thesis begins with the words WHY or HOW.


A thesis needs to have two pieces: a claim and arguments to support the claim.


• Example: Teenage parents should be held to a higher standard than non-teen parents because this will create a safer environment for the children, this will help teens make better choices about their education and careers, and this will deter teens from having more children.


The bolded portion is the claim I want to make in my paper. Everything after the word “because” are my arguments that will be expanded on within the paper and will hopeful convince readers that my claim is legitimate.


• Another example: Creating a national database, training civilian staff to take on military responsibilities, and embedding microchips into all citizens are reasons to support a safer means of governing the citizens of the United States.


My arguments to support a safer way to govern are at the beginning of the thesis statement in this example.







To: [instructor’s name]


From: [your name, class.section]


Date: [day month year]


Subject: [the broad topic]




[The provided brackets, to include the heading, are directional and should be removed once you fill-in the appropriate information. The memo will be single-spaced and will be divided with subheadings, which are provided. Under the introduction, include a brief overview of your topic, why you chose this topic, and your current position on this topic. For this assignment, first person “I” is allowed. The Introduction and Topic Tests sections will likely be your longest sections on this assignment.]




[Under this subheading, explain your purpose for writing about this topic, and what you hope to accomplish with your discussion.]


Topic Test


[Since this topic will be used for an argumentative position paper, it must pass the topic tests. In this section, clearly explain how your focused topic is (1) debatable—reasonable opposition exists, (2) plausible—able to be proven, and (3) consequential—important to your reading audience.Be sure to include some of the more common opposing arguments when discussing its debatability, please.]


Research Question


[In this section, establish a research question to be answered through research—e.g. Is immigration detrimental to our economy or our safety? Later, this question will be used to create a tentative research statement for the visual and textual argument. For now, you simply need to propose a topic. Please do not begin writing the paper for the topic, as you will receive specific paper guidelines at a later date, and the topic must be approved.]