Guidelines for the Main Essay (the Final Essay) Type of Essay: The Final Essay for this class will be a researched argumentative essay. Paper Length: The writing for this essay must land somewhere on page eight. The page length does not include the Works Cited page. If you choose to use section titles, you need to write at least 7¼ or 7½ pages because of the use of space when using section titles. This essay will include a thoughtful discussion about an issue that you are interested in enough to spend a semester in thinking and writing about. You will take a clear, but nuanced, position in the paper based on your own observations and research. The paper will be supported by correctly documented sources.
At least five sources will be used: five print or web-based substantive sources such as newspaper articles, books, and journal articles. Or you may include four print or web-based articles, plus one interview (either an interview you conduct, or one you have listened to. An interview is not required). All sources must appear as in-text citations (in the essay) and on the Works Cited page. As you begin choosing your topic and reading about it, you will need to develop your BIG RESEARCH QUESTION. This question will guide your research and lead you toward developing your argument. The main claim (main thesis) of your argument must meet three standards: it must be contestable (in other words, it needs to be something that someone could argue against); it must be specific (detailed); and, it must be substantive. Format: The following displays the parts needed in your essay. You do not have to use section titles. If you wish to give a title to your sections, you may use these below, or create your own. The goal is to make your essay clear, accessible, well-researched, and persuasive. SECTIONS OF YOUR ARGUMENTATIVE ESSAY Preface Captures reader’s attention and sets the stage States the Main Claim Reveals assumptions and background of researcher in relation to the topic (This part is optional; however, student writers need to be well aware of their own assumptions.): What have you taken for granted in the past in relation to this topic without much evidence? What do you take for granted to be true now? Shows evidence of research, background information. Perhaps gives a brief history of this topic/issue Briefly connects the topic to its larger context Research and Analysis Includes specific, concrete details Effectively and thoroughly describes and analyzes various aspects of evidence supporting the main claim Presents important, compelling characters and defines their roles Examines assumptions and learning by researcher Evidence of multiple observations, interviews, research Points out opposing argument(s) and explains why the paper’s argument is superior. Perhaps concedes a point or two to the opposing argument(s). Conclusion Summarizes the main points of the essay using language that is different from the beginning. Reflection on how the researcher perceives the issue after research; how is this perception different from the writer’s original perception? Works Cited Page Formatted according to MLA guidelines