Argumentative Research Process
Argumentative Research Process:
1. Choose a topic for which you can form an argument.
2. Begin to form a “claim” or the stance/the argument that you are you going to make and prove
within your paper.
3. Researching and READING.
4. Library steps:
GALILEO-be specific with your keywords to limit sources. Check off (on the left side of the
screen) FULL TEXT, PEER-REVIEWED ARTICLES, and ENGLISH as the language. These will help
limit journal articles.
When you find an article, be sure to copy/paste the CITATION (golden folder) information-puts
the works cited entry into the correct form.
GIL: books on the library’s shelves. Start with Middle Georgia State University at the top-then
look through the entire university system. *Can limit through campus of our university.
Streaming Videos. Films on Demand. (YouTube). Great secondary source possibilities-watch
5. Begin to think about your claim-points that can prove your side of the argument.
6. As you read through the articles and books and watch videos, decide if they fit into the points to
prove your argument.
Checklist for Your Research Paper:
1. Your paper should be 1200 words. You have a few words leeway, but you will lose
points if it is off more than 20 words either way. 2. Create an interesting, original title for your paper which shows your approach to the
topic. Don’t use the topic I gave you for your title. Be sure to capitalize it accordingly.
Don’t make your title a complete sentence. 3. Review that list of your Top Five (or so) grammar errors. Watch for them and correct
them before submitting your paper. The “deadliest” grammar errors/punctuation errors are the ones we have discussed and I have marked through the semester:
✓ Dependent Clause, Independent Clause/IndependentANDDependent
(DC,IC/ICDC) ✓ Comma Splices ✓ Fused Sentences ✓ Fragments
Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement ✓ Pronoun Case ✓ Commas
Semicolon and Colon Usage ✓ Lookalikes-Soundalikes
Feel free to use a grammar checker on Word, etc., but remember that NO grammar checker is full-proof. These errors will seriously affect your essay grade, so take time to review for them.
4. Do not use second person you (you, we, us, our, etc.) in formal writing. Stay away
from it because typically, it leads to overgeneralizations: “We all have important people in our lives…” NO. What if the reader doesn’t? How would that make her feel? “A grandmother is the best person you can ever talk to…” NO. What if that person were abused by a grandmother or never knew his grandmother? Don’t isolate your audience
5. Unless you have a super powerful personal story to connect to the topic, stay AWAY
from first person (I, me, my, etc.). When writing formal essays, third person is always
the best choice.
6. Stay away from informal language, and avoid clichés in your writing. “A lot” is not
formal language, nor is “lots of.” Remember that this essay should be written with a university-level vocabulary. Avoid slang or clichés like “back in the day,” “cried her eyes
out,” or “day in, day out,” etc. Think of fresh ways to say what you mean.
7. Think about my past comments on your sentence style. Have I commented that your
sentences are short and choppy? Try to coordinate or subordinate the sentences. Don’t be limited to one sentence pattern. That makes reading your essay BORING. Change things up for the reader. If I made a comment about “sentence sense,” that means the sentence itself (the wording, etc.) does not make sense to me. Read your essay out loud or to a friend. Sometimes, doing so helps you catch errors. Did you leave out words in
sentences or use the wrong words (affect/effect)? If so, add or change the words.
8. Structure: Do you have an introduction that introduces your topic and narrows it to an
argumentative approach? To be certain, ask yourself what the two sides of the argument are. Your approach to the topic needs to be clear and narrowed enough for a 1200-word essay. Here is a reminder of a simple but effective structure for an argumentative essay: Introduction-bring up topic, narrow it, state the argumentative approach Body 1-Look at the other side of the issue, stating what someone on that side might argue Body 2-Point one for your argument/Evidence through an outside source Body 3– Point two for your argument/Evidence through an outside source Body 4– Point three for your argument/Evidence through an outside source (Continue body paragraphs as needed).
Conclusion-Restate your thesis/argument in an interesting way, summarize evidence
9. Remember that the best argument appeals to both emotions and logic.
10. Sources: Use Galileo first. Click for full-text and scholarly peer-reviewed articles to get
the best sources. You may use Google Scholar or even Google to find other sources. Just be careful of what websites you use. Check for bias and validity. Also, don’t forget about
using books. There is great information on library shelves.
11. Be CERTAIN that you have used internal parenthetical documentation, for it is
ESSENTIAL to MLA formatting. Without it, your paper will fail. Remember that with direct quotations, summaries, or paraphrases from sources you need to use internal
12. Do NOT leave a direct quotation sitting alone in your document like this:
Many scientists agree that more money should be devoted to Alzheimer’s research. “Alzheimer’s, said to be the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, affects more than 5 million Americans – a number expected to spike to as high as 16 million by
2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Although medication and other therapies may ease the symptoms, they do not slow the progression” (Bever). Attach
each quotation to a sentence of your own by introducing it or connecting it correctly.
13. Remember these guidelines: 10% of entire paper direct quotations (Use more
hrases.) The number of sources should roughly equal the page length of the essay.
14. You MUST have a Works Cited page in the same file as your paper. Without a Works
Cited page, your essay will fail. This page does NOT go toward the word count for your paper. You need to use the correct work cited entries for the sources you have chosen. Be sure that you have the entries in the appropriate structure on the page.
15. Check out MLA formatting in either of your textbooks. Do NOT use a header as it will
be on every page. Also, don’t forget page numbering **Don’t THINK you remember MLA structure. Take a few minutes to review your paper. No MLA=No grade.
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