DUE IN 12 HRS
Choose an issue upon which people disagree. Your task is to discuss this issue and take: a position within the debate. You will defend this position using evidence (primarily examples, statistics, and authoritative testimony) and logic. You should consider counter-arguments and decide whether to ignore or refute them.
Your topic should be appropriately narrowed for the length of the paper—some very large topics (such as the death penalty, abortion, the truth of religion) are very difficult to deal with in such a short space. You will have more success with a sub-topic within such a larger field (i.e.: “The death penalty is wrong” can lead to a paper which covers a lot of ideas but only very shallowly; “The death penalty is applied unfairly due to racial discrimination” would give you a chance to delve into more depth, which makes for better papers). The topic should also not be too narrow (“Should I change my hairstyle?”). Remember that facts cannot be argued (though how they are collected or evaluated can be, and certainly theories can be disputed); neither can personal preferences (no one can argue with you that green is your favorite color or that you like pizza). Your subject does not have to be earth-shattering, but it should be something about which people sincerely disagree. Try to choose a topic you care about.
Your support should be made up of a mixture of types of evidence. Six (6) outside sources are required for this paper; at least three (3) of these must be from published sources (a book, a magazine, newspaper, or journal article, or a government document), and at least two (2) must be from Valley College library online databases. You may use (and are encouraged to use) more sources if you wish.
Though they may contain some useful information and may be a good place to begin, some sources are not sufficiently authoritative for a college-level research paper. Specifically, dictionaries, encyclopedias (including online encyclopedias, such as Wikipedia), and general interest web sites (such as About.com, Yahoo Answers, eHow, Ask.com, etc.) will not count toward your required six sources. Please consult the Research Links about vetting internet information and follow the guidelines listed there when choosing your sources.
The steps you need to take, then, are as follows:
Define the Issue: Make sure everyone is on the same page, figuratively speaking. What is the issue about which you are writing? Is there background information that will be necessary or useful? While you may find a wealth of history and background information, this is not a history paper: remember only to include that which helps us understand the current debate.
Take a Stance: Where do you stand in the debate? Remember, a good paper is rarely just “pro” or “con,” but has a nuanced stance. While it may be tempting to weigh both sides equally, “fence-sitting” is not an acceptable stance; for the purpose of this paper, you need to take a specific position and defend it.
Defend Your Position: Muster evidence in the form of examples, statistics, and authoritative testimony that shows why your position is a good one. The bulk of your research and evidence will most likely be used here. Consult the web links on writing argumentative papers for more information and guidelines.
Consider Counter-Arguments: Think about what those opposed to you might say. Can you answer their questions or prove that the points they would raise are invalid, or at least not as strong as yours?
Papers will be primarily graded based upon the Assessments Standards. Evidence and logical argument will be key to your success, as will specifics and detail. Your ability to use MLA formatting and citations is crucial.
The final copy of your paper should be at least five full pages long. The finished draft should be typed (double spaced) in MLA format. You will post your rough drafts on the discussion boards within your groups; you final draft will be posted to this folder as an attachment in .doc or .docx format.