Jackson State Community College
Purpose: For this assignment, your purpose is to use all you have learned about written arguments in order to take a position in an ongoing debate about an issue. In this context, we can define an “issue” as any topic about which reasonable people can reasonably disagree. Your task for this assignment will be to become one of these “reasonable people” by researching an issue, thinking about it seriously, and writing an essay that presents a well-supported argument in support of your position.
Your first step will be to choose a question from the list below that you will attempt to answer in your essay. As you learn more about your issue by doing research, it is expected that you will come to take a clear position on it. This position may fit with an established side of the argument, or you may discover another dimension of the argument that you want to support. Whatever your position, your essay should provide a thoughtful, well-developed answer to the question you choose. Your clearly stated answer to that question will be your thesis statement.
1 Who should go to college? (Everyone? Only the best high school students? Where should we draw the line?)
2 What kind of college education (liberal arts, professional, vocational, etc.) should most American students be encouraged to pursue?
3 Should more young people attend community colleges for their first two years, instead of going straight to a four-year college after high school?
4 What should colleges do to help non-traditional students (adults ages 25 and over) succeed?
5 Should tuition at public colleges and universities be free? If so, how should colleges and universities be funded?
6 Is a college education worth going into debt?
Process: Once you have chosen your topic question, you will research the topic and draft an essay that answers your question, using secondary sources to help illustrate your answer and support your point of view.
You are welcome to use any of the texts that we have read this semester as two (and only two) of your required sources. Your remaining required sources must be new sources that you obtain using the research methods you have learned in this course.
To complete this assignment successfully, you will need to make good use of the writing process (prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing).
· Keep organized notes as you do your research, so that you are able to give appropriate credit to the sources you use in your paper.
· Prewrite throughout the research process. Let your research inspire you. Don’t feel that you have to wait until your research is “over” to begin writing.
· Outlining may be beneficial for this process. In fact, while outlining is a good prewriting strategy, I also recommend outlining between your first full draft and your second draft. This will help to ensure that your major points are well-organized and well-developed.
· Give yourself plenty of time for revision and proofreading. Since you have to document your research and write a “Works Cited” page, you’ll want to give yourself time during the editing process to make sure you’ve used MLA style correctly.
· Proofread several times. Plan ahead, so you have enough time for proofreading.
· Make a research consultation appointment with a librarian. If you’re stuck trying to find good sources, let the experts help!
· Use the Writing Center. Schedule an appointment or just drop by. The Writing Center is happy to help you at any point in your writing process.
· A strong introduction paragraph containing a clear thesis statement.
· A body that consists of a sufficient number of supporting paragraphs. Each paragraph should either provide evidence to support your thesis or refute a potential argument against your thesis. Generally, you should organize your body paragraphs using clearly worded topic sentences.
· To earn a passing grade, you must use a minimum of 4 sources to support your argument. To be eligible for full credit (an “A” grade), you must use at least five sources. Your research sources must, of course, be credible, reliable, and appropriate to your topic.
· Sufficient descriptive details to fully explain your supporting evidence. Since much of your supporting evidence will be drawn from your research, you will need to apply what you have learned about summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting from sources. This is a relatively short paper, so you should use quotes sparingly and avoid using long quotes (anything more than two lines of text).
· To avoid plagiarism, all words and ideas drawn from your sources must be accompanied by properly formatted in-text citations.
· A strong concluding paragraph that sums up the essay without being repetitive.
· A descriptive and appropriate title (titles like “Paper #4” and “Researched Argument” are neither descriptive nor appropriate).
· Your paper must use MLA formatting.
· Since you will be working from sources, you must include an MLA-formatted “Works Cited” page.
· Proofread carefully before you submit your assignment. Your paper should be written in standard, edited American English.
· Required Length: 4 to 5 typed, double-spaced pages (not including any “Works Cited” pages), in a standard, 12-point font.
Your grade for this assignment will be based on both the quality of your writing and the strength of your argument. Give yourself ample time to assess the writing situation, pre-write, draft, revise, and carefully edit your essay.
You will submit two drafts of your essay: a working draft and a final draft. For each draft, you will submit an electronic copy to the appropriate dropbox. Additionally, you will share your working draft with your Writing Team through our discussion board. Your Writing Team will give you feedback on your draft (and you will provide feedback on their drafts). Further details and deadlines will be posted in Elearn.