English 102 Exploring a Controversy
ESSAY 2 –RESEARCH PAPER: PRESENTING BOTH SIDES (1,200-1,800 WORDS, THIRD PERSON)
For Essay 2 you will conduct research on the topic you wrote about for Essay 1 and then write a paper that reports on your findings. The purpose of the paper is to give an overview of the main arguments on both sides of the controversy. A reader should come away with an understanding of the issues and points of contention that are being debated by credible sources on this topic.
Developing Your Paper Present your findings in following format. Please note that this outline describes the four general sections of the paper. It is not a paragraph-by-paragraph outline. The essay should contain more than four paragraphs. It is up to you to decide how to organize the information logically within this general format.
Introduction: Introduce the topic by providing background information and context.
Explain any relevant historical background that the reader might need to understand the issue.
Establish the current exigency of the topic: Why is this issue important for the present time? What recent developments have put the issue in the spotlight? Word count target: 200-400 words.
The YES Side: Explain the “pro” side of the argument, the “yes” answer to your yes/no question. What is driving this side of the debate? In this section, be sure to present the best arguments for the yes side, and analyze those arguments using some criteria, framework, or classification system. For example, you might look at the moral and factual arguments separately; or, you might focus your analysis on the quality or character of the sources; or, you might demonstrate how each part of the argument boils down to some foundational principle. Write from an objective, third person perspective. Do not use first-person “I.” You are not making an argument. You are summarizing and categorizing the major arguments made by credible sources on this side of the issue. Word count target: 400-600 words.
The NO Side: Explain the “con” side of the argument, the “no” answer to your yes/no question. What is driving this side of the debate? In this section, be sure to present the best arguments for the no side, and analyze those arguments using some criteria, framework, or classification system. For example, you might look at the moral and factual arguments separately; or, you might focus your analysis on the quality or character of the sources; or you might demonstrate how each part of the argument boils down to some foundational principle. Write from an objective, third-person perspective. Do not use first-person “I.” You are not making an argument. You are
summarizing and categorizing the major arguments of credible sources on this side of the issue. Word count target: 400-600 words.
Conclusion: Briefly conclude the paper by summing up the most salient points on both sides. Word count target: 100-200 words.
Write in third person (“Advocates of the Common Core argue that . . . ” “Critics of the Common Core point out . . .“ ). Be objective; do not take a side. Format the paper in MLA style. Use a minimum of 8 credible sources. Minimum means that if you use fewer than eight sources, your essay will not receive a passing grade. At least 4 of the sources must be from the Delgado Library. Permalinks from Delgado Library databases should be included at the end of the works cited citations. Provide a functional permalink to electronic sources. Permalinks should be included at the end of the citation in the works cited. I must be able to click the link and find the source in order to check it, so make sure the link works. If the link does not lead me to a source, it will not count toward your eight required sources. If you use print sources such as books that are not available online, scan or take a photo of the title page and the pages you cited from and submit with the paper. I must be able to check all sources. Incorporate information from your sources using summary, paraphrase, and quotations. Use a variety of types of sources (journal articles, books, credible web sites, etc.). Be careful not to rely too heavily on any one type of source, especially Pro/Con sources such as Opposing Viewpoints, reference web sites, or other tertiary sources. You can commit structural plagiarism by following the structure of an article, even if you put the information in your own words. Your purpose is to synthesize various sources not just report on one source. Only use sources that are credible for an academic audience. Wikipedia is not a source. Correctly cite all information from sources using in-text citations. Provide appropriate in-text citations for all source material, whether quoted, paraphrased, or summarized, following MLA style. Properly list all sources on your works cited page. The works cited page should appear as the last page of your paper, not a separate document. The works cited page should be formatted following MLA style. A full draft is required on the day it is due. Carefully proofread before submitting your paper.
Grading Criteria Your essay will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
Clear and focused thesis statement. Thorough, fair, and accurate portrayal of both sides of the issue. Depth and quality of research. Quality of sources. Paragraphs fully developed with detailed supporting evidence. Effective essay organization. Clear and full explanation of both sides of the issue. Effective, accurate, and fair use of sources. Proper use, citation, and documentation of source material following MLA format. Clear and precise sentence-level rhetoric (grammar and style).
Consult the assignment rubric for more detailed criteria.