Researched Argument

Draft Workshop: November 15, 2018

Submit Drafts: November 20, 2018

Once you have completed the Research Proposal, you will start developing your Researched Argument. The Researched Argument is an extended, source-based argument based upon a topic identified in the book Forked. For some drafts, Forked will provide little more than a starting point; other arguments may use more of the book.

A successful Researched Argument will include quality source material in support of your claims. It will also respond to opposing and counterarguments in support of those claims.

Specific Requirements

Length: about 2,000 words

Sources: six to eight (one must be scholarly/peer reviewed)

Photocopies: When you submit your Researched Argument, you must include photocopies of the pages that you cited in your draft.


Sample MLA Researched Argument/Template

  • Easy Writer pp. 259-268

MLA Format

  • In-Text Documentation
    • Easy Writer p. 221
  • Works Cited
    • Easy Writer pp. 227-228

Attribution/Signal Verbs

  • They Say, I Say pp.40-41

Templates for Introducing Source Material

  • They Say, I Say pp.23-27, 312-314

Templates for Introducing Counter and Opposing Arguments

  • They Say, I Say pp. 314-319

Researched Argument Check List

The following are some recurring comments from past Researched Argument drafts:

  • Attribute Source Material:Introduce your source material to let your reader identify the original source from your ideas. (e.g. “According to Smith, . . . .,” “Smith asserts . . . ,” etc.)
  • Who is this? Qualifications?:If your source has some sort of qualifications—beyond authoring the article you cited—you should mention those qualifications to emphasize its credibility. If none of the sources includes the qualifications of the author, the quality of your sources is suspect and deserves some consideration.
  • Objectivity?: Many “org” web sites belong to organizations with specific political and legislative agendas. Although it’s okay to use these source’s to help present opposing and counter arguments, you will need to use more objective sources to support your claims and assertions. Use the “About” page on these web sites to get an idea of the site’s agenda and/or check the organization using one of the web sites in the left side bar.
  • Synthesize Your Quotations: Short, emphatic quotations can work quite well. Quotations beyond a phrase or so should be questioned. Can you better synthesize them into your draft by including some paraphrase? See the “Integrating Quotations” handout.
  • Not in Your Works Cited: Make sure that there is a direct connection between what’s in the parenthetical in-text documentation (Smith 32) and the first word in the corresponding works cited entry.
  • Not Cited in Your Paper: All sources listed in the works cited must be in your paper.
  • Use Proper MLA Format: Review the applicable pages of the Easy Writer, go to the Writing Room or meet with me. Be sure to follow the proper MLA format for both in-text documentation and the works cited.
  • Thesis Sentence?: Develop a clear, explicit and arguable thesis sentence. Use your introduction to draw the reader into your argument and lead your reader to your thesis.
  • Organization/Shape and Paragraph Focus: Separate paragraphs (use the “page break” tool) and consider each one on its own and in relation to other paragraphs. Make a scratch outline that includes an organizational strategy that makes your argument more effective.
  • Solutions: Do not bury your solution in your conclusion. Develop it with specific details and include it in a separate body paragraph or two. Don’t count on people to do as they are told; give them motivation and/or incentives.
  • Support Your Claims (Source?): Whenever you make an arguable claim in support of your thesis, you must provide some sort of support. Often, that support will be in the form of some source material (a study, a survey, etc.), but you can occasionally support a minor claim with some personal experience, a hypothetical example, etc.
  • Opening: Work on your openings. Be creative. Consider sharing an anecdote or brief story. For your conclusion, try to make some sort of reference back to your opening.


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