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ENGWR 300 (Jackson)

ENGWR 300 (Jackson)

Causal Argument

Paper #3

First draft due: March 14: bring 2 copies of a nearly completed draft (at least 5 pages)

For this paper and the next, you will focus on a community of your choice. We will brainstorm possible communities in class. Make sure you choose a community that really interests you as it will be the topic of this paper and the final paper #4. However, the focus for each will be different. It is probable that quite a bit of the material you generate for this paper will be useful for the next, so in a sense, paper #4 will build on paper #3.

Once you have chosen your topic, you must speculate about the causes or reasons that it exists. We will do some brainstorming, in class, on possible causes for all your topics.  In the paper, you should briefly describe two or three causes, but then you must settle on one that seems to you to be the best available explanation. Argue for your cause and convince your readers that it is plausible by offering at least three or four reasons of support.  Each reason should be developed and in turn be supported by examples, anecdotes, statistics, research or studies done by various authorities, and perhaps personal experience. You should anticipate at least one likely objection to your speculation, briefly discuss it, and then refute it. The paper requires at least three outside sources and must, therefore, be accompanied by a Works Cited page. All in-text citing and the Works Cited page must be formatted according to MLA conventions.

A Note on your Sources:

Begin searching for authorities (your sources) as soon as possible.  Find those who have studied and written articles on your chosen topic. Once you have settled on a promising source, you are required to read and understand the article and to be able to discuss, in your paper, the main ideas intelligently so that your readers gain sufficient knowledge of your research. This, of course, increases your own credibility as a researcher and writer. It is quite common to advise readers about what others have said on a topic before offering your own unique point of view, which will be your thesis.  When supporting your reasons, you should refer to any of your sources that argue similarly to you. You may also use a source as a proponent for or against the opposition to your argument.

Paper Length:  6-8 pages.  Less than 6 full pages will earn you a D grade

Font type and size:  Times New Roman; 12.

** I strongly suggest that you consult your text book on tips to avoid plagiarism, to smoothly integrate sources in your paper, and to format correctly the Works Cited page. 

NOTE: (1) Grade points will be docked for poor integration of sources and an incorrectly

                    formatted Works Cited page.

              (2) If you plagiarize, even if only a few sentences or a paragraph, the paper earns

                   an F ( zero points).

              (3) On March 12, you will do in-class writing on all 3 of your sources. This means

                   you must start researching asap.


Introduction paragraph:

Give a description of the chosen topic (community).  Be clear and specific.

Body paragraphs:

In the first body paragraph(s), introduce your three outside sources and provide a summary of the main points each makes. Make sure you cite correctly. Depending on how much information you deem necessary to give, this section could be one, two, or three paragraphs.

In a new paragraph, consider two or three possible causes and briefly explain each. These may be causes that your sources have offered but do not have to be. Focus on one cause as the most plausible and explain why. This will be your thesis. The thesis must be at the end of this paragraph.

In a new paragraph and using a clear transition to cue your reader, state your first reason of support for this cause (the strongest/best) and develop it by discussing how/why/where/what it works. Then support this reason with material from one or two of your sources (be sure to provide signal phrases and cite correctly), or with an anecdote, an example, statistics, or with personal experience. You should use at least two of the above kinds of support.

In a new paragraph, using a clear transition to cue your reader, state your next reason of support.  Develop and support as above.

In a new paragraph, do the same as above.

In a new paragraph, using the appropriate cue, explain the opposition to your cause. Who might oppose you and what might she/he/they say?  Clearly explain the opposition, accommodate it if possible, but ultimately refute it respectfully.


Re-emphasize your own cause by reminding readers of its key points.  Do not repeat verbatim your thesis. Try to word it differently.  End by referring to the wider world and providing a sense of closure.

The Works Cited page will be a separate page and is not counted in the required number of pages for the paper.