Welcome to the LibGuide for Deborah Pansius' ENGWR 300 class. This guide will help you with library research on your argumentative essay. It will present information on searching books, databases and web sites that will help you define and support your topic.
The New American Webster Dictionary defines “argument” as “a statement or chain of reasoning tending to induce belief.” In this assignment, you will write an argumentative essay characterized by a clear thesis and evidence from several sources with the ultimate goal of persuading your readers of the merits of your position.
The first step is to find an article from a current newspaper or magazine that addresses an “arguable” issue (that is to say, an issue to which there is more than one side). Please try to pick a topic in which you are genuinely interested since that will make writing your paper much easier. I view the following topics as too broad to tackle in their entirety: abortion, the death penalty, gun control, or immigration reform. However, you may focus on a narrower topic within one of these complex issues. Topics involving sports must involve a sports issue (for example, legalizing steroids, compensating college athletes, etc.)
You must use scholarly sources to learn more about the topic and find evidence to support your position. Your essay must be at least four pages in length (and no more than six), PLUS a Works Cited page. Your essay must address the issue, state your argument, explain the reasons for your position, and address/rebut the counterargument.
Because of the need to have a reasonable counterargument, avoid issues that are obviously one-sided (for example, we need to end domestic violence, stamp out poverty, save the environment, end all wars, etc.). Avoid topics that are so recent that the scholarly literature is limited. Assume that your readers are educated people who know less than you about the topic, so you’ll need to be SPECIFIC and possibly provide background information. You will need to use a formal tone—no contractions, slang, and do NOT use the first-person after the introduction.
Make SURE YOU READ Chapters 9 and 12 in the textbook. They can help you identify a topic and understand how to support your position using sources.