Researched Argument Essay
Purpose: In this essay, your job is to put forth an argument or propose a solution to a current, debatable issue. You will support that argument with all the research you have done so far in your Inquiry Journal project.
Organization: The following structure is adapted from R.P. Wolff’s guide, “A Simple Foolproof Method for Writing Philosophy Papers.” A copy of the article is on the next page (optional reading). Your paper should contain the following elements (not necessarily in this order).
I – Background and Definitions. This is where you state what the problem is, establish the exigence of the issue, and give the readers any background information they need to understand. If your subject is very technical (say, an argument about complex fire codes) this may take a page or more. If it’s something that most people know about, it might be much shorter. You can also use this section to engage the reader by telling a story, asking questions, posing a dilemma, etc. This section should culminate in a…
II – Thesis. The crux of your argument. This may be a proposal, a solution, a definition, etc. We will discuss thesis types in class.
III – Explanation of Your Thesis. As with the background, the amount of explanation will depend on how technical or complex your thesis is. This is where you will use statistics and facts to establish your credibility.
IV – Arguments in Support of Your Thesis. You will then use logical reasons (those “because” statements) to support your thesis, plus evidence (quotes, statistics, anecdotes, details) to support your reasons. Be sure to use plenty of concrete examples from reliable sources to convince your reader. This is where all that research comes in! One reminder – be sure to explicitly tie your evidence back to your original thesis. Otherwise, your long story or list of facts will sound like you’re going off on a tangent. This should take several pages
V – Objections and Rebuttals. In this section, you fairly and evenhandedly examine other proposals, then show why yours is superior. The basic format (though not the actual wording) is:
Others may say that…. But these people are wrong because….
or, if you use counter-argument: Others may say that…. and while this is a good point, it’s not as valid as….
Take your objections seriously and rebut them thoroughly. This will probably take a page or so.
VI – Conclusion. This is where you bring it all together. Issue a call to action, give a warning, explore implications for the future, emphasize readers’ role in the problem and the solution, etc.
…that’s it. If you do all these things completely, you will have no problem reaching the word count!
Length: 1000 words
Format: Use MLA format throughout.
Citations: Your paper must also include a Works Cited page that includes the articles from your Inquiry Journal and any other sources you have consulted. Use parenthetical in-text citations throughout the paper for anything you learned anywhere.