Paper #3–The Persuasive Research Paper
We will be working on the Persuasive Research Paper for the next two units. Please keep in mind that this is the longest paper you will write for this class. (This paper is also worth more of your grade than others in this course.)
In the Persuasive Research Paper, you will simply want to take a position on an issue of your choice, using research to support your position and to try to convince others to adopt your position. This paper should be at least 4-6 pages long (at least 1000-1500 words), it should include at least four sources, and it should accomplish the following:
*State your audience.
*Clearly articulate your position as well as the reasons why you hold this position, using evidence to support the validity of your stance.
*Present information confidently and efficiently.
*Use established information for support, as well as personal “evidence” (if applicable) such as short anecdotes and examples from your own experience, or the experience of others.
*Maintain a persuasive tone that will be accessible (not alienating or insulting) to your particular audience.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Papers on the following topics will not be accepted:
* capital punishment
I’ve already read more papers on these topics than anyone should in an entire lifetime, so I won’t read anymore. I encourage you to be more creative in selecting your topic.
Part I: Invention
*Note: Please complete this week’s reading assignment before continuing with this lecture.
Your book offers a variety of topic suggestions for the Persuasive Research Paper. You’ve probably noticed at all of the topics in the book deal with controversial issues. This is always true of persuasive research topics. After all, if everyone already agrees on something, why would you need to persuade them?
All of these topics work well for these paper, so feel free to consider any of the suggestions in the book.
Notice that there are really no limits in terms of your topics for this paper. However, you do want to pick something that is specific-enough in focus, so that you can adequately cover the topic in 4-6 pages (at least 1000-1500 words).
Your topics for this paper, in my class, can also be related to national current events, national policies, or issues of national debate (other than the specific topics that I have warned again in the “Assignment” section). Alternatively, your topic can be focused on a local or workplace issues. I do, however, have two important recommendations:
1.) Try to steer away from topics that have already been beaten to death or that are impossible to prove using logic or evidence. For instance, “abortion” has been written about so much that it’s difficult for someone to say anything new. Likewise, issues of faith (such as “why everyone should be a part of X religion”) are also problematic, as they are issues of faith. Since “faith” by nature means that you believe in something even though you can’t prove it, topics related to faith don’t work very well for the Persuasive Research Paper.
2.) Choose something you care about. Once again, the best writing has passion and conviction behind it. And, in this paper, you may spend a little time discussing your personal connection or personal stake in the issue. In fact, I highly recommend that you do include at least a brief discussion of your personal connection/stake, as this makes the paper more interesting, creative, and individualized.
Our reading this week in Chapter 6 offers you examples of position papers and a detailed discussion of the strategies you may use in crafting your own paper. The Guide to Writing section at the end of this chapter is designed to help you choose your topic and find the sources that you need. (“Sources” for this paper can include dictionaries, encyclopedias, internet articles, magazine or newspaper articles, books, etc.)
Please study the Guide to Writing (especially the first few pages of this section) carefully and use the steps described to prepare yourself to write this paper.
Part II: Drafting
The Persuasive Research Paper must be 4-6 pages long (at least 1000-1500 words). You’ll want to provide a clear position and compelling reasons and support for this position. You will also want to anticipate the objections and opposing positions that you might get in reaction to your paper. But how do you organize all of this?
Keep your textbook handy for references in this lecture.
YOUR FIRST TWO PARAGRAPHS (THE INTRODUCTION)
Your first two paragraphs should do two things:
1.) Engage the reader and capture their interest.
In terms of capturing the readers interest, you want a good “hook”–something that will make the reader want to keep reading, even if they disagree with you. “Children Need to Play, Not Compete” opens with history and emotion, summarizing problems that have developed with children’s sports. “Sticks and Stones and Sport Team Names” uses a short personal narrative (a story from the author’s life) to hook the reader. “Working at McDonald’s” opens with a direct, bold statement, designed to surprise the reader as to its full meaning. (Also note how some of the titles of the essays in your book may act as “hooks.”)
For those with older editions of our textbook: In the 8th edition, “Boys Here, Girls There” opens with a brief summary of a current controversy followed by a provocative question. In the 7th edition, “Why Shouldn’t Society Treat Substance Abusers” (pages 246-247) uses the imagine-move (Imagine that . . . ) to draw readers in during the first paragraph, as well as the question-move. Sometimes, opening up with one clear, compelling question or a series of questions can be a very effective strategy for hooking the reader. “Adventures in Equality” (pages 249-252) opens with a dramatic summary of the conflict regarding the issue.
2.) Make your position (or thesis statement) clear.
Notice that in each of these essays, the author’s position is make clear in either the first or the second paragraph. You will want to do the same. Also, notice how the thesis is restated in several places in the paper, reminding readers of the author’s stance in the middle of the paper and at the end, in the conclusion.
YOUR NEXT SEVERAL PARAGRAPHS (THE BODY)
The body of your paper should offer at least 2-3 logical reasons and convincing support for your position.
You will probably want to devote the first paragraph of this section to foreshadowing each of your reasons. Here’s an example: There are three reasons why capital punishment should be abolished. It is an inhumane procedure that causes unmeasurable suffering. It is a practice that devalues human life. It is costly and unsuccessful as a deterant of crime.
The following paragraphs would then discuss each of these reasons one-by-one, devoting at least 1-2 paragraphs to each reason. Within each paragraph, you’ll want to provide supporting evidences (facts, statistics, examples, stories, etc.) You will also want to consider opposing arguments–how the opposing side would respond to each of your reasons. And, you want to refute the opposing side’s reasons (explain or show why you’re right and they’re wrong.)
YOUR LAST 1-2 PARAGRAPHS (THE CONCLUSION)
In the conclusion, you want to reemphasize your position and summarize your points. In other words, you want to wrap everything up and tie it with a pretty bow. Reexamine the final few paragraphs of each of the essays in Chapter 6 for examples.