(solution) The topic you choose for your research project must be

(solution) The topic you choose for your research project must be

The topic you choose for your research project must be argumentative.

Your paper will begin with a debatable thesis or claim–something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. See Thesis Statements and Thesis Statement ExamplesYou’ll establish your specific stance and then explore your sources to provide sufficient support or reasoning behind your claim to CONVINCE your audience to either change their thinking or act in some way.See Top 10 Most Overused Research Paper TopicsAvoid status quo topics (like abortion, capital punishment, the legalization of marijuana). These topics tend to render the same information paper after paper. For example, if you choose abortion as your topic and proceed to argue for or against it with the same information that I may have used back in 1991 when I took this class, you will likely not render a successful research paper. If, however, you choose to write about the current discussion over Planned Parenthood selling body parts–well, that’s a fresh topic.Tip: Google your topic, then click on News (as opposed to Web, Maps, Images, etc). Read current stories on the topic to see what fresh angles you can come up with. For example, I googled “planned parenthood” and came up with headlines such as:

  1. PP Clinic Caught Selling Aborted Babies.
  2. What Would Happen if the US Defunded PP?
  3. PP on Offense, Warns GOP Against Shutting Down Shutting Down Government
  4. Former PP Clinic Director Explains the Tissue Donation Process
  5. Top Susan G Komen Official Resigned Over PP Cave-In
  6. I Don’t Know If I’m Pro-Choice After Planned Parenthood Videos
  7. Harris County DA Launches Criminal Investigation into PP
  8. Black Pastors Demand Smithsonian Remove Bust of Racist PP Founder Margaret Sanger From Its ‘Struggle for Justice’ Exhibit

Source Material


Your research essay should include 8-10 sources, including

  1. one book
  2. one pop culture source (i.e. TV show, documentary, blog, video, film, commercial, podcast)
  3. one popular article (i.e. from a magazine you might find at a Barnes & Noble or a newspaper)
  4. one website source
  5. two scholarly articles (peer-reviewed source written by scholars in the field; typically found in library databases) See Scholarly Journal Articles
  6. 2-4 additional sources

Critical Thinking

Always digest, analyze, interpret, and evaluate what you are saying.  Effective signal phrases may include: ?This means that,? ?In other words,? ?What it all boils down to,? ?Given these facts,? ?Here, one can see,? “Anderson acknowledges, comments, endorses, reports, etc. See Signal Phrases

  • Avoid signal phrases like “Personally, I think that,? ?As we can see,?  In my judgment,? “Personally, in my opinion, I think”
  • Provide status quo information to demonstrate that you are aware of the popular thinking nowadays that is related to your topic.  (?the existing state of affairs?)
  • Incorporate cutting-edge information to show that you are presenting the most recent and innovative thinking about your topic. (?the most up-to-date findings?)
  • Explore the causes of the issue as well as possible solutions or new ways of looking at your topic.  Provide a future consequence.
  • Pop Culture Connection: Provide connections to movies, TV shows, documentaries, blogs, videos, films, commercials, podcasts)
  • Personal Examples: Give examples of what you are saying.  Connect what you have elaborated with concrete situations in the real world.  


  • 8-10 page research essay (minimum of 8 full pages before graphics, work cited, reflection added).
  • Source material minimum (see source material criteria above)
  • Additional work cited page (do not include summaries from annotated bibliography. Citations only). See Work Cited Page
  • Half-page reflection on the entire research and writing process.
  • One-inch margins; Times Roman, 12-point font; Use MLA Guidelines and cite all source material. 
  • At least 3 graphics (pictures, charts, diagrams, etc.) 

Check the Research Process Prezi presented at the beginning of the semester to see where this assignment fits in with the 8-step process to completing the Argumentative Research Essay.

MLA Document Guidelines is a document I created to explain how to format essays for composition courses. This is a document you should print and keep handy, reflecting on it often as you turn in assignments.