102 Researched Argument Essay                  

In matters of academic discourse, do not try to change minds; try to be someone who is worthy of consideration and create an environment that encourages discussion of ideas, not people.


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  1. For this essay you must take a position on a debatable topic from the list below.
  2. The primary goal of the argumentative research essay is persuasion, which means the topic chosen must be debatable or controversial.
  3. This should not turn into a rant, however; so make sure that whatever argument you make can be supported by clear specific examples (written in the third person point of view only), reliable outside sources from GTC databases and logical reasoning.

General Guides:

  • The introductory paragraph must contain background information that establishes context on the controversy and a thesis statement that informs the audience exactly the position that is being taken and why. (Debatable TOPIC) + (Your CLAIM on the topic) = good thesis.
    • Also see Bedford Handbook 151 for more assistance
  • Strive to be original and rational in your argument
  • You must include at least one, but no more than two, sources to back-up your thesis – all sources must come from the GVLTEC databases
  • You may not found your argument exclusively on personal opinions, personal experience or personal faith—religious arguments simply do not work on people who are not also religious, and “convincing yourself doesn’t win an argument”.
  • In an argument, you’re only as good as your sources—if your sources are not credible, it doesn’t matter what they say- you’ve already lost the argument. Thus, evaluate all sources carefully. See Bedford Handbook 152
  • You must include at least one paragraph with a counterargument and rebuttal as part of your essay (usually the last paragraph before your conclusion). See The Bedford Handbook 155-157 for specific guidelines for this process!


  • 600-750 words not including Works Cited page or header information.
  • 1-2 GTC Database sources (instructions for using GTC Databases can be found in the folder for this essay assignment).
    • ***Direct quotes from your sources cannot be more than 20% of your essay or there will be a significant grade deduction and, in many cases, a zero given for the assignment. For example- if your paper is 600 words, only 120 words can be directly quoted from your source. Use quote “snippets” and try to avoid whole sentences.
  • You must use MLA format:
    • paper format
    • In-text citation
    • Works Cited page
    • See Bedford Handbook 56a and 56b for citation information on citations within a BOOK and online DATABASE articles for Works Cited information.
    • IF YOU DO NOT USE YOUR BOOK OR ANOTHER MLA 8 SOURCE GUIDE YOU WILL GET A ZERO FOR MLA DOCUMENTATION. No one can guess or memorize these details- sometimes your “auto-citation builders” can be wrong. Don’t lose points here!
  • Make sure to title your argument so that it’s clear not only what your topic is, but also the position you’ll be taking
  • You must include an MLA formatted outline with your essay
  • Point of View: 3rd Person (no 1st person “I” or 2nd person “you”)
  • Your essay must be uploaded as an attachment via Blackboard as a PDF or .docx file. Transferring any document from Google to another file-type will cause your margins to be unaligned. Double check your document before you submit!


Argument Essay Topic Choices (only choose ONE):

  • What can older people learn from the current generation (ages 17-25)?
  • Are high school students being worked too hard?
  • Are parents adequately preparing their children to succeed when they move away?
  • Do sororities and fraternities promote social segregation?
  • Is society losing the art of listening?
  • Should transgender people be able to choose their bathroom?
  • Should all sports be co-ed?
  • Does America pay too much attention to issues of gender and sexuality?
  • Should America have trade agreements with countries that actively support male dominance and female abuse and neglect (countries where women are treated as property, not allowed to vote or go out in public without a man etc.)?
  • Should America close its borders to all immigrant populations?
  • Who is the all-around best athlete (pick a sport, any sport)?
  • Does the Griffin family from Family Guy represent the typical American family?
  • Do artists have to suffer to create art that can survive generations? (painting, music, ceramics, writing – consider any “art” form)


Additional Items to Consider:


  • Pick a topic that everyone is currently discussing. Pay attention to the rumors.
  • Select a question an answer to which is still unknown to many people.
  • Choose an audience that does not agree with your point and convince them with kind words and points, not harsh obnoxious language which will immediately make you not worthy of consideration.
  • Decide on the problem on which everyone has a specific point of view.
  • Choose an issue based on your own interests, but don’t go too far!
  • Choose an issue you can support with NON-biased, reliable and up to date sources from GTC databases

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