Guidelines for Argumentative Research Paper

English W131
Argumentative Research Paper Guidelines

For your final project, you will be required to submit a 6-8 page argumentative research paper on the topic of your choice (plus a works cited page). Make sure to choose a topic/issues that has two sides and choose one side to argue for. Because you will be completing a substantial amount of research, you should have your topic chosen by no later than Friday, October 31st. All students are required to have their topics approved.
Research should consist of scholarly journals, newspaper articles (approved), credible websites, personal interviews, and/or government documents or websites. You must use at least 6 sources for your paper. The breakdown for sources is as follows:

  • No more than two website sources (but at least one)
  • At least 2 journal sources
  • At least 1 newspaper source
  • At least 1 book source

There is no upper limit on the number of sources you may use; however, the paper can be no more than 50% from sources. 50% of the writing must be your own original thoughts and reactions to your sources.


Your thesis should very clearly lay out your opinion on the topic and what part of the argument you will be addressing. The body paragraphs should each include a topic sentence, which relates to the thesis statement, and the supporting details of the paragraph should relate to the topic sentence. All material should support your argument.
Please bring all materials, drafts, and/or notes to each class once this project begins. There will be many times when we will have workshop time and I will work with students on an individual basis or have you work together (in pairs or groups).


The paper should be typed, double spaced, with page numbers in the upper right hand corner. Your name, the date, and your class time should appear in the upper left corner of the first page.


Your first draft is due on Wednesday, November 12th. Your second draft is due Monday, November 24th. Your final draft is due on Friday, December 5th. All dates are subject to change based on the progress of the class.

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