Module 7

The purpose of Module Seven is to move ahead with the current unit, which concerns research and argumentation.

Objectives

The Module Seven assignments will guide you toward the following objectives:

  • Engage in research to locate credible sources
  • Research career-based topics in online databases
  • Synthesize sources to gain an in-depth understanding of a literary work
  • Create an annotated bibliography
  • Compose a research-based argument essay

Overview

The Module Seven assignments will help you progress forward with your research-based argument. Specifically, you will complete and submit your final annotated bibliography and begin synthesizing your research to prepare for your research-based argument essay. The class discussion will help you develop an understanding of qualities that make for strong research-based argument essays that you can apply to your own essays. Assignments for this module include the following:

  • Complete assigned readings
  • Compile, revise, and submit final Annotated Bibliography
  • Participate in Class Discussion
  • Compose a research-based argument essay rough draft

Readings

The Module Seven readings include the three student example argument essays from pp. 174 – 186 in the chapter “The Argument Essay” from ENG 101: Horse of a Different Color: English Composition and Rhetoric. You can open each essay directly in separate browser windows via the following links:

Annotated Bibliographies

One of the major assignments due by the end of the module is your Annotated Bibliography. Your recent discussion posts reveal that many of you have decided on specific topics to focus on for this unit, which is important, as final drafts of annotated bibliographies are due in this module. Be sure to review the instructions and grading rubric carefully.

While you will not have an opportunity to peer-review full drafts of annotated bibliographies, peer-reviewing annotations in the previous module should give you a good feel for how to compose, revise, and polish your full annotated bibliography independently. Using the Annotated Bibliography Grading Rubric as a checklist will be valuable as you revise to ensure your citations and annotations align with expectations. Click the following link to open the rubric in a separate browser window: Essay #3, Part I: Annotated Bibliography Grading Rubric

NOTE: Even though annotated bibliographies are due this module, you do not have to stick with your current list of sources as you draft your essay. It is understandable that your selection of sources will change as you continue your essay-writing process. Regardless of how closely you stick with your current list of sources, you will want to include at least four credible sources in your final version of the essay. Also, while you must include a “Works Cited” page with this final essay, the citations for that final essay should not contain annotations.

bookshelves in a library
“Architecture, Bookcase, Books, Bookshelves” by Unsplash. CC-0.

Library Databases

Gaining familiarity with library databases can take a great deal of time, but that time will be valuable, as the skills you gain will prove useful as you move past WRT 101 and pursue your academic and career goals.

One of the best ways to become more familiar and comfortable with the databases is to give yourself some time just to explore them and experiment with different searches. If you would like guidance, it is recommended that you contact a librarian, as librarians are experts at researching and are always happy to work with students on topics and research.

Class Discussion Focus

One of the best ways to understand how a strong research-based argument can come together is to read and analyze examples, and the class discussion this module will require you to do just that. Specifically, you will discuss how the required readings (the essays linked above, under “Readings”) fulfill the goal of being strong, effective research-based arguments. As you analyze, compare, contrast, and evaluate the argument examples, take note of strategies and approaches you can use in your own essays and begin applying these strategies to your drafting process.

Moving Toward the Essay: Working Thesis Statements

At the end of this module, and by the time you submit your annotated bibliography, you should feel more informed about the controversy or issue you are analyzing for your Essay #3 research-based argument. You will have done a great deal of research, located a variety of credible sources, and given thought to how each source sheds a different light on the topic. You will be at a point where you will want to begin synthesizing the research you have found and piecing your ideas together to come up with a working thesis.

man writing ideas on a whiteboard
“Ideas, Whiteboard, Person Working”by Startup Stock Photos. CC-0.

Do you find that the process of writing helps you to understand how you feel about a topic at times? The act of writing can allow us to organize ideas, and understand our thoughts, and refine our interpretations and opinions. This applies not just to WRT 101 writing, but to writing in general. With this in mind, it is very difficult to come up with a perfect, polished thesis statement before the process of drafting begins, particularly when taking into account research and interpretations of others. As you recognize by this point in the course, this is why developing a “working thesis” – a rough thesis that will help guide your drafting process – is so helpful. As with previous working thesis statements you’ve created, this thesis statement will likely evolve and become more polished as the idea generating and drafting progresses. Since the process of drafting, researching, thinking, drafting, thinking, and more researching allows writers to learn more about their topics, it is common for writers to start with working thesis statements and to refine the statements as the drafting continues.

As you move from your annotated bibliography assignment to your essay-writing process, you want to develop a working thesis for your essay. Since the main goal of this essay is to develop an argument about a career-related controversy or issue, your thesis should encapsulate your argument and reasoning. For example, let’s say a student is investigating the rising cost of college tuition and has developed the following research question: “Why have college tuition rates in the U.S. grown so dramatically in recent years, and what can be done to ensure college is affordable for students?”  After delving into the research process and synthesizing the findings, the student may develop a statement like the following to use as a working thesis statement: “Rising college tuition rates have become a major issue in the U.S., and to ensure college remains affordable, the U.S. government needs to revise past policies related to financial aid and college accountability and create new policies that will help colleges reduce operating expenses.” Then, as the student continues to gather research and write out a rough draft, the student will likely become more knowledgeable about the issue and will modify the thesis accordingly.

The example arguments you will analyze this module may also give you ideas for research-based argument thesis statements and organizational strategies.

Working Outlines

After you develop a working thesis, you will want to develop a working outline to help you with the composing process. While there is no organizational formula you must follow, you will want to consider: How will you organize your points and paragraphs in a logical way that will allow you to fulfill the goals of the assignment? You have all created brief argument essays by this point, and the outline for this essay may be very similar. Here is how an outline for a research-based argument might look:

  1. Paragraph One: Introduction (topic is introduced in an attention-grabbing way, summary of controversy/issue is provided, and thesis is revealed)
  2. Paragraph Two: Background information on controversy/issue and its significance
  3. Paragraph Three:One reason supporting argument is developed and supported with research
  4. Paragraph Four: Second reason supporting argument is developed and supported with research
  5. Paragraph Five:Third reason supporting argument is developed and supported with research
  6. Additional body paragraphs: Additional reasons, if any, supporting argument are developed and supported with research.
  7. Final body paragraph(s): Counterarguments are addressed (acknowledged and rebutted/refuted)
  8. Final Paragraph: Conclusion (main points are summed up and final insights are discussed)

You don’t, of course, have to utilize this specific outline; however, this example might give you a good, basic starting point if you are unsure about how to structure your essay and organize your points.

Assignments

Discussions

CD7: What are Qualities of Strong Research Argument Essays?

For this discussion, you will apply the skills and knowledge you’ve gained through this course related to analysis, research, and argumentation to gain a better understanding of research argument writing. The purpose is to gain a stronger sense of qualities of strong research argument essays so you can apply this understanding to your Essay #3 rough drafts.  Specifically:

  1. Read the three student example argument essays from pp. 174 – 186 in the chapter “The Argument Essay” from ENG 101: Horse of a Different Color: English Composition and Rhetoric. You can open each essay directly in separate browser windows via the following links:
    1. Sample Student Essay #1
    2. Sample Student Essay #2
    3. Sample Student Essay #3
  2. Compose a post of at least 300 words in which you:
    1. Identify which you feel is the strongest research argument essay of the three and explain why
    2. Identify which you feel is the weakest research argument essay of the three and explain why
    3. Identify which you feel is in the middle in terms of strong/weak and explain why
  3. Contribute at least three replies of at least 100 words each. In each, respond to the assessments of your classmates by agreeing/disagreeing, asking questions, and pushing evaluative points further. You should also identity qualities of strong research argument essays that come to mind as you engage in this analysis.

Complete the above by the due date noted in the Course Schedule. Use this forum as an opportunity to gain a richer sense of qualities of strong research arguments and to develop ideas for your own research argument essay.

Looking Ahead

Module Eight will be devoted to completing remaining WRT 101 assignments!