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The Researched Argument of Fact

The Researched Argument of Fact Assignment

Remember that you are attempting to bring something new to the conversation that surrounds your topic. Stay away from tired or clichéd arguments. For example, you thesis for this paper can’t be “Guns don’t kill, people do.” That’s been done over and over and over. If you love a specific topic, find a new angle or tidbit of information that you can argue

Your argument will not be that we should or shouldn’t or need to do something. That’s persuasion and/or arguing to convince. Rather than argue, for example, that we should not allow kids to watch too much TV, argue a fact that supports your stance such as this: Allowing kids to watch too much television inhibits normal brain development. Then your entire paper will work toward proving this “fact.

The Researched Argument of Fact: Joining the Scholarly Conversation

Directions: For this paper you will write a well-researched argument of fact, one in which you get in on the conversation (because that is what academic writing is all about). You may choose whatever topic piques your interest or gets your scholarly juices flowing (with a few exceptions).

What type of paper are you being asked to write?

For this assignment, you will be writing an argument of fact that is grounded in research with all claims fully supported. While many of us have written research reports in the past using encyclopedias and other sources, today your assignment is somewhat more ambitious. In academic writing, you do not merely report on the nature of something, you also join in on the scholarly conversation.

So this means that you will select a topic, narrow it to a certain aspect of that topic based on your early research findings, and then join in the conversation bringing to it a unique perspective. You may want to reread Chapter 8 if you are still unclear as to what an argument of fact is. There is also a guide to writing this type of argument that begins on page 167 in EAA.


What topic can you choose?

You are free to explore whatever topic strikes you (with a few exceptions), but this paper must be written for this class and not a recycled paper from a previous class. Remember–you are adding to the conversation in some way, not simply reporting on the same facts that everyone else is.

With that in mind, stay away from tired topics such as the death penalty, legalizing marijuana, abortion, gay marriage, gun control, assisted suicide, etc. unless you have something new and fresh to bring to the conversation. See the “How do I begin researching?” section for some ideas.

What are the requirements?

You will approach this paper like you would any argument: stating a thesis (aka claim, aka argument) and then supporting it with evidence. You will engage a minimum of six outside sources and acknowledge opposing claims, arguments, trends, and schools of thought. Your research will work to support your claim as well as serve to uncover opposing or conflicting viewpoints.

  • MLA: Paper must be formatted correctly (use 12 pt font, double space, 1” margins, etc.). All source citations will be listed on the works cited page and in-text according to MLA specifications.


  • Outside Sources: A minimum of six outside sources must be engaged within your argument. At least two of these must come from one or more of the electronic databases, accessible through the library. I highly recommend that one of these be an interview or survey that you conduct. ***In your annotated bibliography, you will list at least 10 sources. Only six are required to be used in your paper.*** NO WIKIPEDIA.


  • Length: 7-10 pages (not including the works cited page)


  • Organization: Consider using the five-part version of the classical pattern that begins on page 124 of your text or Toulmin’s structure that is outlined beginning on page 131. You may find it helpful to write your outline using one of these formats.


  • Can you use graphics? You bet. The size must be within reason and they must work effectively in your paper as evidence (not for decoration) But guess what? If you use them, you must cite them in your works cited. Look in EAA on pages 461-462, #s 51, 54-56 for how to format the works cited listing. One caveat: You must have at least 6 pages of written work in addition to any graphics (not including your works cited) and the paper must be no less than 7 pages.
How do you begin researching?

The unskilled researcher comes to a conclusion and then seeks out sources that verify their preconceived, often misinformed theories. You, my scholar, are far more skilled than that. For this paper, it’s best to research something you want to know. Create a question that you will seek to answer through your research. That answer to that research question will be your thesis. For example, some things that I am personally wondering about:

  1. How does the shift toward using e-books impact the way students study and learn? OR: What are some best practices for studying with electronic books and other electronic resources professors use in class in lieu of traditional printed textbooks?
  2. What are the sociological impacts of how we communicate these days where the give and take of traditional conversation has morphed into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube posts that are all about the poster?
  3. If you have read any comments left on blogs or YouTube videos, you have likely encountered some harsh posts left by viewers and readers. How has being rude to strangers become an accepted norm? Or: What the heck is wrong with people? What has happened to polite culture? How is THIS impacting us sociologically?

Essentially for the RAF you just formulate a question based on a topic you want to know something about, research it, analyze that research and construct your thesis.

Scoring Rubric for The Researched Argument of Fact

Score 20 A+

***For those of you striving for an A+, this is your number.***

Research and Argument about a Controversial Issue

Essay demonstrates excellent composition skills including a clear and thought-provoking thesis, appropriate and effective organization, lively and convincing supporting materials, effective diction and sentence skills, and perfect or near perfect mechanics including spelling and punctuation. The writing perfectly accomplishes the objectives of the assignment.


Last Updated on July 19, 2020

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