Now that you’ve written the analyses and practiced the skills of summary and analysis, it’s time to write a paper that sums up and evaluates the research you’ve done and, to some degree, argues that a problem exists and reasonably explores “the debate” on the topic. This paper should not be a full accounting or developing of your position, but it will provide an opportunity to practice the argument framework, analysis, and research techniques on the “best” sources you’ve accumulated over these past several weeks.
What Needs Covering
The paper should accurately express “the debate” or conflict, drawn from the research you’ve done. It should evaluate the more significant points-of-view and research you’ve found at this point in the semester. It should also involve a preliminary thesis on your part, though this isn’t really the intention of the paper as a whole. The purpose of the paper is to describe and evaluate a variety of points of view on the topic as a public debate. The paper should avoid counter argument. Counter argument will be important in a later paper in the semester.
Use this paper as an opportunity to express what you know thus far in the semester and try and follow this set of issues: what’s the debate; what are the multiple points of view on the issue; and who makes the more effective case? You should summarize the POVs you’ve chosen to use and identify, describe, and evaluate each of your major sources in order to establish for your audience the nature of the debate on the topic. At this point in the semester you need to demonstrate a fair amount of fluency with the argument framework, analysis of evidence, and that you have a good handle on the topic and its issues and authors (who are the players).
Here’s a checklist of things to cover in the paper:
Make sure you summarize and compare and evaluate the significant sources, aiming for accuracy and precise analysis of evidence, appeals, counter-arguments/alternative views; and Make sure you articulate a “clear” position of your own and develop your thesis so that the position and the arguments/reasons are clearly stated (now that we understand the debate, here’s what I think or here’s where I stand). I’d suggest just a few paragraphs at this point for your argument. Note that the Argument Section of your paper will be thoroughly developed in Research Paper 2.
A Sample Structure
A sample structure of this paper follows the argument framework:
What’s the problem and context?
Summarize the players in a couple of paragraphs.
Then go into detail and comparison:
Author A’s position, arguments, evidence, and eval
then Author B
then Author C
then Author D
then a brief sum of your own take, using the persuasive framework.
Draft no.: 2
Length: 1,600 words min