As you know, the final major essay of the semester will ask you to write a research paper in which you will find 7-12 research sources.

Although our current unit won’t require you to actually “write” the essay just yet, it will ask you write three scaffolded assignments to set the foundation and begin building your essay.

So, first, take a close look over the assignment description below for the upcoming Researched Argument to see what you will be asked to do.

Researched Argument


Your Researched Argument is where you take the information you’ve gathered on your debatable topic (one that you may have been working on for at least the past three papers) and–rather than focusing on analyzing, proposing, or annotating–make a claim and persuasively support it using quality researched evidence.



  • 8-12 FULL pages (not including Works Cited Page)
  • 7-12 reliable and relevant sources (no fewer than seven, no more than twelve)
  • Adherence to MLA formatting guidelines (12-point Times New Roman font, double spacing, 1″ margins, etc.)
  • MLA Works Cited Page
  • PDF submission or Word file (.doc or .docx)




  • Does the introduction paragraph(s) include a summary of the issue and provide an objective overview of the debatable topic?
  • Does the summary explain the significance and importance of the topic?
  • Does it provide enough context for secondary audiences (who are likely less familiar with the conversation) to have a solid understanding of the issue?
  • Does the first sentence invite the reader in effectively?
  • Is there an underlined thesis statement that, in one to five sentences, mentions the author’s claim, references their call for action (which should at some other point be expounded upon in more detail) and accurately alludes to the main discussion points of the body paragraphs?
  • What does the introduction section do especially well?
  • What revisions would most improve the introduction section?

Body Paragraphs

  • Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence (that is direct but also not repetitive in language with other topic sentences)?
  • Does each supporting reason include the integration of sources?
  • Are the sources set up effectively?
  • Are the sources discussed enough afterward (usually at least one to two times as much as the quote itself)?
  • Are the sources scholarly — peer-reviewed research published in academic journals?
  • Does the author avoid “ranting” and fallacies?
  • What do these sections of the paper do especially well?
  • What revisions would most improve these sections of the paper?


  • Does the conclusion section (not necessarily just a single paragraph) restate the claim and main points in a fresh and different way than previously stated?
  • Does the conclusion illuminate further research or unanswered questions?
  • Thinking about the larger conversation and the bigger picture, does the conclusion explain the subsequent discussion(s) if, for example, the paper were to be tripled in size?
  • Does the conclusion wrap the discussion up neatly?
  • What does this section of the paper do especially well?
  • What revisions would most improve this section of the paper?

Please note that I will also use these questions as a guide when grading this paper, so be sure to compose your writing with these criteria in mind.