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Argument Essay Assignment Sheet

ENGL 1301

Description: You should write a well-organized argument essay about one of the following topic: 

-Should the government focus on mental illness to reduce mass shootings?

This essay requires you to do research, and you should use at least 5 credible sources to support your argument. At least one source must be from a book and one source must be a periodical from an online database. Articles that we read in class can be used but do not count towards your 5 minimum sources.

Necessary Components:

Point:You are making a point (an argument) in this essay, and you are using evidence from your research to prove that point. This point should be clear in the thesis statement, each topic sentence and wrap-up sentence, and in the conclusion.

Evidence: You are using research in this essay to support your point. You are required to use at least 5 sources: at least one book, one periodical, and 3 sources of your choosing (another book, journal or periodical article, website, newspaper, interview, documentary, etc.). All of the sources you use in your essay should be from qualified, appropriate sources. Be particularly careful when choosing qualified internet sources (i.e. do not use Wikipedia). 

Counterarguments: In this section of the essay, you should acknowledge and refute the opposing arguments. In other words, think about what someone might say against your argument. Explain what the counterarguments are and then give your response to those counterarguments.

Citations & Works Cited Page: Because this essay includes research from outside sources, you must include appropriate documentation. Be sure to appropriately use in-text citations and Works Cited entries according to MLA format. Remember that you must acknowledge all material (whether a summary, paraphrase, or quotation) that you borrow from another source. Please see Engaging Questionssection on MLA format (starting on pg. 462) for more information. Refer to the PowerPoint on “Avoiding Plagiarism” as well.

Other Requirements:

*Be sure to use one of the organizational patterns discussed in class. See the PowerPoints over the Argument Essay and Paragraph Construction.

*Your essay must be at least 1200 words in length. It should be typed, double-spaced, 1” margins, 12 point font. See http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.

* You should also include one of your vocabulary words and mark the word by changing the font to red for that word.

Process for Completion:

-Pick one of the research questions given above.

-Brainstorm ideas about what you already know about the topic. 

-Go to the library and/or the library’s website to research more information about the topic. Be sure to use at least one book source and one periodical. If you have trouble finding sources, ask a reference librarian for help.

-Take notes from your sources keeping track of where all quotes, paraphrases, and summaries come from.

-Group your ideas into similar categories and start to form a rough outline.

-Decide what your point/argument will be and write a thesis statement and outline with topic sentences.

-Use your outline to write a rough draft that includes evidence in each main point paragraph.

-Revise and edit your rough draft. Use the feedback from your peers and instructor to changes parts of your essay that are weak.

-Proofread and polish before turning in the final draft.


Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas without giving credit and is a serious academic offense.  It can range from:
•    Turning in a paper any part of which you did not write,
•    Cutting and pasting a paper together from various sources without attributing the sources correctly,
•    Changing a few words but basically keeping most of the words and sentence structure of the original,
•    Using the ideas of another without giving credit to the person who originally had the idea.
•    Using the exact words of the source without using quotation marks even if you give the name of the source.

Refer to the syllabus for consequences of plagiarism in this class.


This essay is worth 300 points. Your essay must be submitted as a Microsoft Word file to eCampus by 11:59pm on the due date. Please see the rubric on eCampus for specific information on how you will be evaluated. C

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