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Unit 5: Introduction to Research

In this final unit of the course, you will learn how to write a persuasive research essay. The skills involved in writing such an essay will be valuable to you as you move throughout college and even after, as you pursue your career. In the lessons that follow, we will practice conducting research, evaluating sources, integrating quotations, and making arguments.
In the final essay that concludes this unit (and this course), you should demonstrate all of the skills that you have learned this semester. As you are drafting the essay, I strongly recommend reviewing your previous essays and revisiting any lessons or concepts that you find challenging.
Student Learning Outcomes addressed in this unit:

  • Write in a style appropriate to audience and purpose
  • Demonstrate knowledge of indivdual and collaborative writing processes
  • Develop ideas with appropriate support and attribution
  • Use Edited American English in academic essays
  • Read, reflect and respond critically to a variety of texts

Vocabulary for Unit Five

These are the vocabulary words for Unit 5.  Remember to incorporate them into your Discussion Board in this unit.
Plausible       Objectivity       Substantiated
Integrity         Effusive          Superfluous
Sanction       Fabricated      Ambiguous

Discussion 5.1

You should have already chosen a topic for your final essay.  Now, you need to explore the multiple viewpoints associated with that topic. Go to the discussion board and write a brief essay (300 words minimum) summarizing some of the multiple viewpoints associated with that topic (for and against, pro and con).  At the end of your essay, present your own opinion on the topic in the form of a thesis statement or arguable claim.  Refer to the previous video lesson on constructing an arguable thesis to help you.
As you respond to your peers (2 replies, 100 words each), try to fill in any gaps you see in their understanding of the pros and cons of the issue.  In addition, evaluate the thesis statement.  Does it make a limited and arguable claim about the topic or issue?  If not, suggest ways to improve the thesis.

Writer’s Notebook 5.1

For this Writer’s Notebook assignment, you will be practicing paraphrasing, summarizing, and quoting. First, you should choose an article that you will be using as a source for your Argument essay. Then, you should find three different pieces of evidence that you might use in your essay as support material. Complete the Writer’s Notebook in 4 steps as explained below:
1. Create a “quotation sandwich” out of one of the pieces of evidence.
2. Paraphrase a different piece of evidence. Include both the original and your paraphrase for comparison.
3. Summarize another piece of evidence. Again, include the original and your summary.
4. Include an in-text citation for each! At the end, be sure to include a Works Cited entry for each source.

Writer’s Notebook 5.2

For your final Writer’s notebook in this course, you will create an outline for the argument essay. Use one of the outline templates provided in the previous lesson “Basic Argument Essay Structure.”  You can then use the outline to help you focus and organize the first draft of your argument.

Reasons Followed By Counterarguments

I. Introduction
Necessary Background
II. First Reason
Topic Sentence
Evidence & Explanation
Wrap-up / connect to the thesis
III. Second Reason (same as above)
IV. Continue with more reasons
V.  Refute Counterarguments (Counterargument
paragraphs can go anywhere, but they often go
toward the end)
VI. Conclusion
Might include a call to action
Or a statement of the implications
I. Introduction
Necessary Background
II. First Reason
Topic Sentence
III. Refute counterarguments (if necessary)
IV. Second reason (same as II.)
V.  Refute counterarguments (if necessary)
VI. Continue with this pattern
VII. Conclusion
Might include a call to action
Or a statement of implications
Peer Review 5.1 : Argument Options Menu: Forum
Please follow this link to complete the peer review assignment.
1. Read your peer’s essay from beginning to end just to let its ideas wash over you.  What are your initial thoughts? Did your peer satisfy the requirements of assignment?  Please explain in detail.
2. Review the essay’s title as well as its introduction and conclusion.  Think about the relationships among these three components. Do they match or do they disagree? Make note of strengths or weaknesses in these crucial areas.  Please explain in detail.
3. At the core of an argument essay is a debatable thesis statement.  Find the essay’s thesis.  Is it clear? Does it make a debatable claim about the topic? Paraphrase (put in your own words) the thesis of the essay to check your understanding. Review the assignment guidelines to ensure that your peer’s thesis is on target. Make note of strengths or weaknesses in this area. Please explain in detail.
4. Evaluate the quality of the research.  Do the sources and quotations seem relevant to the argument?  Are the sources professional and trustworthy?  Does each quotation or paraphrase have a citation?  Is there a works cited page with at least 5 sources?  Are these sources actually cited/discussed in the essay?
5. Focus on the individual paragraphs of the essay.  Does each paragraph have a topic sentence that previews the ideas of the paragraph? Observe the essay’s development of paragraphs.  Does each paragraph have a single main idea that relates to the thesis?  Are there any paragraphs that seem disconnected or out of place?
6. Consider the essay’s use of the English language.  Are sentence structures, grammar, spelling, punctuation and mechanics employed effectively, or do errors distract the reader from understanding and enjoying the writer’s analysis? Make note of strengths and weaknesses in this area.  Please explain in detail.

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