Choose one topic from the list below about which to write a research-based argumentative essay.
Begin your research. You might start with a general Google search and then a Google Scholar search, but you will also need to visit the AU Library databases
to find sound academic articles.
Find two to six reputable secondary sources and review them carefully. At least one source should be a peer-reviewed journal article accessed through the
AU Library databases.
Develop a straightforward thesis that is sufficiently limited in scope (meaning that you can do justice to it in a short essay). Do not begin this sentence with
phrases such as “In this essay…,” “This essay will,” or “I will argue….”
Create a very brief outline for your essay.
Ask your tutor to review your thesis statement and essay outline before you proceed further.
Write a first draft. Your essay must be approximately 1,000 to 1,200 words in length (about four double-spaced typed pages). If your essay exceeds the length
requirement, it could be returned to you for revision.
Your essay must include all of the following:
An introduction that includes an interesting lead-in and an explanation/summary of what the issue is. (As necessary, convince your audience that the
problem or issue exists and that it matters to others—or should.) Then, still in the introduction, briefly summarize each side of the issue, and finally, add a
thesis/essay map that takes a stance and clarifies the purpose of your discussion.
Hint: You practiced this skill in Session 2 of the discussion forum, so review your previous work and any suggestions your tutor might have made.
Body paragraphs that develop your viewpoint. The more thorough and detailed this section, the better. Don’t leave any stone unturned. Use specific, logical
examples, and integrate information from your research, as follows:
Of the reputable secondary sources that you located and reviewed in Step 3, choose at least two (and no more than six) to use within your essay. Integrate
paraphrases, summaries, and quotations from these sources into your essay. Then, every time you paraphrase, summarize, or quote, follow these four steps
to cite and integrate the source properly:
Introduce the source.
Present the research.
Credit the source parenthetically.
In other words, include “quotation sandwiches” and “paraphrase sandwiches” in your essay. Don’t just drop in quotations or paraphrases from sources into
your essay. (Some experts call these “hit-and-run quotations,” “dropped quotations,” or “floating quotations.”)
Opposing arguments/rebuttal. There are a variety of ways to approach this component. You will do it differently based on whether you are following Pattern A
or Pattern B, and based on what your approach to the topic requires. When writing persuasively, assume that your audience opposes your thesis. Then, as
you write, try to foresee any possible objections the opposition might have to your argument, and address those objections as necessary. This might be as
simple as a sentence in your introduction or a sentence or two within the body paragraphs. Depending on the debate, a paragraph after your introduction or
before your conclusion might be necessary. Be mindful that the only reason to address opposing arguments is to rebut or refute them in order to further
promote your thesis.
A concluding paragraph that reinforces and emphasizes the thesis and main points without repeating them. Remember that this is your final opportunity to
impress your reader and to emphasize the significance of this debate.
Create a bibliography that lists every source you cited in your essay. (In MLA style, this page is titled “Works Cited,” while in APA style it is titled “References.”)
Take this task seriously. We expect you to pay very close attention to detail and follow samples for each entry. We recommend the Purdue Online Writing Lab
(OWL) for all citation matters.
Reminder: In ENGL 255, we prefer MLA format and citation style unless you have a specific reason for choosing another style. If you wish to use APA style,
please speak with your tutor before proceeding.
Thinking about your essay-in-progress, review the checklist “Fifteen Common Research Errors in First-Year Papers” in Part 2, Section 10 of AOW, andW, and
consider whether your essay requires revision.
Reminder: Unfortunately, citation generators will not necessarily produce correct results. Thus, we strongly recommend you avoid citation generators of any
kind. Be aware that there is a citation generator on the Purdue OWL, but it belongs to an advertiser. If you are inclined to use a citation generator as a first
step only, review “Using Citation Generators Responsibly ” on the Purdue OWL.
Revise and edit your draft. You should have produced and edited at least one preliminary draft before you hand in the final copy.
Consider using the Write Site’s coaching services . Your ENGL 255 tutor is not expected or encouraged to review your drafts, but reviewing drafts is one of the
mandates of the AU Write Site.
Review the assignment checklist and answer the questions honestly. Revise your essay further if necessary.
When you’re ready, upload your assignment through the assignment drop box below, and then click “Submit assignment.”
Choose one of the following topics for your essay.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that the implementation of a specific policy (or policies) has enhanced or diminished hockey (or
another sport) in a specific context (in a particular league or at a particular level).
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that people looking to acquire a pet should go to an animal shelter or a rescue organization instead
of a pet breeder.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue for or against a bylaw that bans particular breeds of dogs from a municipality.
Considering two markedly different approaches to training a dog (or a horse), argue that one is superior to the other, basing your argument on evidence from
Should Canada, like the United States, ban the slaughter of horses? Argue for or against such a move, basing your argument on evidence from research.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that safe injection sites are effective in reducing harm.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that nurse practitioners play a beneficial role in a specific health-care setting (e.g. urban hospitals,
rural communities, etc.).
Hint: It is important to explain the professional designation of nurse practitioners, their training, and their scope of practice—probably in the introductory
paragraph, or possibly in the first body paragraph.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, defend or oppose the routine practice of embalming and restoring the body of a deceased person.
Hint: We suggest beginning your research with Jessica Mitford’s “Behind the Formaldehyde Curtain .”
Some democracies (Australia, for example) require their citizens to vote. Should a mandatory voting policy be adopted in Canada? Argue for or against,
basing your argument on evidence from research.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, establish a specific context and argue that Indigenous communities should move toward more selfgovernment.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that restorative justice practices are an effective approach to summary conviction offences in cases
in which the chances of rehabilitation are high.
Hint: It is important to define both restorative justice and summary conviction offences early in your essay—probably in the introductory paragraphBasing your argument on evidence from research, argue for or against a specific government providing a minimum annual income for all citizens.
Should every able-bodied citizen be required to serve in some branch of the military in Canada for a certain period of time? Argue for or against, basing your
argument on evidence from research.
Do Western nations have an obligation to intervene in other nations’ genocidal wars (examples: Rwanda, Myanmar, Sudan, Bosnia, Yemen)? Argue for or
against, basing your argument on evidence from research.
Basing your argument on evidence from research, defend or oppose the “embedding” of journalists in war zones.
Hint: Questions to consider as you begin to develop a focus and a thesis: Does being “embedded” compromise a journalist’s objectivity, credibility, and
integrity? Is having some news from a war zone, even if it is highly controlled, better than having no news?
Do social media platforms have an obligation to combat misinformation that is shared on their sites? Argue for or against, basing your argument on evidence
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue for or against “slacktivism” as an effective means of social/political protest.
Hint: We suggest beginning your reading with Emma Jones’s “In Defense of Slacktivism .”
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue that Pride Parades are still relevant and necessary.
Should the acronym LGBTQ+ (and its variations) simply be replaced with Q? Argue for or against, basing the argument on evidence from research.
Hint: We suggest beginning your reading with Jonathan Rauch’s “It’s Time to Drop the ‘LGBT’ From ‘LGBTQ.’ ”
Basing your argument on evidence from research, argue for or against ecotourism (or volunteer tourism).
Checklist for Research-Based Argumentative Essay
After you have drafted your essay, use the checklist below to evaluate how well your essay meets the requirements for Assignment 5, and—if necessary—
revise your essay before submitting it for marking.
Did you use MLA or APA guidelines to format your essay? Did you check your formatting against examples on the Purdue OWL?
Is your thesis stated in the last sentence of the first paragraph?
Is your thesis sufficiently narrow for an essay of this length?
Is your thesis statement a direct-list thesis statement (i.e., does it contain an essay map or preview statement)?
Did you check that your thesis statement does not contain phrases such as “I think,” “I believe,” or “This essay will argue…”?