Research-Based Argument on one of the four novels below:
"The Brief Wondrous LIfe of Oscar Wao" written by Junot Diaz or
" by Edith Wharton or
"Absurdistan" by Gary Shteyngart or
"A Mercy" by Toni Morrison.
rough draft due 12/3/12 by 12pm CDT Final paper due 12/6/12 12pm
Student work in this course will culminate in a 1,500-2,000 word (approximately 6-8 page) research-based argument. Obviously, the research-based argument is an argument. It should:
1) begin with an introduction to the focused topic
2) articulate a relevant thesis statement that is debatable yet provable
3) provide evidence that supports the thesis statement’s validity
4) redress valid counterargument, if necessary
5) conclude with an inference premised on the assumption that your thesis has indeed been adequately proven.
This is the rhetorical skeleton of your research-based argument. It will be evaluated on these five key elements.
That said, the research-based argument is different in kind from the other arguments you will have made throughout this course. Your midterm exam and final exam essays will be arguments focused on our assigned reading and will only include elements of persuasion contained within the texts and your own faculties of reason. But a research-based argument opens up the rhetorical field. It, by definition, introduces other texts and sources (much like your multimedia oral presentations) that will shape your rhetorical stance, thesis statement, evidential support, redress of counterargument, and conclusion??"in essence, affecting the substance of your entire argument.
The research-based argument also differs from more self-contained or limited arguments because its intertextual nature inherently makes it a part of a larger intellectual conversation. By including examples and perspectives culled from texts other than the primary text at hand, the research-based argument participates in scholarly discourse.
The research-based argument must meet four criteria: it must be a valid argument, it must incorporate at least five secondary sources, it must be 1,500-2,000 words long, and it must be in MLA Format. The number of texts included in your research-based argument, therefore, must be a minimum of six: at least one of our assigned texts plus at least five sources informing your intertextual argument.
The kinds of arguments that you can make vary. There are “definition arguments,” “causal arguments,” “resemblance arguments,” “evaluation arguments,” “proposal arguments,” “ethical arguments,” and even more types that are defined by the nature of the thesis statement that is claimed by the author. We will discuss these possibilities more as we get further on in the semester.
Quotes and paraphrases from sources must be attributed to authors in parenthetical citations and correspond to a properly formatted Works Cited page. MLA Format guidelines are available in numerous textbooks and reference books and are also available online, for example, at Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab). Again, we will address this subject in more depth later in the semester.
We will also have a workshop in class, during one of our scheduled class meetings, with a reference librarian from Mary Couts Burnett Library, to familiarize you with the resources (on site and online) that the Library has to offer.
The purpose of the research-based argument is to deepen and sharpen your knowledge of the assigned reading of this course by engaging in the activity of producing scholarship.
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Bhatnagar, Gurpyari. "Edith Wharton's Summer and Ethan Frome: a Psychoanalytical Study."
Studies in Women Writers in English. Delhi, India: Nice Printing, 2005. 21-28. Print.
Campbell, Donna M. "Rewriting the 'Rose and Lavender Pages': Ethan Frome and Women's
Local Color Fiction. Speaking the Other Self: American Women Writers. Ed. Jeanne Campbell Reesman. Athens, GA: University of Georgia, 263-78. 2011. Print.
Fournier, Suzanne J. Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome: a Reference Guide. Westport, CT:
Greenwood, 2006. Print.
Peel, Robin. Apart from Modernism: Edith Wharton, Politics, and Fiction Before World War I.
Cranbury, NJ: Rosemont, 2005. Print.
Pennell, Melissa McFarland. Student Companion to Edith Wharton. Westport, CT: Greenwood,
Wharton, Edith. Ethan Frome. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.