The research paper is an argumentative/persuasive, researched essay that will be at least 2200 to 2400 words long, employing at least five library sources. These sources should be a combination of at least two of the following sources: (At least two of the sources must come from the Fisher databases.j The remaining three or more sources should all be collegiate-level sources. ) For information on how to access Fisher College’s online databases from your computer and how to use these databases, please read the material in the Library Information content area. Also, I will continue to explain to you how to use the MLA (Modern Language Association) Style of Documentation. You use this to show me the sources you’ve used to write your paper and to give credit when you paraphrase, summarize or quote from a source. Without proper documentation of your sources, your paper would be considered plagiarized, so this is one of the most important lessons of the class. Instructors in other courses will expect you to know how to document sources, so this information will be necessary throughout your college career.

As your research question is due at the end of Week 10, along with your topic that fits argumentation/persuasion, it’s time to begin thinking about what you would like to write about for your research paper. Unlike the other written works for this class, I let you choose your own topic for the research paper. I do this because the research paper requires a high level of commitment, and I think you will be more committed to a topic that you propose. It can sometimes be difficult to think of a particular topic that interests you. Rather, think of a question that you want to explore the answer to. By having a research question, rather than a broad topic, you have a clear focus to your research: you are looking for the answer(s) to your question. This question should be one that requires in-depth research, not one that can easily be answered by looking up information in a reference book, and it should be argumentative in nature. An example of an argumentative research paper question is "Should the tax tables be changed to make the taxes more equitable and progressive as the middle-class now pays the same effective tax rate as millionaires and billionaires without the benefit of a myriad of loopholes?"

A good research question will be based on information that you can find, but that also allows you to think about it and add your own well thought out ideas to the experts’. A successful research paper does not just restate information you found in your sources. A successful research paper is a synthesis of the experts’ research and your own careful study/ideas, objectively expressed.

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