researched argument essay 8

Essay 3: Research Argument (Synthesis)

[5+ pages]

Assignment Objectives

Students will complete this assignment by writing an essay that makes an original argument that answers the research question that they have already developed and researched in the previous assignment (which was a Review of Literature). Students’ essays should 1) have a thesis statement 2) support the argument presented in the thesis by synthesizing at least four sources that the student has found and evaluated as credible or otherwise worthy of attention; and 3) summarize, paraphrase, and quote from these sources adequately to complete the task.


The simplest explanation of this essay’s purpose is that by completing it, you will write an essay that answers your research question. Ultimately, however, the purpose of this assignment is to enter a scholarly conversation. By applying the skills in research, source evaluation, and synthesis that you have been practicing through the term, you will contribute to an existing conversation by presenting your own original argument. That argument will speak to the existing conversation by using sources to support your argument (either as evidence, by extending or modifying your sources’ arguments, or by refuting sources’ arguments). The most important thing to remember as you work on this essay is that you cannot simply parrot the information or arguments that you find in your sources. Rather, this essay will be driven by your unique argument answering your research question. Your essay must be a persuasive argument that allows you as a young scholar to enter and contribute to the ongoing conversation on your topic.


In short, this assignment requires you to write a thesis-driven essay that makes an argument answering your research question that cites at least four sources to support your claims and show your thesis’s relationship to the existing conversation on your topic. Suitable questions might be:

What is the definition of the American Dream?

Is the American Dream positive or negative in its impact on American culture?

Is the American Dream real or just a myth?

Is the American Dream dead or alive?

Only one question should be dealt with in this paper.

Suggestion for Process

  1. Read and annotate the articles.
  2. Identify a question that arises from your reading (either taken from the suggested list or modified from the list).
  3. Determine your answer to the question based on your reading and experience and form a thesis statement.
  4. Identify from three to four supporting points or reasons that back up your thesis.
  5. Use ideas from four or more sources to establish the credibility of your researched argument.
  6. Write a two level outline for a 5 page persuasive paper that advocates for your ideas.
  7. Write a first draft of a 5 page persuasive paper that advocates for your answer to your research question. Document any use of sources in MLA format. Submit this to D2L a day before peer review.

Rhetorical Situation

The audience for this paper is someone who has some familiarity with the concept of the American Dream. Your purpose is to advocate for a specific answer or position concerning a question relating to the topic of the American Dream. This is an academic exercise and Standard American English should be used as well as MLA format. Academic writing should not use second person pronouns and only use first person when the rhetorical situation is personal. This paper is not personal in nature; therefore, first person pronouns should also not be used.

Do I need a Works Cited Page?

Because you will be quoting, paraphrase, and summarizing from your sources, you will need to parenthetically cite them in your essay.