Touchstone 1.2: Write a Research Question, Thesis, and Outline
ASSIGNMENT: Following the Topic Selection Guidelines below, choose an argumentative topic to research. This will be your topic throughout the entire course, so the activities required for this assignment will provide the foundation for your future Touchstones. The topic for an argumentative research paper must be a debatable topic, meaning that it involves conflicting viewpoints. Additionally, it cannot be a topic that is already decided or agreed upon by most of society. You will need to take a firm position on the topic and use evidence and logic to support the position. Touchstone 1.2 includes a research question, a working thesis, a detailed outline, and a reflection on this pre-writing process.
Sample Touchstone 1.2
A. Topic Selection Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: You may choose any topic you wish as long as the topic has two clear sides and is not agreed upon by most of society. Your topic should be current, appropriate for an academic context and should have a focus suitable for a 6-8 page essay.
In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.
B. Research Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the list below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
1. Research Question and Working Thesis
Keep in mind: The research question and working thesis are the driving force behind your research and eventual argument.
❒ Your research question should be a single sentence, framed as a question.
❒ Your working thesis should be a single focused sentence, framed as a statement that takes a clear position on the research question.
❒ Include your research question followed by your working thesis.
2. Detailed Outline
Keep in mind: Your detailed outline provides a map of the argumentative research essay that you will write, including your key claims and the sources that support them. You may not have all your sources yet, and that is fine. The outline is a way to organize your essay and determine which areas (e.g. your sub-points) will require researched evidence as support.
❒ Headings: one for each paragraph with a brief label of the paragraph’s controlling idea(s).
❒ An introduction, at least five body paragraphs, and a conclusion.
❒ Introduction includes your working thesis.
❒ Body paragraphs should each have their own unique title and key points.
❒ Conclusion includes notes on your final thoughts.
❒ Subheadings: two to five for each paragraph, below each heading, indicating key points that support the controlling idea
❒ Sources: one to three for each paragraph, as relevant, indicating the support for the key points
❒ For each source, include the author’s name and the idea or information relevant to your argument (e.g. “Lappé on mono-cropping corn/soy and production”).
❒ Have you displayed a clear understanding of the research activities?
❒ Have you answered all reflection questions thoughtfully and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?
❒ Are your answers included on a separate page below the main assignment?
Topic will be used throughout rest of course for multiple assignments
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