Project 3: Researched Argument


Now it’s time to embark on a research study of the connections, tensions and divergences between two discourse communities in your writing ecology. In Projects 1 & 2, you explored two discourse communities you inhabit and write in, by analyzing the genre conventions and rhetorical strategies that are used to communicate in those communities. In this project, we are going to explore, on a more “meta” level, relationships between discourse communities in your personal writing ecology. You may choose to focus on either a single discourse community, or compare two discourse communities.

Whether you focus on one or two discourse communities, you will want to think about what one-or-two discourse communities you experience tension, or experience symbiosis, within or between.

  • What frustrates you about the way you write, speak or function in one discourse community that is difficult or doesn’t “cross over” to another?
  • What is really cool and great and easy about writing, speaking or functioning in one discourse community that maps smoothly onto another set of writing tasks?
  • What circumstances or relationships make transitioning between discourse communities easier, harder, more fun, more work?
  • What are the effects of writing, speaking or function in one/both discourse communities? Is there overlap? Tension? Should there be overlap? Is tension here necessarily negative?

Answering these questions is a first step toward identifying an issue to research about the connections between discourse communities.

We will practice using secondary research skills and put them to use in building persuasive arguments about your topic, targeted to a specific audience. You will compose a researched argument essay, using the argument types outlined in our reading (definition, evaluation, causal, rebuttal, proposal). The objective of this paper is to present the findings from your research, composing an argument about the issue you’ve identified within the discourse communities you studied. You will be focusing on writing in an academic tone and style, developing your ethos as researchers by practicing using an “academic voice” to respond to or join the conversation you see happening.

At the end of this project, the goals are:

  1. To have composed a paper that is appropriate for submission to a real-life academic forum, such as an undergraduate research journal, or even the Rushton Conference here at WSU.
  2. To be practicing the research strategies of posing research questions, figuring out where to look to find the answers we seek, locating and evaluating scholarly and popular sources, reading the conversation (figuring out who’s saying what about your topic, where are there gaps? are scholars not talking about something? what’s missing?) and figuring out how you can contribute.

As your instructor, I will use this assignment to assess your achievement across both of these goals.

Assignment Prompt

Your final paper should make the reader feel like the argument you are making is reasonable and persuasive, supported by research-based evidence (a reason it is very important to be strategic with your choice and use of sources, to keep excellent notes on rhetorical analysis of sources, and to sketch out the conversation accurately).

You will develop your knowledge of your topic by gathering at least 6 sources to your works cited list (at least 3 scholarly, up to 3 popular, and any other applicable sources needed).

In order to successfully complete this essay assignment, you will need to:

  • Make a claim that is based on the argument types we read about in the Wayne Writer (definition, evaluation, causal, rebuttal, proposal).
  • Support your claim throughout your essay with examples and evidence gathered through your research methods.
  • Identify and clearly target a specific academic audience with your writing, considering whether that audience is comprised of insiders or outsiders relative to your communities of observation.
  • Conclude with avenues for further pursuit: is there an issue or tension you’ve discovered that needs to be further explored? A change you think should be made? More research that needs to be conducted to further pursue your questions?

Minimum Requirements (what you’ll turn in)

  • 2000-2500 word Final Researched Argument Essay (plus Works Cited)

Due Date

Upload your paper to Blackboard by the start of class on 3/29/2017.


Your essay is worth 200 points and will be evaluated using the following rubric.

Researched Argument Excellent




Needs Revision




Does the beginning of the essay introduce the topic according to the conventions of the genre?
Does the beginning of the essay introduce or foreshadow the paper’s argumentative claim? (“I argue that…”)
Is there an appropriate use of secondary sources to develop a sense of the conversation surrounding the topic?
Within the paragraphs, are the sources used appropriately as evidence to support the main claim? Do the paragraphs work together to make the overall argument?
Does the writer discuss the significance and implications of the argument, according to the conventions of this genre?
Formatting (title, margins, spacing, font, page numbers, indentation)
Have the writers formatted their essay using MLA style (including in-text and end-text citations)?
Clear and Effective Writing
Has the essay been edited and polished for presentation?

Learning Outcomes


  • Use key course concepts (genre and rhetoric) to write effectively
    • You’ll practice demonstrating an understanding of the features of academic research writing and demonstrating appropriate use of rhetorical strategies for academic research writing
  • Use a flexible writing process that includes brainstorming/inventing ideas, planning, drafting, giving and receiving feedback, revising, editing, and publishing.
    • You’ll practice working through brainstorming, drafting, response, reflection, and revision activities in class and for homework to develop ideas and refine your writing


  • Use reading strategies in order to identify, analyze, evaluate, and respond to arguments, rhetorical elements and genre conventions in college-level texts and other media.
    • You’ll practice reading, analyzing, evaluating, and responding to sources, thinking about how they provide information and perspectives integral to a discussion of the topic.


  • Conduct research by finding and evaluating print, electronic, and other sources;
    • You’ll practice using the library databases to identify relevant and sufficient resources for the project.
  • Generate information and ideas from research;
    • You’ll practice articulating the conversation (be able to present a brief review of the literature), formulating a response to the conversation, articulating stance or argument
    • You’ll practice summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting relevant information from sources.
  • Appropriately integrate material from sources.
    • You’ll practice using MLA format to integrate in-text citations and a works cited page.
    • You’ll practice using academic writing conventions for introducing sources material and linking back to writer’s argument


  • Use written reflection to plan, monitor, and evaluate one’s own learning and writing.
    • You’ll practice using reflection to articulate prior knowledge and knowledge gaps in order to form research questions.
    • You’ll practice using post-project reflection to evaluate your research and writing process.

















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