Welcome to the English Composition I libguide! Use this guide to get started on your persuasive research paper assignment.
To begin, you will need to identify and research a political, legal, or social issue and determine whether you think a change should be made within the broader society. Then, you will need to argue convincingly. Ideally, you want to choose a narrow topic. Make sure you have your topic approved by your instructor before you begin researching. Try to choose an issue that intrigues you, since the genuine interest will result in a better final paper.
Make sure that you find quality sources. You can consult the videos below for help with this, or you can contact a librarian during our open hours via email, text, chat, or phone.
Why do you need to cite sources?
As the MLA Handbook (8th ed) will tell you:
“Academic writing is at its root a conversation among scholars about a topic or question. . . .Given the importance of this conversation to research, authors must have comprehensible, verifiable means of referring to one another’s work. Such reference enable them to give credit to the precursors whose ideas they borrow, build on, or contradict and allow future researchers interested in the history of the conversation to trace it back to its beginning” (5).
As a student, part of your education includes learning documentation styles like MLA. Learning MLA and other styles will help prepare you for other conventions and standards when you enter a career field. Also, by carefully documenting your research and by identifying the ideas that you have borrowed, you will avoid plagiarism. Plagiarism is a very serious offense involving the theft of intellectual property, and it can lead to embarrassment, loss of credibility, and even lawsuits (7). You can avoid plagiarizing by citing other authors when you quote or paraphrase their words and ideas. Check out the 'citation help' box (to the right) for resources on how to cite books, websites, and articles. Make sure you are properly citing sources in your papers.
Modern Language Association of America. MLA Handbook, 8th edition, MLA, 2016.
Users can visualize trends in writing and culture with data compiled from primary sources, criticism, and analysis (via Literature Criticism Online's holdings). Use the tabs at the top- 'term frequency' lets you see when a term originated, and how often a term was used throughout history, and also compare various terms and their usage. 'Term clusters' lets you enter a word, and see related words, which may then be used to create better search terminology, or expand your research to new ideas. This resource indexes primary sources as well, which are great for use in research papers.