Unit 4: Putting Your Source Material to Work
Many college research papers are structured primarily as arguments supported, at least in part, by evidence gathered from outside sources. A major purpose of ENGL001 was to define written arguments and practice some techniques for developing them. To help clarify the close relationships between research and argumentation, we will use the first part of this unit to review some of the basics of formulating written arguments. As we do so, you will be able to explore the best techniques for putting research to work in your writing, and we will analyze how these techniques support the fundamental requirements of successful academic writing.
As we discuss the essential components, you should pay particular attention to how your research must support your basic logical structure and rhetorical strategy. This unit will give you a chance to get a little more practice in analyzing and developing written arguments.
You will spend some time investigating how various forms of research can support different writing strategies, including literary analysis, discussions, and comparison-contrast strategies. You will get some more practice in using research and analytical tools and have an opportunity to update your paper if you think it needs it.
Before we begin the more rigorous practice of citation and style in Unit 4, we will take a more general look at how to build quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into your work. You will be able to explore the best uses for all of these forms of reference so that you can confidently use your source material without changing its meaning, tone, or intent – or distorting your own.
At the end of the unit, you will use what you have learned to create a detailed outline that specifies what resources you will use to develop your arguments more fully.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 21 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- describe how to use persuasion and argumentation in academic papers, and perform this task;
- explain the relationships between research and persuasion;
- explain how to use research to support logical structure and various rhetorical strategies, including analysis, discussion, and comparison/contrast, as well as perform this task;
- incorporate quotations, paraphrases, and summaries into academic writing;
- identify and use tools for research and analysis;
- explain how to develop an informative abstract, and perform this task; and
- explain how to develop a detailed outline for a formal research paper and perform this task.
4.1: Reviewing Arguments and Academic Writing
4.1.1: What Is an Argumentative Essay?
The purpose of an argumentative essay is to persuade your audience of something with a strong thesis, supporting evidence, and convincing research.
Read this article to learn about the goals of writing an argumentative essay, developing claims, and using supporting evidence.
Read this section and complete the exercises, which are designed to guide you through the process of creating a persuasive essay. The final exercise will ask you to write a persuasive essay. For this exercise, write a brief draft essay on your research topic. At this point, you do not need to add in your research or evidence, but use this exercise as an opportunity to develop an argument you will make in your final paper.
Review this sample essay to see an example of a persuasive argument. Based on what you learned earlier, identify techniques of the persuasive rhetorical mode used in this example.
4.1.2: Dividing Your Argument
Read this article. Take notes on the section describing transitional expressions, and develop the habit of always including transitional words and phrases in your topic sentences.
4.2: Organizing Your Arguments
4.2.1: Refine Your Thesis
In subunit 1.3.2, you developed a working thesis, the purpose of which was to help you begin your research. Now that you have completed your research, you must write your real thesis, which articulates the argument that your research supports.
Read this chapter and complete the exercises. Then create a final version of your thesis statement for your research paper.
4.2.2: Develop Arguments around Your Thesis
Read this section and complete the exercises. Use these exercises as an opportunity to review your thesis statement and develop the arguments you will make in your paper. After you have completed the exercises, revise the outline you created earlier in the course so that it helps support the arguments you wish to make.
Read this section and complete the exercises. These exercises will help you develop stronger body paragraphs in which the claim of that paragraph supports your thesis.
4.2.3: Strengthen Your Claims
Read this article, which will help you to learn techniques for integrating your research with your writing.
4.2.4: Toulmin's Schema
Stephen Toulmin developed a system for analyzing arguments that you can use to develop more effective arguments. Review this article about Toulmin's schema. Then, take some time to draft a formal warrant for your paper. Consider how your research findings will relate to your warrant, and rework it as you think necessary. Finally, return to your essay outline and revise as necessary, adding as many elements from Toulmin's Schema as you can.
4.3: Refine Your Arguments
4.3.1: Look for Assumptions and Generalizations
Read this article to learn how to recognize and fix assumptions and generalizations. Then, return to your essay outline and look for any assumptions and generalizations. Revise as necessary.
4.3.2: Using Direct Quotations to Support Your Arguments
Read this article on tips and suggestions for using sources in your writing.
Read this handout about how, when, and why to use quotations.
4.4: Preparing to Write
4.4.1: Write an Abstract of Your Work
Read this handout on the purpose of an abstract, types of abstracts, and how to write an abstract. After reading, develop an informative abstract for your paper.
4.4.2: Revising Your Outline
Return to your outline and flesh out as much detail as possible. Your thesis should be clear and focused, and all of your logic and evidence should clearly support that controlling idea. Using your annotated bibliography, make note of the sources you will use to support your arguments. You may identify points that could use additional clarification and notice a few small holes in your research, though your information-gathering should be almost complete at this point. If needed, conduct some more research to fill these gaps.
Unit 4 Assessment
- Receive a grade
Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.