Unit 4: Putting Your Source Material to Work
Many college research papers are structured primarily as arguments that are supported, at least in part, by evidence gathered from outside sources. A major purpose of the Composition I course was to define written arguments and to 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 you will 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 use your source material confidently 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 where and develop your arguments more fully.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 21 hours.
Earlier in this course (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.
Stephen Toulmin developed a system for analyzing arguments, a system that you can use to develop more effective arguments.