Research Paper

Eight typed page minimum
        Ten typed pages maximum
Required:    Ten scholarly sources minimum, excluding encyclopedias, dictionaries, the Bible, websites like
        Wikipedia,,, Google books, amazon books,, associated, Blogs and any abstracts that are not complete text articles. The novel is not one of the 10 required sources.

Use no more than 13 sources for this project.  A current link and valid, complete information of all sources taken from the Internet must be included with the first draft.  See syllabus for other unacceptable sources.  If you are unsure of the validity of an online source, please ask me BEFORE you take any information from that source.
Scholarly sources must be from a variety of medium and must be current within 10 years.  Do not rely solely on Internet articles, only print articles, or only books for your information.  Doing so
        will result in a point deduction.  You will likely find most scholarly sources in the SBVC Library’s
SIRS, EBSCO, and other database collections or in the e-book collection.  Google Scholar can also be
helpful. Be sure to check the “scholarly journal” box when doing key word searches.  Sources taken
from Google Books are still considered online sources rather than print sources. Please remember that newspapers and magazines are not considered scholarly sources, so you may not use them for this class.  Remember that not ALL articles found in the databases are scholarly.  Ask before using a source you’re unsure of.

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Writing Assignment:   
Throughout the story of Jacob, The Amish Order, and the English, we have learned of various struggles and differences between their life styles and how each group handles the aftermath of the solar storm.  Many themes emerge as we read about their experiences, including fear, greed, compassion, pride, balance, and hope to name a few.  Also brought to light by this story are serious social issues that arise, including dependence on technology, government support/control, vigilantism, good Samaritans, and many others. 

While the story created by David Williams is fiction, the issues presented are real.  Some of the broad topics include, political, social, historical, scientific, and psychological,  most of which are directly connected to controversial social issues for the people in the U.S. who find themselves in similar situations as the Amish and the English.

Using the book When the English Fall as your springboard, choose a controversial, social issue based on the themes and events presented in novel and one on which you have a strong opinion and position.  All topic choices must be approved by the instructor and must somehow have a connection with this book, though not literal. 

Make sure that there are two clear sides to your selected issue and argument.  Sometimes we have a passion for an issue that doesn’t necessarily lend itself to a clear, focused argument.  For example, one could not write an argument against child abuse because who would argue for it?  Or to make an argument against poverty doesn’t work either, for no reasonable person would argue we need more starving people.  However, policies about these topics could be argued.  Most of these broad topics will need to be significantly narrowed before you can discover your own argument and then claim and grounds (thesis).

Your goal is to construct an informative, organized, and persuasive argument whereby you clearly state your position (claim) on the issue, and through use of appropriate research and source information (grounds and warrants), develop a reasoned argument in favor of your position.  Use the words of the experts from your sources to support your argument, not your words to support the experts’ claims (backing).  Also, it is important to anticipate, discuss, and refute your opponents’ major objections to your argument (rebuttal).  Remember, this is a persuasive essay, your audience is our class and your purpose is to convince us of your views on the issue.  Make sure your tone is reasonable, using qualifiers, and your writing strategies are appropriate (avoid humor, sarcasm, and irony).  It is important that you demonstrate an understanding of the Toulmin Method of argument in this assignment. See more details at

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This assignment differs from essay number one or two in that it is a major research paper, and this should be reflected in the writing and information presented within the argument.  With essay one you responded critically to an issue and supported your position, and in essay two you analyzed other writers’ arguments paying attention to audience, purpose, writing strategies, tone, and logic.  And in essay 3 you will analyze a piece of literature, finding the meaning and argument, and discovering what makes it effective.

You have learned how good arguments are constructed and supported so that you can now write your own sound argument.  Also, keep in mind what we have discussed and learned from the chapters in our textbook about Toulmin’s Method and the elements of a sound, logical argument.  Also be sure to use correct MLA format including margins, spacing, in-text citations, and works cited page.  Please use the assigned chapters in our textbook and accompanying lectures as your foundation for starting this project.  There are samples of annotated research papers and valuable instruction and advice on how to conduct research, how to narrow a topic, how to formulate a thesis, and how to present a sound and logical argument that is supported by scholarly sources.

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