Electronic Waste Problem – Background: Now that you have clarified your topic through the naive draft, assessed your sources in the annotated bibliography and analysis, and explored the issue in your exploratory paper, you are ready to construct your argument in the formal research paper. The purpose of your paper is to persuade your readers to think or behave differently about your subject. Your paper will have a claim or thesis around which you will build support that comes from your research. Unlike research essays that you may have written in the past, for this paper, you will not merely report information or summarize sources. Rather, you are creating new knowledge through the construction of an original argument.
Audience: You will be writing to readers who are part of reasonably interested and informed academic audience.
Sources: You need to have a number of sources so as to present a balanced and reasonably thorough argument representing all sides of
the issue. Doing so will enable you to establish a credible ethos with your audience. On the other hand, don�t overuse sources to the
point where the paper becomes choppy and your own voice is not discernible. My recommendation: 5-10 sources
Integration: Please follow MLA style for your in-text citations and works cited page. Use The St. Martin�s Handbook as your guide. You
may also use Purdue OWL.
Organization: A typical structure for academic essays is to include an introduction in which you set the context for your topic and
also capture your reader�s interest. Often, the introduction presents the thesis or claim. As needed, the intro also provides
background information to get readers �up to speed� on the topic. Introductions are often several paragraphs in length. The St. Martin�s
Handbook contains useful suggestions for writing introductions. It also points to several examples. We will also discuss this in class.
The main part of the argument uses your research to support the claim. It also considers the alternative arguments. This �pro/con�
evidence can be arranged in a number of ways. For example, you can start with the cons (alternatives), refute them, and then build
toward a high point with the pros. Or the pros and cons can alternate, clustered according to how they relate to each other or to their
relative strengths. It is important, however, that all cons be refuted; otherwise they have the potential to erode your argument.
Occasionally, no evidence is available to refute a con, in which case it should be acknowledged as irrefutable. In any case, cons need
to be responded to. Note that a con that is refuted well, perhaps with a corresponding strong pro, has tremendous potential to
strengthen the claim. Section 11 in The St. Martin�s Handbook concisely presents two patterns that you might find useful for organizing
the main part of the argument. We will discuss pro/con strategy and language in class.
The conclusion echoes the thesis and the main points, but it does not merely repeat them. Instead, the conclusion brings closure by
presenting implications of the issue and/or answering the question �so what?� It may propose solutions, next steps, or actions for the
reader to pursue. As The St. Martin�s Handbook aptly suggests, the paper should end with impact but without a �preachy� tone.
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