Posted: July 28th, 2022

freedom of speech

WA3: Research Paper


Purpose: This is where you bring it all together and show what you’ve learned this semester. You will demonstrate your skill in articulating complex ideas, examining claims and evidence found in your research materials, supporting your ideas with relevant reasons and examples, sustaining a coherent discussion, and using standard written English.


Prompt:  We have read about and discussed the influence of public discourse and the technology industry on society (the individual and the collective).  In the past decades we have witnessed remarkable changes in the role media (social or otherwise) plays in democracy, cultural, social, and civil rights movements, politics, customs, relationships, advertising and protesting.  Traditional means of public discourse have changed affecting society in countless ways.  ANY topic we have discussed, read about, watched in documentaries or is related to ANY way to media, public discourse, and the technology industry in any realm is fair game.  Find something that speaks to you.  If you aren’t interested in your topic, you will not be able to engage your readers.


Your topic should be the same as for your Annotated Bibliography – no topic changes allowed! Although your thesis, angle, approach, or claim might still evolve multiple times before you’re completely satisfied with your draft, you should not attempt to change topics this late in the process. The research you conducted for your Annotated Bibliography should inform your evidence for your WA3. This essay will encapsulate all of the readings, discussions, podcasts, films, videos and research we have conducted over the course as they relate to your chosen topic.


Steps and Goals to Complete this Project: A good research paper goes beyond an entry in the encyclopedia.  It does not simply relay information.  A good research paper is a sounding ground for a writer to explicate their thoughts and investigate a situation.  Your thesis should be argumentative in nature and build upon the skills you have been developing this semester. The reader must see why and that you fully understand the implications of the claim you are making.  You must also demonstrate your thorough consideration of the opposition. Remember, no argument is won without addressing the counter claims.


A strong researched argument essay includes:

  • Thesis: An established, research-based claim that is arguable, descriptive, unified, specific to scope of essay.
  • Evidence: These are the reasons your claim is founded in research and is legitimate. Evidence must be sufficient, relevant, and appropriately matched to your claim. Additionally, balancing types of evidence (expert opinion, facts and statistics, your own experience and observations—if appropriate to the topic—and your analysis and evaluation of the ideas found in your research) is the most compelling persuasive tactic.
  • Synthesis of Research Materials: You should balance summaries, paraphrasing, and direct quotes as needed. Use the QI formula for making connections to ensure that you are facilitating a discussion between your sources. Correctly sandwich the ideas of others to support your own claims and to support or refute the claims of others.
  • Organization: Define terms and connect conclusions to explained evidence. Assumptions should be valid; conclusions follow from evidence. Group your materials appropriately organized point by point, not source by source. Maintain focus throughout. Finally, use effective transitions including introduction and conclusion. Relationships among ideas should all be clear.
  • Language: Most of the paper should be in your own words. Remember that you are the author of this essay, your sources are not. This paper should be free of mechanical and typographical errors. Revise, revise, revise! Your style of writing should be active, objective, formal, concise, precise and varied.



Basic Essay Guidelines

  • Source Use Requirements: A MINIMUM OF SEVEN. You must utilize AT LEAST ONE unit reading, AT LEAST FOUR scholarly sources.  Note that you may use sources that were not included on your Annotated Bibliography.  Conversely, you may exclude sources you used in your Annotated Bibliography if you discover they are not working for you. Remember that simply including a source in your Works Cited does not constitute use of the source. You must integrate all seven sources into your essay.
  • Include textual references, correctly “sandwiched” with a signal phrase, quote or paraphrase, citation, and explanation/connection. You should include at least one textual reference per page.
  • A carefully evaluated counterargument and response.
  • Evidence of synthesis (comparing multiple sources—think about the Q1 formula for making connections).
  • 7-10 pages. Your essay must be a minimum of seven FULL pages to meet the minimum length requirement PLUS a works cited page. 
  • MLA formatting including:


  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • properly indented paragraphs
  • one-inch margins all around
  • a left-hand justified header that follows this format:


Your Last Name, First Name

Professor Andersen

English 101

23 April 2021


  • a right-hand justified running head (last name only and running page number)
  • a centered title (no bold, underline, font change, etc.)
  • double-spaced throughout the paper (no extra spaces anywhere)
  • a SEPARATE Works Cited page (this is NOT a part of the page count)
  • Formatting is a part of the grading rubric. Please review the MLA formatting guide in the Little Seagull Handbook for help!


Files with the following problems will not be accepted:

  1. Final document does not meet length requirement and/or MLA format guidelines
  2. Drafts and final essay are duplicates (rather than true revisions)



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