Final Essay: Enter the Debate

Core Task: Write a 4000 word research paper that makes a persuasive argument on a topic of considerable debate.

You must add something new to the debate.

Research Requirement: Include at least 8 outside sources.

(At least two of these must be peer-reviewed. At least two must be primary sources.)

Format: MLA

Final draft is due by 11:59 PM, Wednesday, March 16, 2022



More Detailed Explanation:

The brief checklist above indicates essence of this final paper, but I want to provide a more detailed explanation of what is expected of you and what you’re working on.


The target length is 4000 words. That comes from Skagit Valley College. It is a target. You’re not trying to hit it exactly, but if you go more than 10% over or under, it will affect your grade. PLEASE NOTE: Your title page and Works Cited page do not count for your length.


You may include as many sources as you can smoothly and usefully integrate into your paper.  However, you must include at least eight (8) sources. At least two (2) of those sources must be peer-reviewed. At least two (2) of those sources must be primary sources. 


The paper must be in MLA format. All citations must be in MLA citation format. 


So long as there is considerable public debate on the topic, you have complete freedom of topic. (Public debate does not mean that there’s someone on one side, if that side is crazy. You don’t want to try to write a research paper on if the world is round or flat. There’s no real public debate there.) People in past classes have written on everything from animal treatment in rodeo events to human cloning.

A Research Paper

On the college level, a research paper takes all major schools of thought or positions into account. Such papers include the best, most representative sources to speak for these positions. These papers represent all positions in a debate fairly and objectively. They cite their sources, giving clear credit to the sources of their information.

Persuasive Argument

Your paper must argue for a specific position, and try to convince readers to embrace that position. You must therefore organize your paper for power and effect.

Final Thoughts

This paper is meant to synthesize all elements of this course and build on ENG101. It is therefore expect that you’ll take the paper through drafts, consciously organize it for power and effect, and apply other concepts included in our course, such as the rhetorical triangle, the rhetorical situation, warrant, and so on. (You may not know these terms at present; you will by the time you write the paper.)

Please start thinking about this assignment early, and ask any questions as soon as possible.

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