Unit 2: Researched Argument Audience: Scholarly/Academic This third Unit Paper is longer than the others but more traditional and defined; you may therefore find it easier to write. Here you will write a researched argument for a scholarly or academic audience. Consider both words. First, a researched argument makes active use of current research in your academic field. It deploys that research through appropriate methods of citation and bibliography. Second, it uses that research in the service of a central argument, that is, a claim supported by relevant evidence. …….
Let’s unpack these terms a bit more.
Research. What does it mean to conduct research? In many fields, research typically means gathering and analyzing field data or performing laboratory experiments. Because this is an English class, we won’t be performing that kind of work here. Instead, you will perform secondary research. In brief, you’ll locate a few related pieces of recent primary research in your field, interpret those sources, evaluate their quality, and synthesize your interpretations to create a picture of what we will call the knowledge front (see below). We’ll talk about each of these steps in turn, starting with how to locate appropriate primary research.
Argument. Note that a researched argument is not the same as a “research paper.” Students typically think of a research paper as a document that presents information gleaned from massive amounts of reading. You’ll do a lot of reading here, to be sure; you’ll also cite sources carefully and showcase your reading in a deliberate fashion. But you are not writing this paper to provide information; you are writing this paper to make an argument. In order to do this, you’ll have to see — and then show — how the papers you’re using in your research make arguments already.
The centrality of argument in academic writing can be hard to recognize. Even the most innocuous academic papers make evaluative arguments all the time simply by highlighting some texts and downplaying others; by their very existence, academic texts argue for the importance of the field of inquiry. And then, when they describe the problems that remain, they cast their lot with the success of some research (and, by implication, with the failure of other agendas). However, argumentative elements are muted by the protocols of academic writing. A tone of modesty and reasoned discourse prevails, giving even the most strenuous objections an impression of politeness.
Genre. For this assignment, you have two options. The first, is the more traditional route—to write a researched argument paper in the style of which you are likely accustomed—an academic paper of roughly 2000 words in length (8-10 pages). …….