Research-Based Argument Assignment
Overview: The research-based argument (RBA) assignment asks students to produce a well-supported, focused argument drawing on library and web-based research. The completed essay should demonstrate a clear understanding of the problem it addresses; engage successfully with realistically portrayed disparate views or multiple perspectives; incorporate appropriate material from well-chosen sources purposefully, gracefully, and ethically; and, exhibit reasonable and appropriate rhetorical choices based on the writer’s purpose.
In addition to a mandatory drafting and revision stage, the RBA assignment may include some of the following components: a research proposal, annotated bibliography, peer review, outline, reflective memo, brief non-graded oral presentation (substantial work on oral/multimedia presentations is reserved for PWR 2).
Length: 3600-4500 words; 12-15 pages.
Sources: A minimum of 10 sources should substantively inform the essay, recognizing that a rigorous research-based argument may engage with many more sources in the research process but should actively draw on at least 10 in constructing its argument.
Student Learning Objectives:
- Students will develop strategies for arriving at a productive research topic/question, narrowing it to an appropriate scope, and using research to arrive at an understanding about that topic/question
- Students will practice strategies for finding and engaging with sources that represent the best quality of information available to them on their topic
- Students will demonstrate an ability to construct a well-reasoned argument, informed by the scholarly conversation and research on a topic, and supported by evidence
- Students will practice ethical use of source material through decisions about how and when to integrate source material (summarize, paraphrase, quote) and consistent use of citation practices
- Students will explore pre-writing, drafting, rethinking based on feedback, and revising as part of the writing process