You are being asked to write a 5-7 page essay, fully documented and supported by a
minimum of five quality sources, on an issue for which there is a reasonable debate. Possible
issues may include, but are not limited to, the Dream Act, death penalty, transgender rights,
health care refonn, etc. The key criterion here is focas; you cannot argue for creationism over
evolution, for example, as this is too general. You may argue for teaching creationism alongside
evolution in public schools because there is adequate focus for a richer, more penetrating
argument. You cannot argue for or against gun control, as that as well is too general. You may
argue for or against the degree of background checks required, or for or against extended clips, or
a specific aspect of the 2-d Amendment because there is adequate focus.
Rules and Guidelines:
Five to seven pages, double-spaced, 12 point font, one inch margins.
You must use a minimum of five sources with only one source (or none) coming from an
All documentation must be in MLA format.
All infonnation and ideas within your paper that are not your own must be properly cited.
There must be an accarate Works Cited page at the end of the essay, and it must be
No dictionaries or encyclopedia can be used as one of your five main sources. If you
have more than five sources then you can use a dictionary or encyclopedia citation.)
Direct quotes of four lines or less: no more than FOUR allowed.
Direct quotes of five lines or more: no more than TWO allowed.
Structure and Organization:
Introduce the issue by providing a brief background that defines and explains the issue or
Clearly assert your thesis.
Within the body of your essay remain consistent to your introduction: first to your thesis
statement, and then to the facts and assertions set forth which will support your thesis.
Continue the development of thesis and facts with the use of quotations, paraphrases,
analyses, and summaries of your sources.
5. Summarize the counterclaims against your position and thoroughly address the
a) identify the opposition
acknowledge the opposition
anticipate what the opposition might argue against any point of yours
d) refute the opposition
Do not “sit on the fence.” Take a stand!
7. State claims that support your thesis and refute the counterclaims.
8. Provide evidence for each claim your essay makes and explain the significance of that evidence.
9. Avoid logical fallacies
10. Make sure that each paragraph of your essay contains a topic sentence relating to the paragraph for your thesis statement
11. Avoid using personal pronouns ‘ I’ or “me they may be used in the concluding paragraph if needed
12. Conclude by restating your thesis now synthesizing your claims into a concise summary of your case. Do not introduce anything new in your conclusion