Researched Argument Assignment

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Required Length: 1,500-2,000 words, not including heading and Works Cited. Writing fewer than 1,500 words will result in significant point deductions.
Citation of Source(s): You must cite all sources you use, both in-text and on a Works Cited page. Failure to cite all sources in both places will result in significant point deductions and likely an F on the paper.
Required Sources: You must substantially use at least 5 credible sources:
• At least 1 of these sources must be one of the texts assigned for class this semester or one you wrote about in a prior paper for this course or a strong, credible written argument published in a reputable national print or online newspaper or magazine no earlier than 2018.
• At least 2 sources must be written (i.e., not film, multimedia, etc.).
• Keep in mind that 5 is an absolute minimum; it in no way guarantees an adequately researched essay.
• At least 4 of the sources in your annotated bibliography must be used substantially in your essay. By “substantially,” I mean they must contribute something important, not just a single quote that’s been forced into your paper for the sake of meeting a requirement. This means that you should do more research than what you present in your annotated bibliography, and select only the most important sources to include in your annotated bibliography.
Assignment: Write an evidence-based argument in response to one of the following prompts. These prompts give you a range of ideas that you should, as you research, narrow to a very specific analytical or argumentative question—in other words, a research question that is not entirely fact (information)-based, but one that reasonable people may answer differently. Your job is to present a convincing argument for your view on the issue or question, a view that your readers could reasonably disagree with. You should rely on strong research to come to a reasoned conclusion—an answer to your question that the majority of credible evidence supports. This reasoned conclusion should ultimately be your thesis, which you will support using the evidence you’ve found through your research.
Suggested Prompts:
• Do some original research on similar monster or other kinds of films over time. What do the changes in the representation of the monster reveal about changes in our cultural anxieties (specifically, in one particular cultural anxiety)? While you should draw on the theories of the writers we’ve read this semester, you should also add to the conversation by proposing a new theory of your own—that is, an explanation of what a particular monster is revealing about our anxiety today that other writers have not proposed.
• Analyze a single recent television series you consider important. What does it seem to argue or reveal about contemporary society?
• Engage in a current controversy, building on at least one of the arguments or texts you’ve read for class this semester or responding to a strong, credible written argument published in a reputable national newspaper or magazine no earlier than 2018. (Remember that “controversy” simply refers to something that people disagree on; it doesn’t necessarily mean the issue has caused a lot of bad feelings.)
• One question prompted by authors we’ve read this semester is: With film’s potential to use stunning visuals and special effects to depict graphic, gruesome scenes, has it become spectacle instead of story? And what is the ultimate effect of this on the audience?
• Research a historical question relating to monsters, such as the role that fear of women played in the Salem witch trials, or the reasons and the ways in which Native Americans were demonized during the period of Colonization. Note: you would have to write a book to adequately cover one of these topics, so you would need to do your initial background research and then narrow your focus to a very specific fear or reason for demonization. One example might be narrowing the focus of a paper on the Salem witch trials to one interesting cause, such as competition between male clergy and female midwives. These are just suggestions, if you get stuck. I recommend choosing something you already have some knowledge about, so you aren’t having to build knowledge from scratch, but I also recommend you don’t choose something you already have a strong opinion about, because this can make it difficult to view all the evidence objectively. In other words, you should approach this project with your mind open—and be willing to change your initial beliefs if the best evidence doesn’t support your view.

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