Justice in America

For this class, however, you will be writing a “researched argument”; you will be making a claim and using research as evidence to support your claim.

After you have selected a primary text to examine, proposed an arguable research question, and gathered a list of possible secondary sources, it is time to write a draft of your paper. Ten pages may seem like a lot, but by the time you reach this stage, you will be more than ready to begin writing your paper.

Your research question cannot solely be answered by examining the primary text. Often, secondary research is needed to supplement and aid your discovery process. Many of the authors we are discussing this semester have been the subjects of critical analysis for many years (or in some cases, centuries). Therefore, I do not suspect that you shall have any trouble locating secondary sources such as critical analysis, biographical information, and historical context for the primary texts. I do not like to place limits on your research for this paper, but inevitably I will be asked the same question: how many sources do I have to use? Well, the best answer is, “As many as you need.” I doubt this will fly with you, and frankly, it doesn’t work for me either. Therefore, I will ask that you include secondary information from at least:

-Two scholarly books on the author or subject;
-One scholarly journal;
-One reliable, scholarly internet or web source.

Secondary research is not the most important part of your paper – your thesis is – so while I want you to spend time doing secondary research, do not make the mistake of just locating sources without interpreting them. In other words, stay on topic, and write your own ideas and observations into the paper. Remember that this is a formal collegiate essay and, therefore, should be free of personal pronouns (the exception would be when a personal pronoun is used in a quote.) Such phrases as “I think” or “in my opinion” are not necessary and weaken your argument.

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