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Databases that support the Argumentative Paper

The Argumentative Paper

The Argumentative Paper is perhaps the most frequent paper you will write as a TMCC student.  

Most of us come to an issue with pre-formed conclusions about the issue.  This is our emotional intelligence informing us what we should think about the issue.  Sometimes emotional intelligence works, but most frequently upon digging deeper into the issue we discover context that we overlooked, but was decisive in decision making.

Researchers and authorities in the field conduct studies that embrace the multiple facets of an issue.  If we use the analogy of an iceberg, we only see the top and smallest surface area of the iceberg.  Below the surface lies the mass. 

The same holds true for an issue and this is why objective, rather than emotional subjective understanding, is important for formulating a cogent argument.  To do this one must examine the data, authority, and whole national/international picture associated with the issue, rather than from the single lens of one individual in their unique setting. This requires sweeping aside assumptions and allowing a deep understanding for  how research corresponds to decision making.

Here’s what to consider

1. Avoid Pre-formed conclusions about your issue.

  • This is our emotional intelligence informing us what we should think about the issue.  While important, it is only a part of the picture/ your argument.

2. So, what to do?

  • Examine the data, the facts, and the opposing viewpoints carefully.  With an iceberg, we only see the top— the smallest surface area.  Below lies the mass—the bigger picture. The same holds true for an issue. Below the surface of emotional intelligence is the truer perspective. The one you want to bring to your research. The one that gets you closer to a carefully reasoned conclusion.

3. So, what else to do?

  • Set aside sweeping conclusions, be they political, historical, cultural, or social.
  • Strive for an objective understanding of the pros and cons of an argument. As such, it is best to examine both sides fairly in your paper, for one cannot be 100% right or 100% wrong. 
  • Look for a “middle ground” compromise. This is how you come about to a truly reasoned opinion that builds critical thinking and analytical skills.

Finally, just select your topic and begin to research it in the various databases:

  • Take accurate notes
  • Identify important “QUOTES”
  • Look for telling analogies
  • Note relevant examples
  • Develop correct citations
  • Build your Works Cited or References as a “separate” page
  • Organize your paper around your central “for or against” position [thesis]
  • Organize your paragraphs using individual paragraph topic ideas to support your thesis

The elements of an argumentative paper are:

1. Facts;

2. Persuasive appeals

Primary “Modes of Paragraph Development” (ways to illustrate, explain, prove, or argue):

a. Definitions

b. Examples

c. Narration [stories]

d. Descriptions

e. Comparison and Contrast

f. Facts, Statistics, Authority [experts] testimony

g. Persuasive appeals--“emotional-appealing” language

h. Also, discuss OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS for balanced arguments