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Argumentative Paper Database Resources: Home

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.

Politics is a considerable factor and one may argue a handicap in coming to objective understanding of the pros and cons in an argument. As such, it is best to examine both sides fairly for one cannot be 100% right or 100% wrong.  It is through middle ground compromise that our nation was formed as a more perfect union. Use the Founding Fathers and the circumstances of difference they had to face as a factor in determining how you feel about an issue when attending to the argumentative paper.  This is how you come about with a truly reasoned opinion that builds critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills.

This LibGuide embraces a number of library databases with different strengths and weaknesses associated with them.

CQ Researcher and issues and Controversies

The CQ Researcher and Issues and Controversies databases serve as an introduction to an issue.  Essentially these two databases are the Walmart of databases for they provide the skeleton essence for the issues they cover in 15 page articles.   CQ Researcher and Issues and Controversies host only a select few articles related to your issue and the few articles are generally spread out by a number of years for you to witness the evolution in tackling the issue. Both these databases cover the Who, What, Where, When, How, Past, Present, Future, Pro/Con, Statistics and Quotes from Authorities in the Field and Political Figures. Both provide MLA citations for you to copy/paste.

Some instructors will frown upon your using the CQ Research and Issues and Controversies databases for they will want you to do the legwork in understanding the complexity of your chosen issue. Pay attention to your instructor to ensure these two databases are acceptable resources. 

EBSCO, JSTOR

Both EBSCO and JSTOR differ from CQ Researcher and Issues and Controversies in that hundreds, if not thousands of articles, will be retrieved by a search.  As such, combinations of keywords using AND to link these keywords will assist in narrowing your search.  In addition, you may wish to further narrow your search by date of publication, source type (magazine, journal, book, report) or other variables. An Advanced Search option is also available to assist you in narrowing your search results. Most EBSCO and all JSTOR articles are available in PDF format.  PDF allows you to cite the exact page for your quotes, statistics, and other data you used from the source material.

As with CQ and Issues and Controversies, JSTOR and EBSCO provide MLA citations to copy/paste. 

To demonstrate databases assets in writing the research paper, one topic, Electoral College, will serve as the common search concept for each of the databases.  

All these databases can be found at the Library Databases and Journals page.  

Access to the databases is your Canvas/MyTMCC login and password.

Here’s what to consider—carefully!

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.

 

This LibGuide embraces a number of helpful library databases, each with different strengths and weaknesses.

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

 

TYPE OF PAPER: AN ARGUMENTATIVE PAPER

Elements of an Argumentative paper are:

1. Facts, which represent about 75% of the argument

2. Persuasive appeals, which represent no more than 25% of the argument

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

 

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