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Eng 102 - The Argumentative Essay: Home

Argumentative Paper


The “Argumentative Paper”

English 102 

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.

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.


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.

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

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


All these databases can be found through the library catalog or the Library Databases and Journals page.

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

Here are 12 Research Paper subjects below.


NOTE: You can argue FOR or AGAINST either side of the issue; make sure you adjust the key word[s] accordingly ...


1. A Single Payer Health System is or is not  the best alternative for the United States. [Key words--"best alternative"]

3. Term Limits for all Senators and Congressmen will or will not insure "real" democracy. [Key Word--"insure"]

3. Drone Strikes are immoral actions. [Key Word--"immoral"]

4. Alternative Health Care should be or should not be a vital part of mainstream medicine. [Key Words--"vital part"]

5. If you study past history, you are studying future history. Key Words--["past & future"]

6. A College Education is or is not necessary for Happiness. [Key word--"necessary"]

7. A Mission to Mars is or is not a waste of Money. [Key word--"waste"]

8. Nature must be preserved if we, as a species, expect to survive. [Key word-- "preserved"]

9. The Internet will or will not create a better world. [Key word--"Better"]

10. Overpopulation does or does not threaten the world's resources. [Key word--"threaten"]

11. The Harlem Renaissance added important cultural diversity to America [Key words--"important cultural diversity"]

12. The Mayan Civilization was less or more advanced than the Egyptian Civilization. [Key words--"less or more advanced"—pick one] 


USE the ESSAY OR RESEARCH PAPER "OUTLINE" FORM located on your Home Page to help write your paper

English 102: Research Paper Assignment 


Elements of an Argument 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