Checklist for the Argument Research EssayBefore you Begin:□ You have all of your sources in one accessible place with full information so you can accessthem again quickly as needed.□ You have a solid plan for your essay: a map or outline of what you will accomplish with eachparagraph.While you Write the Body of Your Essay:□ You are keeping balance, structure, and unity in mind.□ Your voice is the driving force.□ You have composed strong, smooth topic sentences for each paragraph with clear transitions.□ Your sources are not introduced and implemented in a paragraph until you have adequatelyprepared your reader for them with your voice and with your argumentative purpose clear.□ Your sources are integrated with signal phrases, paraphrased or quoted (with best practicesfor choosing paraphrase or quotation in mind), and fully cited and referenced. Whenparaphrasing, you are rephrasing the source’s ideas completely in your own language, not justchanging or re-arranging words.□ Your voice is the force throughout each body paragraph, not just in the topic sentence. Yourvoice argues the point, introduces sources, discusses the relevance of each source/piece ofevidence, and synthesizes ideas to make your argument.□ You are keeping the courtroom analogy in mind. Remember that a lawyer does most of thetalking about the evidence, not the other way around. The evidence means nothing without youpreparing the jury for it, explaining it while presenting it, and then bringing it all together toshow the connection between evidence and your stance.After the Full Body of the Essay Has Been Written:□ You now revisit your introduction and revise it so that it best presents the “opening arguments”for the essay. A good introduction is finalized only after the essay is complete. Re-think yourattention-grabber (Is it an engaging “hook” for your reader, such as a startling fact, acontroversial opposing viewpoint, a relevant anecdote?), and make sure your backgroundinformation flows smoothly from your “hook,” followed by a smooth and logical flow into thethesis. Of course, make sure your thesis is clear, arguable, and narrow in focus.□ You now write your conclusion, your “closing arguments” that leave the reader thinking aboutthe impact of your topic and stance.□ You put it all together, then re-read and make adjustments for all crucial items: flow, structure,voice, balance, unity, clarity for your reader.□ You understand that while this draft is as good as you can make it right now, you will revise itmuch more after you’ve had some distance, to come back and see it with “fresh eyes,” andafter you have received multiple forms of feedback.
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