research paper

The Assignment

For the research argument synthesis assignment, using the readings that you locate which focus on the issue of Civil, Human or State’s Rights, you will produce a Researched Argumentative Synthesis. This essay will still be controlled by ideas from the sources, but now your thesis will be a clearly argumentative one. A key difference will be in how you use your source material. Because your purpose now is persuasive rather than informative—unlike the Explanatory Thesis, the information that you will use is not just information; it must support and propel forward an argument. You must use and cite at least 15 sources in your synthesis essay on your “Works Cited” page—at least 12 of those sources must be academic sources and at least two other sources must be “primary” sources.

In sum, the research argument synthesis is still driven by connections between sources, but this time with a clearly argumentative purpose and thesis. Remember that your purpose determines not only which sources you will use but also which information you plumb from them and how you will relate them to one another.

Key Points to Remember

• In your essay, you must first identify the issue and explain why it is a problem or controversial issue and what some of the arguments involved with the issue are. Then, in the remainder of the essay, you must build an argument in support of a position on the issue that is clearly stated in a thesis statement somewhere in the introduction of the essay.

• Of course, your thesis must be arguable–if everyone would agree with you, you are not arguing. To help make your essay arguable, include possible counterarguments or concessions.

• You should use quotations and paraphrases from your sources to show the various positions, illuminate the layers of your ideas, and to defend your thesis. Remember, you must choose your quotes, summaries and paraphrases wisely, INTERPRET them to your audience (i.e., what the source information means), and relate this interpretation to your argument.

• Generally, you should avoid using long quotations–remember, choose wisely. Important longer passages should be summarized or paraphrased to keep your ideas as the focus of the essay. Be careful to properly credit and cite all IDEAS, WORDS, and FACTS that come from outside sources. Accidental plagiarism is a problem that students have with this assignment. For more information of handling sources responsibly, refer to the chapters in our textbook.

• From your work on the previous assignments in this course, you should have noted the following elements of an essay that must be apparent in your essay:

o Introduction/Statement of the purpose of the essay

o A clear and arguable thesis that controls the essay

o Summary of your argument

o Clearly identifiable main points of discussion

o Supporting evidence of your argument to illustrate your points

o Clear, developed, and balanced discussion of the references to your various sources including your interpretations and relating your info back to your thesis/argument

o Counterarguments and concessions along with your rebuttals, compromises, or acknowledgements of acceptance

o Logical organization

o Effective transitions

o Conclusion/Recommendation(s)

A Note on Audience: While you should consider your audience to be an academic audience, please remember that your audience may not be familiar either with your argument or your sources. Therefore, you should be as clear and concise as possible while you make ALL the necessary connections between ideas for your audience.

The finished submitted synthesis should be at least 1450 words. There is no upper limit to length. Please follow MLA essay format and citing sources guidelines. Use one-inch margins on all sides of the page, double-space, and include, on the first page of text only, include your name, date, and course number (ENG 102) in the upper left-hand corner of the first page, followed by the title, centered. But do include, on every page, in the upper right hand corner, one-half inch from the top of the page, your last name, followed by a space and the page number.

Possible topics in human, civil, state and gay rights—some ideas!

Topics in Civil Rights

1. How did earlier civil rights leaders, such as Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, and Marcus Garvey, influence the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s?

2. Where did the term and philosophy “black power” come from? Why did black activists turn to violence in the mid- to late 1960s?

3. Why did the civil rights movement fall apart in the late 1960s and early 1970s? Was the movement a success?

4. How did Malcolm X and the Black Panthers affect the goals of the civil rights movement?

5. How was the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s a continuation of the Reconstruction-era struggle for blacks to achieve equality?

6. Were the SCLC’s and the SNCC’s strategies of nonviolence successful?

Key Provisions Specifically Recognizing Rights of States

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Amendment XI (1795)

The Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.

Key Provisions Interpreted to Limit the Powers of States

Article. VI.

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Article I, Section. 10.

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports….,

Amendment XIV (1868)

No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Topics in gender studies

Forbidden from driving

Clothing requirements

Right to divorce

Access to education

Right to travel

Victims of violence

Custody rights

Sexual subjugation

Female infanticide

Gay marriage and homosexuality

Public Opinion on Same-Sex Marriage

Changing Attitudes on Gay Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage in the U.S.

Gay Marriage and the Law

Religious Groups’ Official Position on Same-Sex Marriage

Gay Marriage Around the World

State Policies on Same-Sex Marriage

Other topics

Criminal justice system

Equality/inequality in housing, education, employment

Voting laws

Child welfare reform


Welfare reform

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