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Instructions for Writing an Argumentative Research Paper in MLA format

Choosing a Topic

Argumentative Research Paper Assignment Instructions:

• Your research paper should be at least 1200 words long (the Works Cited page is a part of this word count requirement).

• For your research paper, you should pick a debatable ethical, social, or political topic.

• Choose a side to argue and support your argument with evidence. Make sure to also present the arguments of the opposition and argue against them. • You should make your own arguments, rather than simply report on where others stand on the issue.

• You may not make faith based arguments in your research paper (ie: “The Bible clearly states that _______ is frowned upon by God, so people should not engage in that activity.”)

• Your argumentative research paper should be presented in MLA format, and include page numbers and a proper heading (1” margins, 12 point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, check the box under paragraph which reads “don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style”).

• Properly introduce your argument, clearly stating your thesis (position on the subject) in your introductory paragraph.

• Your paper should include an introductory paragraph (which introduces your argument, both sides of the argument, and shows which side you are arguing for), body paragraphs (which flesh out the position you are taking on your topic, while stating the arguments of the opposition and refuting them), and a conclusion (which wraps everything up neatly and restates your thesis and explains why your position on the matter is better than that of the opposition).

• Do not use “I,” “we,” or “you” pronouns or contractions (“she’s” or “can’t,” for example) in your paper.

• Please review the chapter/s in The Norton Field Guide to Writing on researching a topic, avoiding plagiarism and MLA format BEFORE you begin writing your research paper.


• Your paper MUST include a Works Cited page which presents at least 3, but no more than 4 sources in proper MLA format. At least 1 of these sources MUST come from the GMC elibrary databases.

• You must include at least 1 source for the opposition of your argument, which you should argue against.

• For each source, you must employ 1-2 quote(s) or paraphrase(s) in your paper with proper in text citations.

• Your quotes may not be longer than 2 lines long. Your sources should be alphabetized by the last name of the author of the source (follow proper protocol if no author is given- these can be found in the textbook).

• Your sources MUST be taken from credible sources. Websites are (generally) NOT considered scholarly sources. However, you may use a website from the following domains: .gov, .org, or .edu. You may NOT use ANY sites from other domain unless approved by your professor

.• You may not use any religious text as a source for your research paper.

• In summation: Acceptable sources for your research paper are books or periodicals found in the GMC library, databases provided on the GMC library website, and .gov, .org, and .edu websites.

• Any outside research (ideas, facts, or statistics that do not come from your own head) MUST be properly documented (through in-text citations and works cited page) or it will be considered plagiarism! This goes for direct quotes, as well as paraphrasing (putting another person’s ideas in your own words).

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