Taking a Position: The Research-based Argument Assignment

A few class periods ago, you were handed a sheet of paper with the research questions that the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office came up with regarding a phenomena known as “The CSI Effect.”
 
Research Question: Is the “CSI Effect” real? Why or why not?
 
Purpose:
For this essay, your primary purpose is to inform your audience--to convey information. Since you will become an expert of sorts, the tone--defined as the attitude you convey about the subject you are writing about--should be serious, academic, and knowledgeable. What writing techniques can you use to achieve this tone?
 
To successfully complete this assignment, you must
  • think critically about the question,
  • collect evidence from your own observations/experiences AND from 3-4 outside sources (in addition to the Maricopa County study),
  • analyze and evaluate the evidence you've gathered (especially the web resources),
  • determine whether you think the claims regarding the CSI Effect are real, and
  • write a well-organized, 3-5 page essay reporting and discussing some of the causes of the event so that you and your audience (you, your classmates, and your professor) understand the subject more clearly
 
Requirements:
1. You must cite 2-4 outside sources, sources "outside" of your own observations and thoughts related to the CSI Effect. I strongly suggest you locate your sources through MC's library, a quality search engine (i.e. google), or the class assassination website, rather than through popular search engines like yahoo, askjeeves, or aol.
  • At least one source must be a newspaper, journal, or magazine article
  • Other sources may be anything printed: more articles, books, pamphlets, Web sites, etc.
  • Optional: A personal interview of an "expert" may also be used as one outside source
2. MLA in-text documentation will be used for quotations, summaries, and paraphrases--consult the MLA documentation section of your Hacker book.
3. You will reference your sources on a Works Cited page formatted in MLA style
4. You will type a brief outline of your essay to turn in with the final draft
5. As usual, the final draft will be 3-4 pages, typed or word processed, double spaced, titled, and will follow MC Composition Folder format guidelines
 
Grading:
Your grade will be based on how well you:
  • introduce your topic in an introductory paragraph that creates interest--for example, defines terms, provides background, and/or describes a person/scene;
  • articulate a thesis statement--clearly state the main point of your essay and map out the essay's parts in a logical order at the end of the introductory paragraph;
  • include specific evidence from personal experience and from outside sources (facts, statistics, expert testimony, examples) in each body paragraph to support each topic sentence;
  • organize your ideas--arrange paragraphs in a thoughtful, logical order and connect them with transitional sentences, phrases, or words;
  • avoid plagiarism and document the sources you quote and paraphrase using MLA documentation;
  • handle grammar and punctuation.
Due Dates:
In-class discussion: 4/22
First Draft Due: 4/24
Peer Review Workshop:  4/29
Second Draft Due: 5/1
Individual Conferences: There will be a sign up sheet for appointments
Final Version: Day of Final Exam

Peer Review Sheet