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?
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
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
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