You will be writing an academic essay with an introduction, body, and conclusion, but because this is a research paper, you will need to incorporate several outside sources (books, magazines, websites, etc.) into your paper. This means that you need to quote or paraphrase certain passages from your sources and write them into your body paragraphs. Your sources will be your evidence that will defend your argument (thesis statement). As with any paper using outside sources, you will have to cite every source using the MLA (Modern Language Association) format. In the case of the research paper for this class, you will be required to cite from at least five outside sources. All of your sources can be electronic sources as long as they are credible sources that provide accurate information but if you have to widen your search, you must make sure that your sources are reliable and trustworthy.
You will be using outside sources to defend your argument, but you will also have to use certain types of rhetoric in your paper. You should not assume that your outside sources will be enough to prove your argument. You need to build rhetorical strategies around your sources. Listed below are some of the rhetorical issues that you need to address in your essay.
You need to defend your argument with convincing evidence, which will come from your outside sources. Keep in mind the various types of evidence:
Numerical Data (statistics, polls, etc.)
Research Data (for example, conclusions made from scientific and academic studies)
Appeal: you need to figure out what sort of appeal to use in your paper and how you will build this appeal off of the evidence you present. Will you be incorporating a logical or ethical appeal around your sources, or will you use both? How can you form a strong appeal along with your evidence? I will discourage you from using emotional appeal since it is very hard to pull off in a research paper.
Language: even though this is an academic paper where you still have to be somewhat formal, you still have room to incorporate denotative or connotative language. You have to consider whether you want to be specific and precise (denotative) or poetic and ambiguous (connotative). If you are so inclined, you can use both types of language just as long as your word choice helps support your argument.
Tone of voice: keep in mind that you still have to write a formal academic essay (3rd Person POV only). However, you can also incorporate a tone. If you feel so inclined, you can leave out all emotion in your essay, but if you want to, you can establish a subtle emotional tone (sarcasm and so forth) just as long as your tone of voice does not get in the way of the formality of your paper.
Please be aware that you cannot assume that your evidence will speak for you. You must build a strong appeal (logical or ethical) off of the evidence that you present, and don’t forget connotative and denotative language as well as tone.