You can choose your own topic; the only requirement is that it your topic somehow involves Memphis. 

ENGL 1020: Composition/Analysis   

University of Memphis

Researched Argument Draft 

Overview: 

For your next major assignment, you will write the first draft of your researched argument. You can choose your own topic; the only requirement is that it your topic somehow involves Memphis.

As you choose your topic, make sure you choose something you are genuinely interested in, as you will be working with this topic in different forms (draft; new media; final draft) for the remainder of the semester.  While there are obvious choices (The Blues, Beale St., Elvis, BBQ, etc) you can localize just about any topic you care about. For example, if you are interested in healthy eating, then you could do research on food deserts or school lunch programs in Memphis. If you are interested in business, then you might do research on FedEx or Autozone and use that research to argue that Memphis is a great place to start a business.

Purpose: 

Successful writing doesn’t happen overnight, especially when research is required. Writing is a slow process, and this assignment is the first of three that will help you develop an argument, improve your writing process, learn to revise, and think about how arguments change when the genre or audience changes. While this is the first draft of a much longer project, you should turn in something you are happy with and think is complete. Then we will move on to the New Media writing project before returning to revise this draft. The goal of this process is to help you understand two things:

  1. In order to produce your best writing, you need to revise, and revision requires space from your first draft.
  2. First drafts may seem complete when you just finish writing, but generally first drafts can be improved with changes in organization, additional sources, and even changes in your rhetorical approach. That doesn’t mean you should turn in something that you haven’t work hard on. Even though you will revise, this draft does receive a grade.

The Process of Developing your Argument:

Researchers don’t begin with a thesis; they begin with a question, a hypothesis, or even just a hunch. They then do research to either answer their question or prove their hypothesis. You should do the same. You don’t need to know what you want to argue yet:

  1. You need to choose a general topic.
  2. You need to do research and read about your topic.
  3. After you have done research, you can begin to develop your argument and figure out your thesis.
  4. Next you should remember what you learned about developing arguments in the rhetorical analysis assignment. What is the Rhetorical Situation? Who is your audience? How can they be persuaded? What kind of supporting evidence do you need to in order to convince them? Are there places you can go or people you can interview to support your argument? Since you are writing about a topic related to Memphis, you can conduct interviews and do other kinds of primary research to support your argument.
  5. Draft.

Submission: You will submit your paper digitally, via ecourseware. MLA citation and format are required. For specifics about format please see the course syllabus.

Requirements: 

  • Six pages (excluding works cited)
  • Must include five academic or government sources 
  • MLA format
  • Topic related to Memphis (unless you are out of the area, in which case you may argue a topic in your own area.)

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