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Research Papers

Subject/Grade:  English III
Developed by: Kimberly Livaudais
JCS Unit Plan Name: Research Paper
Pacing: 3 weeks
CCSS  Standard(s):

W.11-12.1  Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence.

W.11-12.1.B Develop claim(s) and counterclaims fairly and thoroughly, supplying the most relevant evidence for each while pointing out the strengths and limitations of both in a manner that anticipates the audience’s knowledge level, concerns, values, and possible biases.

W.11-12.1.D Establish and maintain a formal style and objective tone while attending to the norms and conventions of the discipline in which they are writing.

Key Concepts:

●          arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts

●          relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital source

●          Effectiveness of rhetorical devices, including figurative language, and use of appeals in a persuasive text

●          The structure and clarity of the central idea in a persuasive text

Essential Question:

●          How can the written and spoken word influence people’s thoughts and behaviors?

●          How does a writer use language to advance an opinion?


This is a research paper that is completed in English III following the writing process. The content of the paper revolves around a debatable thesis, and the student synthesizes sources to produce a logical argument.  The research paper is a persuasive paper that utilizes scholarly and reliable sources to prove a point.     Remember that the topic and subsequent thesis must be persuasive in nature, not simply informative.  Argumentative, persuasive, and rhetoric are, in the high school, synonymous and will be used interchangeably.

Toulmin Model of Argument:

The twentieth-century British philosopher Stephen Toulmin noticed that good, realistic arguments typically will consist of six parts. He used these terms to describe the items.

Data: The facts or evidence used to prove the argument

Claim: The statement being argued (a thesis)

Warrants: The general, hypothetical (and often implicit) logical statements that serve as bridges between the claim and the data.

Qualifiers: Statements that limit the strength of the argument or statements that propose the conditions under which the argument is true.

Counter-claims/Rebuttals: Counter-arguments or statements indicating circumstances when the general argument does not hold true.

Backing: Statements that serve to support the warrants (i.e., arguments that don’t necessarily prove the main point being argued, but which do prove the warrants are true.)






















“The Research Process: A Flowchart” from The College Writer: A Guide to Thinking, Writing, and Researching, 5th Edition (page 399, fig 24.2) Copyright 2015 Cengage Learning.

Visualizing An Argument Essay 

Introductory Paragraph

The opening engages interest and explains the thesis.  The thesis will include the issue and claim.  Ways to engage interest include explaining why the issue is important, providing necessary background information and giving qualifications/explanations.  You could also state the background of the argument and the counter-claims you will be disproving.  You end with your thesis containing the issue and claim.

Body Paragraphs

These will give a reason to support the claim in your thesis (in the topic sentence) and evidence to back up the reason or rebut the counterclaim.  These paragraphs will give evidence (logos), appeal to emotions (pathos) use credible sources to support your claim and prove your reasons (ethos), and use supporting details from your own conclusions regarding the reasons and claim.


The concluding paragraph provides closure by restating the thesis/claim, summarizing the main arguments, calling the audience to action, recommending a solution, or explaining the alternative if the solution is NOT adopted or the action NOT taken.  If there is an anecdote in the introduction,  it can be referenced again.




Persuasive Research Paper for Honors English III: ArgumentEssayAssignmentS15 Honors

Google Doc version of Honors Paper

Persuasive Research Paper for Standard English III: ArgumentEssayAssignmentS15 Standard

Google Doc Version of Standard Paper

Research Paper for OCS English III: OCS Research Paper Specifications

Google Doc Version of OCS Paper


1 Comment

  1. Tara Webster

    Hello again,
    I know this is not a research paper question but I was wondering if you could post an example of an academic biography.

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