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ENG 101 - Argument Essay: Educational Goals (Compton)

1. Getting Started

First Things First - Assignment Requirements

Before you begin work on any research project, examine the assignment closely for any requirements. Exclamation Point

Q. How long is the paper? 

Your paper will be 4-5 pages long, or about 1300-1600 words. 

Q. How many sources?

You will use a variety of 4-5 scholarly sources for your essay.

Q. What kind of sources?

Your sources should be scholarly in nature. Acceptable sources include books, journal articles, and other academic sources. You may use one website from a highly reputable source (check for a .org or a .edu domain name).

Q. How do you cite sources?

You will use MLA format for your citations. You may want to remind yourself what information you need to create the MLA Works Cited page and in-text citations.

Q. What is due?

What do you have to turn in? Is it just a paper? Are there other pieces like a rough draft, outline, summary, reading response, a tutorial, etc.  Make note of all the parts of the assignment and create a checklist to make sure you don't leave anything out.

Q. When is it due?

How long do you have to work on this project? Is there one due date for everything or are there multiple due dates for different parts of the assignment?  Plan out your time, so you don't get stuck doing all the work at the last minute. Plan extra time in case you have problems or get stuck.

Q. What other requirements should you make note of? 

Are there requirements to include a certain number of quotes or paraphrases? Do you need to have a certain number of paragraphs? Do you need visuals/images? current statistics? Make note of any other requirements on the assignment sheet, and ask your instructor for clarification on any parts you're not sure about.

Selecting a Topic

The first thing you need to do before you begin a research project is to select a topic that you're going to write about. Consider the following:

Q. Do you have a choice?

For this assignment, you do have a choice of topics that you may explore. Below are a list of topics, however you are not limited to these topics:

  • Limits on personal or public transportation
  • Lack of help with childcare or eldercare
  • Rising cost of tuition; auxiliary fees (books, etc.)
  • Lack of ESOL or language/cultural resources
  • Inflexible/incompatible work schedules or bosses 
  • Loss of motivation/discouragement of job prospects
  • Housing options (or lack thereof) or food insecurity
  • Loss of educational support from family/community
  • COVID-19/Pandemic issues-such as inadequate WiFi or technological resources
  • Feeling misunderstood or disconnected from collegiate life
  • Mental or physical conditions that colleges do not adequately support

Q. Do you have an interest?

If you have a choice on what topic you can choose, consider which one you find the most interesting.  Which topic do you think would be the easiest to research? Which topic would you have the most to say about?

Q. Are there sources?

Before you totally commit to a topic, you'll want to make sure that there are enough outside sources on the topic for your assignment. Not every topic is going to have information written about it. Newer topics or topics that aren't as well known may be harder to find sources for.  Do some searching in the library's databases to make sure there are sources, and Ask-A-Librarian to double-check if you're not sure there are enough sources for a topic you're really interested in.