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ENGL 1101 Brooks - Persuasive Essay Research: Assignment

Persuasive Research Essay Assignment

It never hurts to have the assignment written in more than one place, right?

Persuasive Research Essay

Overview and Inspiration: “In the face of deep divides—inequity and injustice; ignorance about US and global cultural traditions; and indifference, polarization, and incivility that block a sense of mutuality—students must acquire a set of critical democratic capacities that allow them to navigate the complexity of differences in their own and people’s lives and forge a sense of shared humanity.” -from the 2013 Bridging Cultures to Form a Nation: Difference, Community, and Democratic Thinking Faculty Workgroup

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to challenge students to consider questions of difference, community, and democratic thinking—through this careful consideration and research, students will develop a persuasive essay of exemplary quality that highlights the composition and research skills they have honed over the semester. Each student is encouraged to develop his / her own research questions in order to explore and drill down to a concept of interest and importance. The student’s thesis must relate to a current issue in our community; the student may define his / her scope of community.

Parameters: A persuasive essay presenting a thesis about a current issue of concern in a specific community. Additional components include a proposal. Throughout the process, topic choice, thesis, and sources must be approved. Topics: For our course, we are going to focus on a concrete, narrow topic that allows you make a specific, action-based argument about a specific law, piece of legislation, policy, initiative, or program. Your topic does not have to fit the themes in Just Mercy, but it does need to relate to the larger themes of justice and equity. Topics must be sufficiently narrow and concrete.

Steps in the Process:

  • Class instruction on academic writing basics
  • Class instruction on persuasive writing and rhetorical strategies
  • Class instruction on research methods 
  • Review and analysis of sample student essays
  • Exploring the 1101 Library Research Guide
  • Exploring Topics discussion board & feedback
  • Proposal discussion & feedback
  • Developing a sentence outline and rough draft of essay 
  • Revision worksheet
  • Revision of essay
  • Submission of revised work


  • Length: 1,200 to 2,200 words (about 5-8 pages in MLA format)
  • Research: minimum of 4 relevant, credible sources; a minimum of 2 of these must be from peer-reviewed journals; you're welcome to use Just Mercy as a source, if it's relevant
  • Works Cited page: required as last page of essay (page 5 or later), MLA format
  • All research must be documented in MLA style (parenthetical citations and works cited page)


Two sample thesis statements:

Thesis: Technical high schools should be established in every county in Georgia because they can provide the technical training that companies need, can get young people into the workforce earlier, and can reduce the number of drop outs.

Thesis: The federal government has a duty to sustain the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals legislation because of the benefits DACA gives to recipients, the dangerous conditions in their native countries, and the low danger that recipients pose in American society.

Library Research Intro Video