Student Paper Guidelines

Argument Paper


Research & Writing Task:  The goal of this assignment is to deepen your skills of taking a stand on an issue, expressing it in a sentence, supporting it in a way that is persuasive to a specific audience, communicating a strong sense of audience awareness, and writing a paper that is supported (not dominated) by library sources.

Do you know what fees you have to pay as a UCA student?  Do you know where this money goes and who decides how it’s spent?  Who decides how much these fees are?  Your task is to research the student fees you pay and create an argument based on one or more specific fee.  You might argue that a fee in unnecessary or that a fee should be raised.  You may argue that a fee is understandable as long as there’s student input in how the fee is used.  You might say, “The Student Activities Board fee is important, but this is how it should be used” or “The Athletic fee should be raised, since athletics provides such a great experience for all college students.” In a successful argument, remember that you must include the following:

  • Introduction
  • Thesis Statement
  • Background Information
  • Reasons and Evidence
  • The Opposing View and the Refutation
  • Conclusions

Audience: Your audience members for this paper are your fellow UCA students.


Minimum Content Requirements:

  • Must follow the assignment topic: the paper must be an argument. An argument paper includes your position on the issue, your reasons for that position, and evidence to support your reasons.
  • Must describe your issue, demonstrating your awareness that you are entering a conversation that contains competing perspectives on the issue
  • Must make a focused claim about your issue (i.e., state an arguable thesis that locates your stance among the competing perspectives). See Chapter 5 in The Writer’s Way.
  • Must provide reasons that support your thesis
  • Must provide evidence for your reasons (e.g., your own reasoning plus research)
  • Must anticipate objections from people with other perspectives and, when necessary, provide refutations
  • Must be aware of the unspoken/unwritten assumptions (values and beliefs) underlying both your claims and reasons as well as the claims and reasons of competing perspectives.
  • Must avoid tangents unrelated to the main idea.
  • Must show use of specific details (think about “concretions” in Chapters 6 & 12 of The Writer’s Way).
  • May be written in first person or third person (use of “I,” but must avoid second person, use of “you”).
  • Must be a minimum of 1,750 words. This is roughly 6-7 pages using Times New Roman, 12-point font, 1-inch margins, and double spacing.
  • Must use a minimum of 4 reliable sources, cited both in-text and in a Works Cited page in MLA format. Sources may include books, magazines and newspapers, scholarly journals, and education institutions and their websites. You must use a combination of print and electronic sources.
  • Must show evidence of clear attempt to improve the essay through revision between the rough draft, second draft and the final draft.