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AP English Language and Composition/ENG 121
English 10 Honors: American Literature
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» The Argumentative/Persuasive Essay
English 12/LIT 115
English 10 Honors: American Literature » The Researched Argumentative or Persuasive Essay

The Argumentative/Persuasive Essay The Researched Argumentative or Persuasive Essay
The Handouts Associated with the Assignment

Please click on the links below to retrieve the handouts:

You will improve your chances of success on the assignment if you choose a topic that interests you. 

A successful research topic usually meets the following criteria:

  • The writer is genuinely interested in the topic, and willing to learn more about it;
  • While the writer may be committed to a perspective on the topic, the writer can recognize the value and importance of perspectives that contest or complicate the writer's views;
  • The topic is susceptible to analysis, rather than founded in articles of faith or personal tastes that readers cannot be expected to share;
  • The topic can be researched; there are relevant facts and viewpoints on record in a variety of print and electronic sources;
  • The topic matters, not just to the writer but to a broad potential readership.  Good topics often start with a question that has something to do with how we live, what we care about, or what we may need to know; a good research question is one that raises more questions, and can't be answered simply.


Conversely, the following topics are likely not to work well for writers:

  • Topics that can't be researched adequately (vague philosophical musings about the meaning of life, questions that ultimately lead back to the writer's personal tastes rather than to a shared body of information, and questions that are ultimately trivial in an academic context);
  • Topics about which the writer has such strong personal convictions that s/he can't imagine or accept the validity of views that differ from his/hers;
  • Topics that lead to binary questions and answers (yes or no; good or bad; right or wrong; should or shouldn't), because a good research topic is susceptible to a variety of perspectives and answers;
  • Broad social issues that can't be addressed adequately in the space of three to five pages.  Many books have been written about abortion, euthanasia, gun control, affirmative action, animal rights, and similar topics.  Unless you have extensive experience that qualifies you to speak knowledgeably and persuasively in an already-crowded conversation, shy away from such topics.  If you're having trouble finding a topic, don't retreat to broad social issues as a default move; instead, do more work on discovering a productive topic.  Also, check out the handout linked below.

Related Files

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Related Links
    For more resources, click here.
    On the AP 11 research paper page, you will find more resources to help you organize and format your paper. Click on the links at the bottom of the page.

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