24 Introduction

Module Six: Drafting the Research Essay

Module Introduction

We’ve talked so much about the reader, but you can’t forget that the opening line is important to the writer, too. To the person who’s actually boots-on-the-ground. Because it’s not just the reader’s way in, it’s the writer’s way in also, and you’ve got to find a doorway that fits us both.

~ Stephen King

Novelist Stephen King’s sentiment above rings true for all writers—including students composing research arguments. Effective persuasive writing, after all, engages with the audience from the opening passages. Writers should attempt to blend creativity with credible content and a logical approach in order to craft a solid term paper, and much of that important work takes place from the outset, when the author establishes a bond with his or her audience and outlines the parameters of the project. This module is designed to help you begin the drafting process on your research argument by presenting advice on organizing the different parts of your essay and effectively incorporating the resources you will use to support your main points.

To summarize our work thus far in the course, we have explored various formal approaches to creating persuasive rhetorical arguments. We have studied and practiced critical reading and response skills in the investigation of articles and speeches. We have examined the components of basic logic and investigated a variety of approaches to using definition and creative phrasing to develop complex, persuasive arguments. And we now have a research plan and a collection of resources that we will incorporate in our term paper.

The primary assignment for this learning module is the submission of a three-page “pilot paper,” which should include the following elements:

  • The first three pages of your research argument, which should include your introduction, your thesis, and at least the early passages of your essay’s first subdivision.
  • At least two resources should be incorporated in accordance with MLA formatting principles.

This module will offer advice on capturing a reader’s attention from the outset of a piece of writing, using sources effectively in college writing, and creating powerful conclusions that leave readers with a clear understanding of the components of your argument. (1)


Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Produce the introductory passages of a ten-page argumentative research essay, including the introduction, the thesis statement, the early passages of the essay’s first subdivision, and two resources correctly introduced using Modern Language Association (MLA) in-text documentation principles. (1)


  • Online Learning Unit


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