Thesis, Bibliography, Proposal, and Counterargument

Select from the three research essay options, write a thesis statement, research resources that support your thesis, explore counterarguments that oppose your thesis, and write a proposal for your essay.

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All I’m armed with is research.

– Mike Wallace, American Journalist

In your personal, academic, and professional life, you will encounter countless situations where you will need to convince family members, friends, coworkers, committees, and other audiences to adopt new policies, consider different processes and perspectives, or make changes that will impact others. Being able to convince others will allow you to have a voice in your own life and impact the lives of others. In order to do this, you will need to develop strategies for persuasion. You will be more convincing if you are able to provide credible evidence to support your point. Having valid and credible evidence to support your arguments plays a large role in how persuasive you are, how others receive your information, and the credibility you can build for yourself.

Being able to critically evaluate evidence in a source is a crucial skill. In what way is the source you are examining useful to your writing project? What purpose does it serve in your larger scheme? What are the source’s inherent strengths? What are its limitations? Source evaluation—understanding the nature of a source’s provenance, detecting any slants or bias, noting strengths or weaknesses of research, and deciding how you might use it—is a fundamental part of the process of writing your essay.

Broad topics lead to generality, obvious thinking, and dull writing. A question that is too broad and unfocused—What is the meaning of life? What direction should America take in the next four years?—leads to broad and unfocused answers, answers that have limited value to discerning readers or to the advancement of knowledge and thought. That is why it is crucial before beginning an essay for writers to find a manageable topic and narrow its scope and purpose; after all, a paper with a focused topic is easier to develop, tends to generate more pages, and is much more interesting and intellectually valuable than one that vaguely pursues a generic, uncritically examined, and general topic.

A proposal is an argument. It attempts to persuade the reader to agree with the proposed subject and the employed strategies. A proposal is a useful form of writing that finds its way into many business procedures, research projects, and many civil matters, to name a few. Moving on from this course, you will employ this form of writing in your education and beyond to a career.

Critically engaging in a piece of argumentative writing is a crucial skill. Even if you are planning to write a piece that has a primary purpose other than persuasion, you often must lay out an argument in opposition to or support another writer’s argument.

For instance, an informative research paper will often have to consider a position with which the author of the paper disagrees, or a writer needs to compare two different positions on a subject and argue why one is more persuasive than another. Thus, summarizing another writer’s position, paraphrasing and quoting important aspects of the writer’s argument, and formulating logically persuasive supporting arguments or counterarguments are central components of any writer’s critical thinking arsenal.

The counterargument involves the pushback your audience might have against your opinion. A good writer anticipates these and adds them to the argument, placing them where it is thought best to include them. It is your strategy to decide where.


Part 1: Research Essay Subject and Thesis

In the Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX] Download Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX], fill in Part 1 with the following:

  • Check the box next to the research essay subject option you chose.
  • Decide on the subject of your research essay and provide a well-developed thesis statement.

Part 2: Annotated Bibliography

Research your chosen essay topic in the Capella Library. Find at least six scholarly articles from the library databases as resources that support your thesis for your research essay. Use these six sources to complete the table in Part 2 of the worksheet.

In the Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX] Download Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX], fill in Part 2 with the following:

  • Develop a list of six scholarly sources that support your research essay thesis statement.
  • For each of the six sources, follow the example annotation and include:
    • A full citation in APA7 format.
    • A summary of the source.
    • How the information in the source supports your thesis.

Part 3: Counterargument/Opposition

A counterargument poses an opposing opinion to your thesis statement, and a rebuttal is how you would answer back to neutralize their opposing opinion and support your thesis.

Your final research essay should include counterarguments dispersed throughout the discussion, and you will decide where in your research essay it is best to place each counterargument for maximum persuasive effect.

In Part 3 of the worksheet, read through the example counterargument and response and use it as a guide. The example includes a thesis statement, a counterargument, and a rebuttal to the counterargument.

Develop three counterargument ideas that oppose your thesis or claim, and responses or rebuttals to each of those three counterarguments. Later, you will use these counterarguments and rebuttals in your final research essay.

In the Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX] Download Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX], fill in Part 3 with the following:

  • Restate the thesis statement you have developed for your research paper.
  • Develop three counterarguments that oppose your thesis statement.
  • Develop a response or rebuttal to these counterarguments that support your thesis statement.

Part 4: Proposal

View the provided Example Proposal Outline [DOCX] Download Example Proposal Outline [DOCX]. In Part 4 of the worksheet, you should build a proposal outline using this document and its formatting as a guide.

In the Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX] Download Thesis, Bibliography, Counterargument, and Proposal Worksheet [DOCX], develop the following in the section titled Part 4:

  • A title page.
  • A 1.5–2-page proposal outline of your research paper including:
    • Background information and thesis or claim.
    • Description of the issue and research plan.
    • Supports your claim.
    • Conclusion.
  • A references page.
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