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ENC 1101: Written Communication: L. Masucci

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Welcome to the Assignment Guide to ENC 1101- Professor L. Masucci

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Compare/Contrast Instructions

For this assignment, you will be selecting two arguments on the same topic to compare in an essay of at least 1300 words. These two essays will be the primary sources of your own essay. You will compare both the content of the arguments and the rhetorical choices made by the two authors. I strongly suggest using a point-to-point organizational structure for this assignment. 

To select your primary sources, I recommend that you go to Opposing Viewpoints, click "Browse Issues," select a topic, and then choose from "Viewpoints" and/or "Featured Viewpoints." If you would like to increase the rigor of this assignment, you may instead choose two academic essays from the databases in the area of your future major or a special interest, but please consult with me to make sure the essays you choose are arguing a thesis. They cannot be merely informative essays.

Once your essays are selected, you will begin taking notes and finding points of comparison. each of these can be developed into a body paragraph. Your thesis will tell the extend to which the two essays agree/disagree or are similar/dissimilar in making their arguments. Each topic sentence will tell one point of similarity or difference between the two essays, and the supporting evidence will be quotes or paraphrases from each primary source. 

You will also need a third source for this essay, which you will quote only in the intro and/or conclusion, to provide background information, historical context, prove the importance of the topic, etc. 

Please note that you may be writing this essay about a commonly argued topic, but you will not be arguing yourself. You will be writing an informative essay that objectively compares two arguments. 

This essay should be in MLA format with a Works Cited page (containing exactly three entries). Use formal, academic tone.


Argumentative Essay Instructions

ENC 1101: Argumentative Research Paper (Minimum: 1800 Words)

Write an argumentative research paper on a topic of your choice (barring a few listed below). It should be a topic about which people have strong, but varied, opinions.

You must argue the validity of your point of view using reliable, valid research to back up your position.

In addition, all body paragraphs must be at least six to eight (6-8) sentences in length, and you cannot use pronouns such as I, me, my, mine, us, our, we, you, or your. Also, no contractions will be permitted.

Your paper should include an introduction that contains a thesisbody paragraphs, at least one of which should contain a counterclaim section, and a conclusion.

This essay must have at least six (6) reliable, valid resources. The resources must have at least one (1) book resource and two (2) peer-reviewed journal resources. Other database sources, such as Opposing Viewpoints, may be used, but no more than two sources should come from each database.

Topics that will not be accepted: Papers from other or previous courses, Vaccinations, Marijuana, Abortion, Euthanasia, Death Penalty, Religion, 2nd Amendment/Gun Control issues, or Rape/Sexual Assault. Please be sure that you do not submit an argument in favor of removing or limiting anyone’s civil rights. These kinds of ethical debates are better suited for philosophy/ethics classes. If you have any doubts about your topic meeting this requirement, please discuss it with me. Please Note: more may be added at my discretion.

All essays must be typed and double-spaced. Use 12 point Times New Roman only. Utilize MLA style for all formatting and citations.

Some important tips about writing academic essays:

Course essays should be formal. Formal essays should:

  • Avoid a conversational tone
  • Avoid the use of personal pronouns referring to the writer or reader of the essay (I, me, you, your, us, we, our)
  • Avoid contractions (shouldn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, can’t, won’t, etc.) – Simply spell them out.
  • Avoid web-based resources for support (Wikipedia, Sparknotes, or similar websites)
  • Avoid proofreading errors (be sure to spell check and read through your essay)
  • Avoid overuse of resources (at the most, your essay should contain only 30% resource material)


Some things to keep in mind about essays:

  • If you do not meet the minimum word count, you receive an automatic 50% on the essay. The grade can descend from there. Since this course is Gordon Rule, it is important to meet the minimums.
  • When using any outside material, you must properly quote, paraphrase, summarize, and cite the material. If not, this can be considered plagiarism and result in penalties to your grade, such as a zero for the assignment. See the syllabus for details.
  • Be sure to review the Rubric for this essay to better understand the elements being assessed. 

MLA 8 Citation Style

For MLA9 citation help, visit our citation guide

Or visit a librarian.



More Resources


For more resources and information, visit the full Research Guide for Professor L. Masucci

Professor L. Masucci