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Professor E. Scott-ENC1101: Getting Started


Getting Started



Welcome to the Assignment Guide to ENC 1101- Professor E. Scott

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Argumentative Research essay 
'Hey, I've done this before'

Word count: 1,500
Voice: First person
Include Works Cited with at least 20 citations
Include a 100-word abstract
The abstract word count is part of the 1,500 words. The works cited word count is not part of the 1,500 words.

Purpose: You get to be judgmental
To make an argument about something and support your point of view using evidence in the form of primary sources (the authors in Parfitt), secondary sources (Parfitt bios) and tertiary (third-level) sources (everyone else you cite).

The Process
Follow these steps to write a research paper. If you start with an assignment from the professor and work your way through these steps, you will finish with a well-crafted essay.

Use the template you learned from writing the coronavirus essay (Abstract, Introduction with a thesis statement, Literature Review, Conclusion, Works Cited).

The steps are:

Step 1: Get familiar with the assignment -- Ask for clarification. It is important to make sure that you understand your assignment before you get started. As soon as I assign the paper, you should read these guidelines carefully and highlight anything that you do not understand. Ask me to clarify the instructions if anything seems unclear or if you don’t understand the assignment.

Make sure you understand how to use MLA documentation to cite your sources in your paper and in your Works Cited. We will go over this in class. If you’re not sure, just ask.

Step 2: Pick a topic (Based on section names in Parfitt?)

  • What is happiness?
  • What makes people happy?
  • Do we deserve to be happy?
  • Can we create our own happiness?
  • Does technology make us happier?


Step 3: Conduct research

Parfitt sets a good example for us by including such a wide variety of types of writing. Have fun choosing your sources but make sure they are relevant.

You should incorporate a combination of very readable sources (I consider Brooks and Hill very readable), or others who write like them but are not in Parfitt. But you also must cite one or more sources whose text is multi-layered or others who write like them but are not in Parfitt. (Challenge yourself.)

You will need to cite some surveys about happiness conducted by Turkle or researchers like her. When citing research, make sure it is current. Don't consider research more than 10 years old as current. (Older references can be made for historical purposes.) 

Include a poem if it’s relevant. (I once included the poem “The Barefoot Boy” in a research paper. My professor was not amused. It’s not required here to include a poem but if you include a relevant poem, I will smile. Include a photograph and caption, like the kissing couple on Page 227 in Parfitt, if they're relevant.

Primary sources
Authors in Parfitt textbook. If you think you have too many Parfitt citations, ask me.

Secondary sources
Parfitt's biographies of authors in his anthology.

Anything written by the Parfitt authors in other publications.


  • “Twenty sounds like a lot of sources, Dr. Scott. Please help me.”
  • How to do deeper research and add to your Works Cited:
    Five of the many people Konnikova cites are Kross, Kraut, Anderson, Gosling and Valenzuela.
    2. If you use Konnikova, I would want you to consider using these five original sources in addition to Konnikova. 
  • 3. Parfitt does not include a Works Cited after each essay, presumably to save space.
    4. So you can't look up these five authors and others in Parfitt.
    5. But don’t just cite Konnikova referencing Kross, Kraut, Anderson, Gosling and Valenzuela.
    6. Find Konnikova's Works Cited for this article in the library or online and use it to find articles by these five authors, online or at the library. (Articles or essays written by Kross, Kraut, Anderson, Gosling and Valenzuela.)

    7. Thus, if you use the Konnikova essay in Parfitt in your essay, you can also cite the others and put in your Works Cited:
    1. Konnikova 
    2. Parfitt (bio of Konnikova) 
    3. Kross article or essay
    4. Kraut article or essay
    5. Anderson article or essay
    6. Gosling article or essay and
    7. Valenzuela article or essay
  • So instead of one citation in your Works Cited, you have seven.

Other sources

Newspapers (examples: New York Times, USA Today)
News magazines (Time, Newsweek)
Academic journals
Google Scholar
Library books
Online library databases
Library e-books
Library audiovisual materials

We likely are going to the library after Spring Break.


Step 4: Organize your essay
Determine the structure of your essay.
Introduction – Generally, you want to have an introduction that sets the stage for your topic, asks a research question and then provides supporting evidence that builds up to your argumentative thesis statement. Your argumentative thesis statement answers your research question.

Research question: Written in the middle of an Introduction, it is the question that the argumentative thesis statement answers. 

Argumentative thesis statement: It answers the research question at the end of the Introduction. An argumentative thesis statement allows the writer to take a position about a subject (e.g., what people should do to fix a social problem) and to convince readers of their stance. Typically, the ATS includes the word "should" or a synonym of "should such as “needs to."

Body of the essay (aka Literature Review) – State your support for your thesis statement, the answer to your research question. Use MLA-style in-text citations.

Include either “Literature Review” or a short phrase related to content you write at the beginning of this section, just like with your coronavirus essay.

Happiness collides with reality


Conclusion – Summarize the main points that led you to your thesis statement (the answer to the research question you posed in the Introduction). If desired, add a final (new) citation to drive home your thesis.


Works Cited


How to form an argumentative thesis

Remember from above:

Step 2: Pick a topic (Based on your interests or the section names in Parfitt)

  • What is happiness?
  • What makes people happy?
  • Do we deserve to be happy?
  • Can we create our own happiness?
  • Does technology make us happier?

Questions to ask yourself.

  1. What does my research tell me? Does it tell me what happiness is and what it is not? Does it tell me the difference between happiness and meaning? Does it tell me what makes people happy?
  2. Does contentment in any of the following areas make people happy: Work, my academic studies, my marriage, my finances, my family, my faith, my health, my home and my friends?
  3. Do the research studies that I find online support my thesis statement? Look and see. Surveys are a valuable resource for college students writing essays.
  4. Does your research tell you whether we deserve to be happy? Oh, boy. This question goes a little deeper than the previous ones because you must answer, “what happiness is” and “what makes people happy” first. Hopefully the authors you cite about deserving happiness” will do that for you.
  5. Does the research tell us whether we can create our own happiness? Perhaps someone’s life is a mess. They have no job, school is a daunting challenge, he or she is not in a relationship and their finances are poor. So, they start thinking about their life and realize that they can concentrate more on their extended family, their faith, their health and maintaining their home and suddenly they are happy because the first four failed paths to happiness are no longer as important. Has this person created his or her own happiness? Perhaps. A source that comes to mind is Jimmy Buffet lyrics:

    “It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes
    Nothing remains quite the same
    With all of our running and all of our cunning
    If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane”

Yes, you can cite a Jimmy Buffet song in my class.

  1. Does your research tell you whether technology make us happier? If I were writing about this topic, I might start with Konnikova and branch out from there.


Step 5: Create an outline (Recommended)
Perhaps you should use letters and numbers to outline your essay. I do that unless Microsoft Word freaks out. Write each line in a complete sentence. Some of these sentences may end up verbatim in your essay.

Step 6: Write the essay
1. Include Works Cited (20+ citations) at the end
2. Include in-text citations
3. Make sure your in-text citations and Works Cited match. When you have written your essay, and completed your Works Cited, you should be able to ascertain from the Works Cited what articles are in the essay. But there is another way to look at this. A reader of your essay should be able to at least start a Works Cited from the information in your in-text citations.
4. Include a 100-word abstract. Write it last.


Step 7: Revise for content

Make sure to have logical transitions that connect sentences and paragraphs.


Step 8: Revise for grammar
Read it front to back. Read it silently. Read it silently again. Read it out loud.


Step 9: Re-read and submit your paper

After you turn in the coronavirus essay, we'll ask you what AR essay ideas you have.

MLA8 Citation Style



For this assignment you can use following databases:

PsycArticles, NewsBank, Academic Search Complete, Gale eBoooks, JSTOR (links provided below) 

For MLA 8 citation help, visit our citation guide

Or visit a librarian.

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