FINAL PAPER: Argumentative Research Essay

Putting it all together

It is now time to compile your resources and reflect upon what you’ve learned about identity. 

First, let’s talk logistics:

  • 8-10 pages (2000+ words)
  • MLA or APA Formatting
  • Turn in by 11:59pm on the due date
  • You can include media, graphs, images, etc., as long as your word count does not fall below 2000 words. 
  • You must turn in this paper in a Word Document and be very precise about formatting. 
  • You must engage ideas from at least 5-6 outside sources.

Sections of the Research Essay

Introduction and Literature Review

This section should provide an overview of the identity politics you chose to focus on in your research. For example, if you focus on race, you may want to describe some current issues in the US (Ferguson, Detroit, mass-incarceration) or use narrative to open your paper. Or a combination of both. 

Then you must explain what your sources say about the issue. This is the place to flex your synthesis muscles! What conversations are happening? What do other researchers say about it? How do different people approach the problem? What do they have in common, and where do they diverge?

For more on how to write a Literature Review visit

 (Links to an external site.)

Links to an external site.


Your methods section will explain how you came to this particular research interest, how you went about conducting research, who you interviewed and why, and how you put all the information together. This section can contain direct language from your research proposal, and it needs to do a good job establishing your rhetorical position. This section goes a long way in establishing trust with your readers as you will explain your personal relationship with the topic while demonstrating your fair-minded approach. 

For more on how to do this section and the general structure of APA organization, go to this part of the Excelsior OWL

 (Links to an external site.)

Links to an external site.


The Results section explains what you found out from your research. This should be the longest part of your essay, so draw out each point carefully. Think about connections between your reference texts and your interview. Think about how your interview illustrates broader cultural phenomenon in your reference texts. 


This section concludes your research essay. Remember that a conclusion should never shut down the conversation by procuring a “right” answer or “winning” side. Nor should it regurgitate what you wrote about in previous sections. Rather, this section describes the implications of your research findings, as well as provide suggestions for future research. In other words, offer insight as to what your research could be used for, and explain how researchers writing after you might provide insight using a slightly different lens. And finally, use this section to reflect on your results. What do you think merits further study? What was surprising about your research findings? What, if anything, wasn’t? Weave these kinds of questions into the entire Discussion section as you talk about implications and suggest future lines of inquiry. 


The References section should include everything that informed your work. Make sure to use APA formatting and organization correctly. This means you must adhere to guidelines like alphabetizing sources and using the correct format for titles, sections, citations, to name a few.


The Appendix must include anything relevant to your essay that doesn’t have a place in the actual essay. This includes things like your interview transcription. You can also use footnotes, but you don’t have to. 


Final Research Essay

Final Research Essay




This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome


Thorough, catches attention,gives overview

25.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome


Focused, creates issue, invites reasoned debate

25.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome

Engages multiple perspectives and counterarguments:

Appropriate use of summary, paraphrase, quote, uses gist of arguments from sources, no “cherry picking” of ideas, engages whole arguments from sources

100.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome


Unified paragraphs, effective transitions, strong academic structure

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome


Demonstrates solid understanding of material, strong critical thinking skills, uses clear logic and clear progression through ideas

75.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome

APA/MLA formatting:

Heading, runnning header, Works Cited page, spacing and margins, citations.

15.0 pts

Total Points: 250.0

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