Topic: Should work schedules be redesigned around parental norms?
Essay 3 Guidelines – Persuasive-Evaluation
Write a persuasive paper on an issue located in an issue of the CQ Researcher, which can be accessed using ACC’s online subscription database (the directions for connecting to it are posted in this document).
You must select a report that was published in the last ten years, and you must select an issue question from the report’s table of contents.
You must locate and cite six additional sources—three must come from an ACC online subscription database or online book.
I will not accept any essays on abortion, death penalty, or gun control.
You will make a judgment by choosing a side and your goal is to convince readers to agree with your side of the issue by providing specific evidence to support your thesis statement.
Your evidence must be accurate, representative, and sufficient.
Accurate: the information you provide is verifiable and from reliable sources.
Representative: you have a variety of sources to support each claim you make.
Sufficient: you have provided detailed explanations and examples so that the reader is not left asking questions because the details are vague.
Your essay must be a minimum of 1,000 words. Papers over four pages long will not be accepted. (This page limit does not include the works cited page.)
You must argue a minimum of two reasons to support your thesis statement, and one reason must refute an opposing argument—which means that one of the body paragraphs will be a refutation paragraph. Guidelines for writing a refutation paragraph are posted in this document.
You must use MLA documentation in the form of in-text citations—signal phrases and parenthetical citations—and you must provide a works cited page.
You must use MLA document design and submit your essay in a Google document.
You must submit your neatly organized annotated research in a binder or by clipping it all together with a large clip. Use tabs to divide the sources.
Locating and Using the CQ Researcher
Opinions on current issues appear in magazines, newspapers, books, television programs, and on the Internet. For essay two, you will be using the CQ Researcher.
The CQ Researcher is published weekly and covers “hot topics” in the news. Each issue is devoted to one topic, and each issue provides the following:
an overview of the topic
the history of the issue
why the issue is newsworthy
current statistics and facts
persuasive essays on the issue
To locate the online version of the CQ Researcher:
From the ACC library’s homepage, click on Books, Articles, Videos, which is located on the navigation bar.
Click on Databases.
Click on the letter “C,” and scroll down to CQ Researcher Online.
If you are off campus, enter your ACCeID and Password.
You can search by typing in a topic in the “Search by keyword” box or you can click on “Browse Topics,” where you will see an alphabetical list of topics. Click on a subject that interest you and you will see a list of topics covered.
Once you find a report that looks interesting, go to the report’s table of contents. For example, go to the CQ Researcher and type “Obesity” in the “Search by keyword” box.
Click on “Obesity Epidemic.” You will see a View as PDF link—which is usually available for most issues. Click on it and then look in the left margin for the Table of Contents page for issue questions
For “Obesity Epidemic” there are six issue questions listed on the table of contents:
“Should schools ban sodas and fast food?”
“Can fast food be blamed for the obesity epidemic?”
“Does fat make you fat?”
“Does [the] U.S. need [a] Homeland Obesity Department?”
“Should restaurants be liable for customers’ weight gains?”
“Should chain restaurants be required to put nutrition labels on menus?”
IMPORTANT NOTE: only argue one issue question from the table of contents to address in your essay
Print the document—or at least the sections you will summarize or quote from in your essay.
Locating and Using ACC’s Online Subscription Databases
It is important that you are aware of the following: “There is a difference between Web-based databases the library pays for through a subscription and those that are free to the public at large. Subscription sites provide edited material that has been scrutinized before being published. That isn’t always the case with sites that are free” (Hacker 527). For essay two, you are required to find a minimum of three subscription database sources to support your claim. Using the databases will be more difficult than using the free Internet. To find relevant information faster, learn some of the search techniques described on the next five pages: Boolean operators, quotation marks, truncation, and parentheses.
Locating the Databases
Go to the ACC home page at HYPERLINK “http://www.austincc.edu” www.austincc.edu and click on Library.
Click on Books, Articles, Videos, which is located on the navigation bar.
Click on Databases
You will see an alphabetical list and below that you will see Browse databases by subject. Select the letter “A” in the alphabetical list and look for Academic Search Complete; click on the letter “M” and look for MasterFILE Premier. These are the two largest databases so you might want to start your search there.
If you have trouble, there is a Research Librarian on every campus who can assist you. These librarians have a master’s degree in research.
Writing a Works Cited Entry for a Subscription Database
Box, Scott. “One Father’s Unique Perspective.” Newsweek 5 Mar. 1999:
38. MasterFILE Premier. EBSCO. Austin Community Coll. Lib.,
Austin, TX. 12 Feb. 2002 .
Summary of Search Techniques
Searching subscription databases is more difficult than searching the free Internet. Learn to use the following search techniques: Boolean operators, quotation marks, truncation, and parentheses.
Sometimes a search can be overly general (results equal too many hits) or overly specific (results equal too few hits). To fine tune your search, you can use AND, OR, and NOT operators to link your search words together. These operators will help you narrow or broaden your search so you can retrieve the exact information you need quickly.
USE THE “AND” OPERATOR to retrieve a smaller set of sources: By stringing key terms together with the word “and,” you can further define your search and reduce the number of results. For example, type marriage AND statistics to find results that include both terms.
USE THE “OR” OPERATOR to retrieve the largest set of sources: Broaden a search by linking terms together using the word “or.” Your words are searched simultaneously and independently of each other. For example, type sleep AND walking OR waking to find results that reference the terms “sleep” and “walking” or “waking.”
USE THE “NOT” OPERATOR to eliminate some terms and narrow a search: This operator will help you to filter out specific topics you do not wish included as part of your search. For example, type sleep OR walking NOT waking to find results that contain the terms “sleep” or “walking” but not “waking.”
Often keywords are more than one word. Most search engines let you put quotation marks around the phrase so only results with the exact phrase are listed. For example, type “rap music” in the search box to so the search engine will search for those two words together; otherwise, the search engine will list all the sources with the word “rap” and with the word “music.”
Use the shortest form of a word followed by a truncation symbol such as * or ? to retrieve multiple forms of the word. For example, type comput* if you wish to retrieve any of the following words: Compute, Computer, Computers, Computing.
Parentheses combine concepts and techniques. The search engine will search for what is grouped or nested inside the parentheses first. For example, if you type (“rap music” OR “hip hop”) AND censorship in the search box, the search engine will search for “rap music” or “hip hop” first.
10 November 2004
Tips for Conducting Online Research
The two main problems students face when doing online research is retrieving too much information or retrieving too little information. Either one of these situations can be frustrating and leave a person longing for the Dewey decimal system and stale air of the library. But don’t start running for the florescent lights and brown stained carpet yet. Sitting home at four in the morning conducting research in your cow print pajamas can be stress-free and fruitful when you understand how to use the techniques designed specifically for searching the Internet and online subscription databases. These search tools group the basic words that express a given topic. Specifically, these tools are quotation marks, truncation, Boolean operators, and parentheses; they each work to narrow or broaden the results of your search into a reasonable number of potentially useful documents.
Don’t let the names scare you. These terms can be simply explained. Quotation marks are simply quotation marks placed around keywords or phrases. Truncation is the use of an asterisk or question mark following a root word. Boolean operators refer to the words: AND, OR, NOT, and NEAR. Parentheses are just that, parentheses. Application of these techniques is where it gets a bit tricky. The easiest way to understand how to use these techniques is by how effectively they broaden or narrow a search.
Before starting a search, you need to establish keywords or phrases that describe your topic. Place quotation marks around the words so “only results with the exact phrase are listed” (“Finding” 17). For example, typing in the phrase “unwed mothers” will only give results with that phrase and not sources about mothers in general.
If you are still deciding on a topic or determining what aspect of the topic to address, truncation is a good tool because it will expand a search beyond the exact form of the key word. Simply reduce your topic’s keyword to its root word and place an asterisk or question mark after it. The search engine will look for “all variants” of the word (Austin 19). For instance, if your topic is teenagers, search for teen*. This will retrieve information including the words teens, teenagers, teenaged. Truncation is also effective when your keyword search results in too little information.
Although a short list of results is not very common, if you find yourself in this situation the Boolean operator OR will also help to improve your results. Combining multiple keywords together with OR will often produce a larger list of results because it searches for information containing either one or both terms. To illustrate, a search for cars produced 78,098 results, trucks produced 115,672 results. A search for cars OR trucks produced 284,561. The more key words you string together with OR, the more results retrieved (“Boolean” 2).
What really consumes precious time is sifting through thousands of documents, most of which turn out to be irrelevant to the topic. To avoid this common cause of frustration, which can lead to cursing at inanimate objects, you will need to narrow your search. Boolean operators AND and NOT are extremely useful in minimizing search results. When two keywords are joined together with AND, the search engine will only list records containing both words. For example, a search for “unwed mothers” AND welfare will display results that have both terms and not retrieve documents that contain only one of the keywords, dramatically reducing the number of results. Take note that the more keywords you string together with the operator AND, the fewer records you will retrieve (“Boolean” 3).
A second Boolean operator that effectively narrows search results by “excluding unwanted terms” is NOT. NOT allows you to exclude unwanted words and phrases from a search (“Research” 15). For instance, if you are researching gambling and do not want information on lotteries, typing gambling NOT lottery would “result in a shorter, more focused list of sources” (Austin 20).
A more advanced search technique is the use of NEAR. NEAR can be very powerful in limiting the number of results. Unlike AND where “the terms can appear anywhere in the document” and can result in sources being listed that are not really related to the topic, NEAR tells the search engine to look for sources that have the terms within a certain vicinity of each other (“Boolean” 11). For example, a document may have “white dogs” in the second paragraph and “ black cats” 18 paragraphs later. If you search for black AND dogs, this document will appear on the list of search results even though the source had nothing to do with black dogs. A better search would be black NEAR dogs because a document containing statements like “black dogs look good in red” will be retrieved (“Boolean” 12). A search engine’s tolerance for NEAR tends to be somewhere between 9-15 words (“Boolean” 11).
As you search, your information needs can become more specific. You may find combining all or some of these search techniques extremely helpful. This is when the use of parentheses comes into play. Parentheses tell the computer to look for documents containing the terms in the parentheses first. Then the search engine looks within those documents for the keywords that are outside the parentheses. For example the topic, “censorship of rap music,” if not searched properly could return thousands of results on censorship that is unrelated to rap music. Typing (“rap music”) AND censorship will give censorship results specific to rap music because the search engine searches for sources related to rap music first; then within those sources, it searches for censorship related information (“Finding” 18).
All of the aforementioned techniques can be used in conjunction to produce focused, limited and therefore useful online search results. Like everything, practice will hone your ability to determine the most efficient search approach for a given topic. In other words, the best way to understand when to use quotation marks, parentheses, Boolean operators, and truncation is to log on, use them, and evaluate the results.
Search engines like Yahoo and Google vary in how they use the search methods previously outlined. For example, some search engines use a plus (+) symbol instead of the word AND (Badke 74). You would be doing yourself a huge favor by looking at the “search help” page of such sites before using these and other search engines.
The Internet and online subscription databases are amazing tools that have revolutionized how modern society not only gathers information but how they work. As long as you understand how to put them to work for you, an Internet connection and computer can make staying home and staying in your pajamas just as productive as going to the library.
Tips for Writing Your Persuasive Essay
Introduction: introduce your topic to the readers without arguing your position.
“Establish your own credibility by showing that you are knowledgeable and fair-minded . . . and as much as possible, build common ground with readers who may disagree with your position on the issue; at the very least, don’t needlessly alienate them by striking the wrong tone” (Hacker).
Hook-lead: In your opening sentences, you can do one or more of the following:
–give readers some background information about the issue;
–provide an engaging anecdote that leads to the thesis;
–refer to facts or statistics relating to the topic;
–ask an engaging question.
–At the end of the introduction, state your thesis—your position on the issue.
–An essay map can provide your three points, but including a map is optional.
Body Paragraphs: each body paragraph should develop one main point supporting the thesis.
“Organize your paper around a few key lines of argument: claims [points] that . . . might reasonably persuade readers that your thesis has merit” (Hacker).
“Develop each line of argument with as much specific and relevant evidence as possible” (Hacker). Be sure to explain each point and give examples to clarify. You can give examples from personal experience or stories from friends, the news, or readings.
Refute an opposing argument. (Additional information on the next page).
Conclusion: provide readers with a sense of closure. Be sure to fully develop the paragraph.
Find an original and graceful way to summarize, but avoid writing a flat, point-by-point recopying of your thesis and main points.
End by asking your audience to do something.
End by making a prediction.
End by offering a solution to a problem.
Common Errors to Avoid
Avoid the following common errors when you write your concluding paragraph:
Don’t apologize for what you have written or for the way you have written it: “It might be better to listen to other people . . .”
Don’t introduce new points:
If you didn’t develop the point in a body paragraph, don’t discuss it in the conclusion..
Don’t raise ideas that contradict your thesis:
The conclusion should support thesis. Don’t reverse your position.
Don’t make the conclusion abrupt:
The following sentences would be too abrupt:
“These are my reasons for wanting peer grading to be banned.”
“As you can see, this essay proves my thesis.”
Writing a Refutation Paragraph
To refute something means “to prove to be false . . . to deny the accuracy or truth of” something (American Heritage Dictionary). To write a refutation paragraph, you will need to learn why people stand on the opposite side of the issue from you. You need to learn their opposing viewpoints. Your goal will be to challenge the accuracy of a key viewpoint held by the opposition. This is called refutation.
Below are several examples of refutation. There are three key elements for the refutation paragraph. First, state what the opposition believes. Second, state why you disagree. Third, refute the belief—challenge the accuracy of it.
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