Research paper english 101 | English homework help


Research Paper—A Clear Line of Reasoning

Here is a model outline for a research paper on Latinos and low graduation rates put together by a student named Susana.  While Susana was required to submit an essay outline before submitting her essay, I decided not to require an essay outline from you for your research assignment  

As you review Susana, keep in mind that no matter your controversial topic, your line of reasoning as you begin to write your essay should be as clear as the one evident in the model outline she has created.  When Susana writes her research essay, she will follow her outline to make sure her line of reasoning is clear and adheres to the required pattern of argumentation we appropriated from Aristotle and which was used by Cicero–this outline was given earlier in the semester.

Susana Zumbado

Professor Munoz

English 101

10 November 2016

Research Paper Outline

Main Claim:

In this essay I will argue that charter schools can solve the problem of the low high school graduation rates of Latino males.

 I. Introduction

  1. Opening general statement regarding Latinos in education.
  2. Focused thesis statement regarding charter schools as an answer to low high school graduation rates among Latino males..

 II. Historical or Intellectual Background

  1. Brief history of Latinos in  American history.
  2. Brief  history of Latinos in education and past failed attempts to improve Latino student graduation rates.

III. Support for Main Claim

  1. First of all, charter schools have the freedom to implement innovative teaching strategies that take into consideration Latino male learning styles.
  2. Secondly, charter schools have the flexibility to create small learning communities such as career academies for professions Latino males are interested in..
  3. Finally, charter schools have the freedom to implement character formation programs that cultivate personal values necesary for academic success..

IV. Counterargument and Refutation

  1. Critics of my view would argue that irresponsible parents and a home environment hostile to education are the problem and that public schools work just fine.
  2. However, this view is wrong because it is rooted in cultural and racial stereotyping.

 V. Conclusion

  1. Repeat main claim
  2. Closing statement regarding the need for justice and equality in education.

Checklist for Research Paper 

I. Have you adhered to MLA format?

Make sure that your essay is formated according to the Modern Language Association’s guidelines. The information at the top needs to be complete, and the spacing, centering and margins have to be correct. Refer to Hacker’s A Pocket Style Manual for MLA guidelines.

II. Have you offered a general introduction and a clear claim?

Make sure that your opening paragraph starts with a general introduction and ends with a clear claim that needs to be supported by reasons and evidence in the rest of your essay. It should be not be ambiguous or vague or awkward–it should be crystal clear and it should be the last sentence in your first paragraph so that I can easily find it.

xxxxxAt one point in American history, single mothers were an aberration and held in low regard because society placed a great value on two parent families. Also, two parent households were the norm in American society because most people valued the central role the man played as the head of the household. Today, however, single mothers seem accepted as inevitable given the high divorce rate in America. Despite the divorce rate, some families do manage to re-create two parent families. Some children are fortunate to have a stepfather who helps the mother nurture and provide for them but not every child of divorce is so fortunate. Today either through divorce or by a refusal to marry, a large percentage of single mothers are the sole caregivers and providers. I will argue that for several compelling reasons single mothers are a danger to society.

III. Have you offered clear supporting reasons?

On this point, I want you to signal to the reader that you are offering a reason by using transitional expressions. These include:

Sample Transitions
First of all,
In the first place,
In addition,


First of all, the children of single mothers have the highest rate of psychological problems.

Next, single mothers pose a financial burden to federal, state and local governments in terms of social services.

IV. Whenever possible, have you used transitions to signal your evidence?

Sample Transitions
For example,
For instance,
To illustrate,
In fact,

Example of a Reason backed by Evidence 

xxxxxFirst of all, I believe single mothers are a menace to society because their children have the highest rate of psychological problems. Generally, single mothers cannot supervise their children all the time and they usually do not have the adequate social support that they can rely on; consequently, these children are usually vulnerable to negative social peer pressure. Data confirms the negative psychological and sociological consequences for children raised in single homes. For example, “approximately 30% of U.S. families are now being headed by a single parent, and in 80% of those families, the mother is the sole parent. Seventy-five of adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single parent families. One out of five children have a learning, emotional, or behavioral problem due to the family system changing” (Rainbow International Headquarters). 

For amplification on the importance of transitions, review A Pocket Style Manual.

V. Have you adhered to MLA style guidelines for your in text citations?

Do not “shove” a quotation into your writing. You should at the very least offer a signal phrase to help the reader notice that you are about to offer a citation from an outside source. Punctuate these correctly and cite the page number when possible.

Sample Signal phrases
According to Gregory Mantsios, “
Jean Anyon points out, “
Aaron H. Devor explains, “

1st Example

Rick Santorum points out, “Crime relates to family structure…broken homes can increase delinquency in a community by ten to fifteen percent, and the proportion of single parent households in a community predicts the rate of violent crime and burglary much better than a community’s level of poverty” (88).

2nd Example

According to one social scientist, “Crime relates to family structure…broken homes can increase delinquency in a community by ten to fifteen percent, and the proportion of single parent households in a community predicts the rate of violent crime and burglary much better than a community’s level of poverty” (Santorum 88).

When Do I Use the Source’s Last Name in Parentheses ( ) ?

Notice, if you use the name in the signal phrase, you do not need to repeat it in the parentheses. Only put the name in the parentheses if you do not use the name in the signal phrase.

VI. Did You Make Sure to Cite a Source from Rereading America?

Recall that the chapters from Rereading America provided the contexts or themes for the topics for the research. The issue of single mothers used in this module’s examples are related to the topic of the family which was the focus of Chapter 1.

VII. Have you offered a counterargument and refutation?

Your essay is following the classical arrangement for an argument. This means your reasons and evidence will come first followed by a counterargument and a refutation. If you wish, you may offer two counterarguments and refutations if you need to do so to meet the 7 minimum page limit.  I will know you are about to offer a counterargument, your statement from the opposition, when I see one of the following expressions:

Counterargument Signal Phrases
Critics of my position would argue that
Critics of this point of view would point out
Some would disagree and claim that
There are those that would challenge this essay’s conclusion


Critics of this point of view argue that the children of single mothers have gone on to become celebrated leaders and scientists. For example, Barack Obama, the 45th President of the United States, was raised for a while by a single mother in Hawaii. His Kenyan father left for Harvard when he was only two years old…

Refutation Signal Phrases

However, the opposition’s point is not convincing nor does it diminish this essay’s central claim because the success stories are exceptions rather than the rule….

VIII. Have you followed the guidelines for the works cited page? Are the entries done correctly?

This UC:CSU level course requires you to demonstrate the ability to abide by the rules and conventions of scholarship. Here is the way the selection from Rereading America, an anthology, should be cited on the Works Cited list. See Hacker’s manual for rules and conventions with regard to the Works Cited sheet.

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