Narrowing Topics

Your ultimate goal for this class is to write a researched argument paper (also known as an argumentative paper). Each weekly assignment and discussion forum is designed to help you achieve this goal. Your rough draft will be due in week 6, and the final draft will be due in week 8.

What is an argumentative paper? This week, your readings included an excerpt from the Purdue University Online Writing Lab (OWL). Here is their explanation of an argumentative paper:

“An argumentative paper makes a claim about a topic and justifies this claim with specific evidence. The claim could be an opinion, a policy proposal, an evaluation, a cause-and-effect statement, or an interpretation. The goal of the argumentative paper is to convince the audience that the claim is true based on the evidence provided.” (Tardiff & Brizzee, 2014)

Reference Citation

Tardiff, E. & Brizzee, A. (2014). Tips and examples for writing thesis statements. Retrieved from

Through this assignment, you will sharpen your skills for writing your researched argument paper:

1.Practice narrowing a topic so that sources can be found and a clear thesis can be developed

2.Practice writing a thesis statement

Part A: Narrowing Topics

To write a short researched argument, a topic must be controversial and the main point of view (argument) must be clear. Listed below are three broad and controversial topics. Under each topic are four narrowing questions. Each of those questions moves the topic toward a more narrow focus.

Example 1: Violence in schools

1.What causes violence in high schools?

2.Is there a developing trend in frequency or type of school violence?

3.How should violent school children be punished?

4.What can be done to prevent school violence?

Example 2: Drug use

1.Which drugs should be illegal?

2.What kinds of drugs are the most dangerous?

3.Is there a correlation between childhood exposure to drugs and use of drugs in adulthood?

4.What kind of penalties should there be for the various kinds of illegal drug offenses?

Example 3: Immigration

1.What are the effects of illegal immigration?

2.What are the effects of legal immigration?

3.How should immigration laws be enforced?

4.What’s the driving force behind illegal immigration?

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