As you move through this unit, you will need to have in mind a topic about which you want to research and argue for the final essay. Please see the attached list for your options. If you wish to investigate a different topic, you must obtain instructor approval. Essays on unapproved topics will receive a zero.Here are a few steps that might help you select and focus your topic:Choose your topic from the ones provided for this unit (or seek instructor approval to use a different topic).Once you’ve found a topic, determine if it needs to be narrowed or if a particular focus might help the argument.For instance, if you were writing about obesity, you might need to find a slant that creates a more interesting argument than “obesity is a problem” (of course it’s a problem!). Narrowing helps a bit, but not enough: “to avoid obesity, Americans should exercise more” (of course Americans should exercise more!). But what if we narrow the topic further: “Schools in Texas need to ban unhealthy foods from the lunch menu and eliminate vending machines with unhealthy snacks and sodas.” This sentence establishes a more focused and nuanced argument than the earlier topic of obesity. To create a more interesting topic, you might then move to question who is responsible for obesity. Is it individuals, corporations, cultural norms, the government, or some other entity? What can we do to change the culture in the United States so that obesity is not so prevalent? The more focused and nuanced the topic, the better the paper usually is. Starting with the topics from the list provided in the lesson, try to find a focused topic for your essay.After narrowing your topic, you should make a list of everything you know about the topic and everything you want to know. This list will guide your research.
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English 1301 Research Topics
1. Should screen time for young children (Define “young.” Under 10? Under
12?) be limited?
2. Is a college degree worth the price tag?
3. Sports & Concussions
4. Animal Rights/Animal Testing
5. Technology – A Blessing or a Curse?
6. Should plastic shopping bags be banned in all fifty states?
7. Are prisons an effective way of preventing crime?
8. Are entertainers, including actors, musicians, and professional athletes,
overpaid for what they contribute?
9. Is global warming a serious threat?
10.What should be the role of the U.S. military in today’s world?
Essay Format
Introduction Paragraph with Thesis Statement (Remember, the thesis statement will
be the last line in this paragraph.)
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_________________________________________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
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(Thesis)___________________________________________________________________
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Body Paragraph # 1
Topic Sentence :
Option 1: One area that has benefited from technology is _____________________.
Option 2: One negative impact (disadvantage) of technology is
___________________________________________________________________________
Major Supporting Detail # 1: _________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase—“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Major Detail # 2: _________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase—“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
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Body Paragraph # 2
Topic Sentence :
Option #1: Technology has also improved ________________________________________.
Option #2: In addition to ______________, technology also
____________________________________________________________________________
Major Supporting Detail # 1: _________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase—“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Major Supporting Detail #2: _________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase–“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________________________________________
Body Paragraph # 3
Topic Sentence :
Option #1: A final area that technology has improved is ___________________________.
Option #2: Finally, technology has ____________________________________________
_________________________________________________________________________
Major Supporting Detail # 1: _________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase–“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
Major Supporting Detail # 2: _________________________________________________
__________________________________________________________________________
Evidence/Quote/Paraphrase–“Quotation Sandwich”
_____________________________________________________________________
_____________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________
___________________________________________________________________________
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Rebuttal Paragraph
Topic Sentence: _______________________________________________________
_______________________________________________________________________
Counterargument #1: _________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Refutation of Counterargument #1
________________________________________________________________________
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Counterargument #2:
_____________________________________________________________________
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Refutation of Counterargument #2:
___________________________________________________________________________
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Conclusion Paragraph (Might include a call to action
and/or a statement of the implications.)
Restatement of Thesis:
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Call to Action:
______________________________________________________________________________
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Statement of Implications:
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Smith 1
Jane Smith
Professor Davis
ENGL 1301.85102
15 May 2018
The Connection between Human Activity and Global Warming
Global warming is one of the most important issues that humans are facing today.
Temperatures are rising, and there is much concern surrounding the possible effects of global
warming. Rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns are only two of the many devastating
effects we see today. There has also been controversy surrounding the cause of global warming,
as some believe that it is a natural phenomenon. However, we cannot deny that humans
contribute to the warming of our planet because many human activities emit greenhouse gases,
which contribute to climate change.
The most commonly known anthropogenic cause of global warming is the burning of
fossil fuels. Fossil fuels provide energy for various needs, but they do so at a cost. When burned,
fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide into “the atmosphere and [trap] heat in a phenomenon known as
the Greenhouse Effect” (Gonzalez). Daily necessities, such as transportation and electricity, are
mostly powered by fossil fuels, which means that there is a large amount of carbon dioxide
emitted every day. The overabundance of carbon dioxide emissions is due to the entire world’s
population releasing “twice the amount of carbon dioxide than the world’s forests and oceans can
naturally absorb” (Gonzalez). Over time, this excessive amount “of greenhouse gases has raised
global temperatures to their warmest levels in 500 to 1,300 years” (Gonzalez). This timeframe
coincides with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, which was when people began to turn
to manufacturing on a larger scale in factories that required fossil fuels for energy. If the trend of
Smith 2
emitting greenhouse gases continues, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts
that temperatures may increase 1.8 to 4° C or 35.24 to 39.2° F (Gonzalez).
Another way humans contribute to global warming is through hydraulic fracturing.
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is the process of cultivating natural gas.
Natural gas is a fossil fuel, and it is an important energy source because one of its primary uses is
to provide electricity in our homes. However, fracking is risky because methane, a very potent
greenhouse gas, can escape from the wells. According to Emily Jeffers, “Methane’s global
warming potential is approximately 33 times that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year time frame
and 105 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame.” Combine this with the fact that
there are multiple natural gas wells in the world, and it is no surprise that fracking can have a
significant impact in accelerating global warming. Louis W. Allstadt, a retired executive vice
president of Mobil Oil, explains that the natural gas industry attempts to reassure people that
methane is unable to escape from the wells, “but there are already cases where the methane gas
has made it up into the aquifers and atmosphere.” This is a sign that there is a high chance of
methane leaks going undetected or unreported by the industry, demonstrating how oblivious
energy companies are to the damage they are causing. Natural gas wells are also able to cause
damage long after the fracking process is finished. Over time, any measures used to prevent
natural gas from escaping will eventually stop working, as “there is at least one study showing
that 100 percent of plugs installed in abandoned wells fail within 100 years and many of them
much sooner” (Allstadt).
Deforestation is another human activity that further hastens the effects of global
warming. In fact, “It is estimated that 25% of the world’s total greenhouse gas production comes
from deforestation alone” (Bennett). Deforestation is the practice of clearing all the trees in an
Smith 3
area so that the land can be used for other purposes, such as agriculture. Although deforestation
is known to be devastating for the environment, “Every year 46-58 thousand square miles of
forest are lost to deforestation” (Bennett). One of the popular methods used to clear land for
agriculture is called slash and burn agriculture, which is where trees are cut down and burned to
fertilize the soil. However, slash and burn agriculture greatly contributes to global warming
because “Vegetation acts as a sink—a natural storage area—for carbon dioxide by storing it over
time through the process of photosynthesis. As burning occurs, it can release hundreds of years’
worth of stored carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in a matter of hours” (Bennett). Removing
trees further reduces the possibility of offsetting the large amount of carbon dioxide emitted
every day by humans.
Despite there being a preponderance of evidence proving that global warming is
anthropogenic, there are some who challenge this belief. One of the arguments of those who do
not believe global warming is human-caused is that since 1998, the world has been cooling rather
than warming. This is not exactly the case as “a study by scientists at the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)…
showed that any perceived leveling off or pause in global warming between 1998 and 2014 was a
statistical illusion driven by faulty data” (“Climate Change Controversies”). Another argument is
that global warming is natural, but the reality is that a study by the International Panel on
Climate Change showed how “the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases carbon
dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have all increased since 1750 due to human activity”
(“Climate Change Controversies”). If global warming were a natural occurrence, then the levels
of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would most likely not be so overwhelmingly large.
Smith 4
Overall, the scientific community attributes global warming to human activity. Everyday
humans are releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in some form. To delay the
disastrous consequences of global warming, everyone must play a part in taking care of the
Earth. Even the smallest actions, such as carpooling and turning off the lights when not in use,
can create a huge difference if enough people are committed. Even so, the most important
change humans could make to have a positive impact is to switch to using renewable energy
sources over fossil fuels. While these changes in lifestyle may be difficult, it is much better to
endure them now than to watch the world crumble later.
Smith 5
Works Cited
Allstadt, Louis W. “Fracking Contributes to Global Warming.” Natural Gas, edited by Dedria
Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in
Context,
dcccd.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010930210/OVIC?
u=txshracd2500&xid=312282f3. Accessed 4 Apr. 2018.
Bennett, Lauren. “Deforestation and Climate Change.” Climate Institute, 18 Apr. 2017,
climate.org/deforestation-and-climate-change/. Accessed 4 Apr. 2018.
“Climate Change Controversies.” Environmental Encyclopedia, edited by Deirdre S. Blanchfield,
Gale, 2011. Opposing Viewpoints In Context,
link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/CV2644151550/OVIC?u=txshracd2500&sid=OVIC&xid=e
51f939e. Accessed 5 Apr. 2018.
Gonzalez, Patrick. “Climate Change Could Be Devastating and People Must Adapt to Survive.”
Adaptation and Climate Change, edited by Roman Espejo, Greenhaven Press, 2013. At
Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,
dcccd.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010847202/OVIC?
u=txshracd2500&xid=4936057c. Accessed 4 Apr. 2018.
Jeffers, Emily. “Offshore Gas Drilling Harms the Environment.” Natural Gas, edited by Dedria
Bryfonski, Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In
Context,
link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ3010930228/OVIC?u=txshracd2500&sid=OVIC&xid=3
66227ae. Accessed 4 Apr. 2018.
The Research Essay
Purpose and Learning Objectives
The purpose of this assignment is to practice persuasive writing and synthesis of sources. You
will increase your critical thinking skills by analyzing your and others’ assumptions, evaluating
multiple perspectives, and developing a clear position. Writing, research, and eloquent written
expression are vital for a successful future. You will implement all of these skills in this
assignment.
Assignment Description
For this essay, you should choose a topic from the list of opposing viewpoints provided in this
unit and write a 3 – 5 page essay that argues a clearly defined position about that topic. The
essay must follow MLA8 guidelines. The works cited page will be an additional page.
The Topic
Select your topic from the list provided in the eCampus lesson. If you wish to write on a
different topic, you must have your topic approved by me before you begin the project. Papers
on unapproved topics will receive a zero.
These complex topics are off limits: religion, war, abortion, immigration, the death
penalty, and gun control. I reserve the right to reject any other topics that I deem unsuitable for
this course and assignment.
Guidelines
The essay must adhere to the following guidelines:
1. Be formatted in correct MLA format— including header, Times New Roman 12,
and double-spaced; otherwise, 10 points will be deducted from your essay’s
final grade.
2. Have an interesting and informative title.
3. Begin with an introduction that demonstrates the relevance of your topic, shows
that it is a debatable topic, AND ends with a clear thesis statement (your position
on the issue).
4. Contain a clearly stated argument that uses reliable and well-reasoned evidence to
support claims.
5. Have several body paragraphs that each make a focused claim.
6. Incorporate a minimum of three or four academic sources (peer-reviewed
journals, books, and reliable web sources) to support your point.
7. Be sure you have at least ONE source that you disagree with in order to
include a counterargument in your essay.
8. Include refutation of at least one opposing argument in a separate paragraph.
(This means you will incorporate your one source that you disagree with in this
paragraph!)
9. End with a concluding paragraph that summarizes the argument’s main points
and addresses the opposing point of view
10. Include a works cited page that adheres to MLA 8 guidelines and includes in the
same documents as in the essay (i.e. the in-text citations and sources listed on the
works cited page must correspond!).
11. The rough draft must be reviewed by your instructor and the Writing
Center; otherwise, 10 points will be deducted from your final grade. This
rough draft is due January 2, at the latest.
12. The final draft will be submitted in eCampus. Failure to upload your final
draft will result in a zero.
13. NO LATE ESSAYS WILL BE ACCEPTED. NO EXCEPTIONS! If you do
not submit your essay on the day it is due, then you will receive a zero.
14. Plagiarism: Plagiarism is using someone else’s words or ideas without giving
credit and is a serious academic offense. It can range from -• Turning in a paper any part of which you did not write,
• Cutting and pasting a paper together from various sources without attributing
the sources correctly,
• Changing a few words but basically keeping most of the words and sentence
structure of the original,
• Using the ideas of another without giving credit to the person who originally
had the idea.
• Using the exact words of the source without using quotation marks even if you
give the name of the source.
All essays will be reviewed for plagiarism via SafeAssign. Any plagiarized
essay will receive a zero.

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