Week 29–Persuasive Research Essay

Persuasive Research Report

You have already written a Persuasive Essay for this class, at the beginning of the year. They were wonderful. But this time I want to do it again, make it bigger, and really perfect the art.

In To Kill A Mockingbird we see Atticus fighting for a righteous cause. He knew it probably wouldn’t even make a difference, but he had to do something to try. I want you to do the same thing. You are Americans. You should take your place in society and fight for what you believe in. Atticus teaches us that this is real courage.

You need to write a 5-6 page formal persuasive research essay, on a controversial social issue. The Works Cited page is mandatory, but it does not count as a “page” of your essay.

Possible topics: 

  • Cyber Bullying
  • Prayer In School
  • Homeschooling Rights and Responsibilities
  • Female Body Image and the Influence of the Media
  • Should Planned Parenthood Give Medical Care to Minors Without Parental Permission?
  • Teens and Online Safety (Internet Predators)
  • Should the Government Mandate Psychological Evaluations of All Teens?
  • Gang Violence
  • The Possible Dangers of Social Media, To Teens
  • Immigration
  • Human Trafficking
  • Doctor Assisted Suicide
  • Gun Control and School Violence
  • Teen Homelessness
  • How Music Affects Teen Promiscuity
  • How Music Affects Teen Crime
  • Racial Profiling in Airports (TSA Screening)
  • Racial Profiling and the Police
  • Free Saeed
  • Christian Persecution in Other Countries
  • Christian Freedoms in the United States
  • Should Minimum Wage be Raised or Lowered
  • Benghazi (if anyone is up on that madness)
  • Protecting the Environment
  • GMO and Health
  • Should Iran Develop Nuclear Capabilities
  • Should the U.S. Support Israel
  • One of your ideas, but ask me first. Some topics may not be “big” enough for a 5-6 page essay.


1. Your topic must take a Biblical point of view. For example, you may not write in support of abortion or human trafficking. So pick a topic that also supports Biblical views.

2. You must do good research. Your sources must include at least 2 print sources (books or magazines), and 3 online sources. At least 5 sources total, listed alphabetically on your works cited page.

3. You must use MLA format.

4. Along with your essay, you must turn in a properly formatted business letter which you will mail (through the post office) to 2 elected officials of your choice (State Senators, Representatives, etc.). They will write back.

5. You must also give a 5 minute oral presentation of your research. I will give you the requirements for this presentation as the date gets closer.

6. You must THINK. I want you to dig deep and really present solid persuasive techniques. CARE.


Each part of this project will be graded.

  • Source Cards–50 points (do them right)
  • Note Cards–50 points (do them right)
  • Outline– 50 points
  • Rough Draft #1– 30 points
  • Rough Draft #2– 50 points
  • Works Cited– 75 points
  • Final Draft–100 points
  • Oral Presentation– 100 points
  • Business Letter– 100 points
  • Total Points Available– 605 Points 

So do a good job!

Important Due Dates:

April 17–Your topic, an Outline, two Source Cards, and five Note Cards are due (they must be done properly)

April 24– 1st rough draft, five Source Cards and ten Note Cards (they must be done properly)

May 1– 2nd Rough Draft (typed MLA), Works Cited page due, (all sources completed)

May 8– Final draft, Business Letter, and Oral Presentation due.

Evaluating Sources

As you conduct your research, I want you to be mindful of evaluating whether or not your source is credible. Especially online sources. Anyone can publish information online, and not all of it is true. Here are some guidelines from the Purdue OWL:

Evaluating Sources

By Dana Lynn Driscoll, Allen Brizee

The world is full of information to be found—however, not all of it is valid, useful, or accurate. Evaluating sources of information that you are considering using in your writing is an important step in any research activity.

The quantity of information available is so staggering that we cannot know everything about a subject. For example, it’s estimated that anyone attempting to research what’s known about depression would have to read over 100,000 studies on the subject. And there’s the problem of trying to decide which studies have produced reliable results.

Similarly, for information on other topics, not only is there a huge quantity available but with a very uneven level of quality. You don’t want to rely on the news in the headlines of sensational tabloids near supermarket checkout counters, and it’s just as hard to know how much to accept of what’s in all the books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, journals, brochures, Web sites, and various media reports that are available. People want to convince you to buy their products, agree with their opinions, rely on their data, vote for their candidate, consider their perspective, or accept them as experts. In short, you have to sift and make decisions all the time, and you want to make responsible choices that you won’t regret.

Evaluating sources is an important skill. It’s been called an art as well as work—much of which is detective work. You have to decide where to look, what clues to search for, and what to accept. You may be overwhelmed with too much information or too little. The temptation is to accept whatever you find. But don’t be tempted. Learning how to evaluate effectively is a skill you need both for your course papers and for your life.

When writing research papers, you will also be evaluating sources as you search for information. You will need to make decisions about what to search for, where to look, and once you’ve found material on your topic, if it is a valid or useful source for your writing.

Source Cards

Now, I am going to give you some instruction on how to make source cards. The reason why I am asking you to make source cards is to not only help you organize your research, but to also help you get ready for your Works Cited page. Your source card should be formatted the same way. It just makes it easier. Here are two videos that will help you know how to make them. They are easy. You will need to have at least two by April 17, and five by April 24. So if you can’t get to the library before the 17th just use two internet sources. You will only have two weeks to collect all your research.

How to Make Source Cards for a Book:

How to Make Source Cards For an Internet Source:

For rules on how to make a proper source card for a print source– Purdue OWL: Works Cited Page, Book, Newspaper

Lastname, Firstname. Title of Book. City of Publication: Publisher, Year of Publication. Medium of Publication.

For rules on how to make a proper source card for an internet source– Purdue OWL: Works Cited Page, Electronic Sources

If you still need help with how to write your source information in perfect MLA format, please go to the website KnightCite. There you can enter all the information for your source and they will generate your citation in perfect MLA format.


Take a Deep Breath 🙂

Note Cards

Now that you know how to make source cards, I want to show you how to make note cards. You will use these cards to organize the actual information you are finding in your research. There are 3 different types of information you can put on a note card— a word for word quote (in quotation marks), a paraphrase of information (written in your own words), and a summary of information (just basic facts). All three types of information need to be cited in your essay with the parenthesis and a page number, showing me where you got your information. But only the direct word for word quotation will have quotation marks. Here is some information from Dartmouth High School of all three types of note cards:

Organizing Research Notes

Organizing research notes is crucial to writing a good paper and avoiding plagiarism. Keep all your research notes, articles, rough drafts, assignment sheets, and so forth in one place such as a binder or folder. We always have extra manila folders in the library. Try not to mix your research with other class materials. If you are using an electronic note-card program likeGoogle Notebook, Evernote, or Zoho or a word processing program, then be sure that you are saving every few minutes and saving to multiple locations i.e. pen drive, hard drive, email, etc. If you prefer a paper note-taking method, check outKeys to Literacy’s note-taking template. You can add source information to each page so that you keep track of the classroom lectures, books, web sites, and so forth that you are using for your assignment.

Note taking for a research paper requires three components:

1. Bibliographic information of book/article/website should be on a separate source card. See Start Citing section of this
guide for proper citing format. The notecards from that source should include a title for the note card in the top left corner of the page/card that corresponds with that source.

2. The student’s initials should be in the upper right-hand corner followed by card number. The lower left should have an “S” for summary, a “DQ” for direct quote, and a “P” for paraphrase.  In the lower right-hand corner of the note card, the student should identify the source [corresponding with source card] and page number or paragraph number. (See models below). To identify sources, the student can use letters [A, B, C, D …] or color code sources by using a different color paper/card for each source.

3. Good notes differentiate between paraphrases, direct quotes, and summaries. Check out Indiana University’s site for tips on how to avoid plagiarism. The majority of your notes will be paraphrases. You will only keep a direct quote if the quote is so elegant, powerful and perfect that paraphrasing would contaminate its eloquence. All quotes should be transcribed exactly as written and preceded and followed by quotation marks.

Direct Quotation:



I really like how they are using the same information to show you the three types of note cards. It especially helps you see the difference between paraphrasing and quoting, as well as the difference between paraphrasing and summarizing.

Here is a video that will help you make note cards:

This teacher does a really great job, showing you WHY we use note cards for research writing and HOW to “play cards” with them as you organize the topics of your paragraphs. If you don’t understand, please watch it again and then let me know!!! This is really important. Maybe if we call them “Brandi Cards” you will see how important this is to me!!! LOL Just kidding. But if you decide to go to college and you are asked to write a 15 page research paper, you will have at least 50 note-cards and you will see that there is no way to juggle that much information without an organized system of managing your research. Note cards will be your best friend.

Take Another Deep Breath 🙂


Once you have started to make note cards, you may begin to start thinking about how to organize your paper. What do you want your paragraphs to be about? This is where outlining comes in. Your outline should make sense. Like in the video above, the teacher would want to have an introduction to the topic, then in the next paragraph discuss the history of hip-hop, then maybe the influence, then the crossover, etc. So after your introduction, what do you want to start with, then what is next. Organize the structure of your essay with your outline.

Pick an order for your paragraphs that makes sense to you, remember you are trying to persuade the reader not just present information.

~Random Sea Otter~

Use the graphic organizer below to help you organize your Outline.

Use this graphic below to make sure you are PERSUADING, not just informing!

I will post more information on your Works Cited Page, Business Letter and Oral Presentation in the next coming weeks. But for these next two weeks, I want you to eat, sleep, and breathe NOTE CARDS!!!


50 thoughts on “Week 29–Persuasive Research Essay

  1. I found a funny video to watch in case you are overwhelmed 😉 I love anyone who takes the time to watch it!

  2. I am so excited for your essays you guys. Now get busy with your research 🙂

    Research is so much fun. It is like Alice in Wonderland, when she jumps into the Rabbit Hole. You never know what you are going to find!!! Have fun little ones.

  3. One of my friends posted this video on Facebook today. I wanted to share it with you. This young man is fighting to bring awareness to the injustice in his community. It may not change anything, but at least he is speaking out.

        1. What’s Dino Squad?
          That is supposed to be a dinosaur.
          If that didn’t work, I dont know what will.

        2. For some reason I couldn’t reply at all yesterday but go on Youtube and type in Yee and click the video made by revergo. It should just be a short video.

  4. Brandi, I have a serious medical issue. I have discussed it with my parents and I hate to inform you that I have Notecardinorachius. All I can eat are note-cards, and when I breathe, tiny pieces of paper come out. I try to sleep on my bed, but when I do, I wake up on a mound of note-cards. I don’t think I will be able to make it to Friday school if this keeps up!

      1. The doctor said I’ve already got it, and it would probably turn into RDS (Rough Draft Syndrome) by next week. It causes you to have OCD over writing your rough drafts.

  5. When making note cards the guy in the video does it differently than when reading how to do them. Like, he doesn’t put initials or anything. Which one should I do?

    1. Do the one that Brandi suggested. Ignore the other guy, he’s just showing you how to ORGANIZE them for your rough draft. ❤ I hope you feel better, bestie ! Get well soon 😀

    1. Hey there Macey! ~ DON’T italicize it. If it’s a direct quote that is shorter than 5 lines, just use quotations and cite it right after. If it’s longer than 5 lines, make it a block quote.
      Here’s how to quote:
      Mr. Frederickson looked around. “There’s too much sugar in that doughnut,” he said. “It needed more lemon zest to give it a nice kick.”
      Refer to the “MLA Format” page if you’ve got anymore questions and watch that video.

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