ENG 112 Argument-based Research Course Syllabus
English and Humanities Department
Sandhills Community College
______ Semester, 201__

INSTRUCTOR:____________
OFFICE: ____________
HOURS:____________
PHONE:910-695-3______
EMAIL:_______________@sandhills.edu



Catalog Course Description

ENG 112 Argument-based Research    3 Credit Hours/3 Lecture Hours

Prerequisite: To enroll in this course, you must have completed ENG 111 and one of the following:

  1. Passed ENG 095 with a grade of "C" or higher.
  2. Passed both ENG 090 and RED 090 with a grade of "C" or higher.
  3. Made the appropriate qualifying scores on both the reading and writing parts of the Accuplacer, ASSET, or COMPASS placement tests. You may also use the ACT or the SAT score.

Corequisite: None, although keyboarding skills are recommended.

This course, the second in a series of two, introduces research techniques, documentation styles, and argumentative strategies. Emphasis is placed on analyzing data and incorporating research findings into documented argumentative essays and research projects. Upon completion, students should be able to summarize, paraphrase, interpret, and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources using standard research format and style. Students should also be able to prepare and deliver an oral presentation of the results of their research. This course has been approved to satisfy the Comprehensive Articulation Agreement general education core requirement in English composition.

Course Goals

Using the composition skills that were acquired in English 111, students in this course will be expected to compose written and oral research reports that are argumentative or persuasive in form. The professor will determine the number of graded assignments. At the successful completion of the course, students will have demonstrated the following basic skills of academic research, argumentation, and oral communication:
  1. Critical Reading: Students will have done the following:
    • Identified the main idea or theme in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction writing.
    • Identified the argumentation components in a piece of writing: major premise, minor premise, and conclusion (syllogism) or warrants, evidence, and claims (Toulmin).
    • Identified the audience appeals of pathos, logos, and ethos (Aristotle) or empathy with opposing viewpoints and building trust (Rogers) in an argument.
    • Determined if the conclusion in an argument is relevant to the main idea and valid based upon the supporting ideas and evidence.
  2. Research Techniques: Students will have located appropriate information using an assortment of media, including books, magazines, journals, newspapers, and electronic sources. Students will have used primary and secondary research techniques during the course.
  3. Effective Expression: Students will have used standard punctuation, grammar, sentence structure, and diction. (See Parts IV-IX in The Little, Brown Handbook.)
  4. Documentation Styles: Students will have used the Modern Language Association's (MLA) method of documentation through the proper inclusion of in-text citations and bibliography.
  5. Argumentative Strategies: Students will have explained the differences between inductive and deductive reasoning and will have applied both forms in their written work. Students will have distinguished between fact, opinion, and belief and identified the most common fallacies (evasions and oversimplifications) in weak arguments.
  6. Oral Communication: Students will have presentd the findings of their research in individual and group presentations before a classroom audience. Note: Students will have demonstrated competence in oral communication in order to pass the course.

General Education

This course is designed to reinforce the following general education areas: reading, writing, oral communication, basic use of computers, problem solving, critical thinking, and cooperating with others.

Required Course Materials

  1. James, Missy, and Alan P. Merickel. Reading Literature and Writing Argument. Third Edition. New York: Prentice Hall, 2008. ISBN-13: 9780132248846. (This textbook may be optional in some sections of the course with additional literature assigned by the instructor.)
  2. Fowler, H. Ramsey, and Jane Aaron. The Little, Brown Handbook. 11th ed. New York: Addison, Wesley, Longman: 2010. ISBN: 0-205-65171-2 (should have been purchased as a required textbook for ENG 111).
  3. Portable flash drive to connect to USB port in classroom computers for saving documents.
  4. Note: Boyd Library on the SCC campus provides online databases and tutorials for searching for materials online in addition to books and periodicals on its shelves. To use the online databases and tutorials, connect to the "Online Databases" and "Resources and Services" links at this address:
  5. Guides to Writing with Microsoft Word® located at this address:
  6. MLA Format for Essays and Research Papers located at this address:

College Attendance Policy

Because the college realizes that academic success is tied to regular attendance, students are expected to attend all class sessions, laboratories, and clinical experiences. Faculty members are responsible for informing students in writing at the first class meeting of attendance expectations and identifying all classes, laboratories, and clinical experiences which must be attended at the scheduled times. Faculty members will inform students at the first class period if tardiness is to be computed as an absence. Absence from class must be explained satisfactorily to the instructor, and the student is held responsible for all work missed. Unsatisfactory attendance may adversely affect a student's grade for the course. Any student who violates the attendance policy of the course during the first eight weeks (or half-way through a summer session) of the semester may be required to drop the course. Any student who violates the attendance policy of the course during the last eight weeks of the semester may be required to withdraw from the course with a grade of "WP" or "FW," depending upon his or her grade in the course at the time of withdrawal.

Class sessions that are missed by late-enrolling students may be counted as absences.

Students will not be charged when an absence is due to participation in an activity approved by the dean of instruction or the dean of student services.

Instructor-Initiated Drop or Withdrawal. An instructor may drop or withdraw a student from a course under any of the following conditions:

  • student misses more than five consecutive class hours, or the student fails to meet the attendance policy of the course;
  • student is absent from the final exam without the instructor's permission;
  • student misconduct.

Grading Policies

Evaluation Criteria
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredits Sandhills Community College. This is the same agency that accredits all colleges and universities in the southern United States. To maintain that accreditation, Sandhills must meet this general education requirement: "The institution (4.2.2-07) must demonstrate that its graduates of degree programs are competent in reading, writing, oral communication, fundamental mathematical skills and the basic use of computers." To insure that all graduates of its degree programs are competent in reading, writing, oral communication, and the basic use of computers, all students who pass ENG 112 must present all written documents in an approved format written with Microsoft Word, must conduct research via the Internet and library, and must demonstrate oral and written communication competency according to the following college and Department of Languages standards:
  • Criteria for Evaluating an Essay on Literature.
  • Criteria for Evaluating a Research Paper.
  • Criteria for Evaluating an Individual Presentation.
  • Criteria for Evaluating a Group Presentation.

Grading Scale for Individual Assignments
  • A = 93-100
  • B = 85-92
  • C = 77-84
  • D = 70-76
  • F = Below 70

Determination of Final Course Grade
  • [Instructor will list the method of calculating the final course average and final letter grade.]

Sandhills Community College Policy Statements

SUMMARY FOR STUDENTS

This page is a summary for students of various policies and services listed in the College Catalog. Each link below will give you further information about college policies or services.

  • Support for Student Learning and Progress
    • Academic advising is available to all students in the Advising Center, which will assist in developing an educational plan consistent with life goals and objectives.
    • Academic tutoring is available to all students on an individual or small group basis.
    • Students are encouraged to apply early in the semester for free tutoring service. Boyd Library has a wealth of print and online resources.
    • The Learning Resource Center in Boyd Library provides computer access as well as staff assistance with online research.
    • Counselors are available to assist students in coping with any concerns or difficulties they may experience while attending college.
    • Career counseling and job placement services are also readily available.
  • Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
    The college strives to provide an equal educational opportunity to all. In compliance with college policy and equal access laws, professors are available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that may be required for a student with disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must contact the college disabilities coordinator in the Advising Center.
  • Classroom Conduct
    Faculty and students have the right to a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to study, thought, and full concentration on study topics. Behavior that threatens such an atmosphere, disrupts learning and teaching activities, or creates an atmosphere of fear and intimidation will not be tolerated. For additional information, please read the section on "Student Conduct" in the College Catalog.
  • Academic Honesty
    The college believes that the pursuit of knowledge requires honesty. Students are expected to act appropriately and deal honestly in all aspects of their interactions with the college and their academic work. The college will not tolerate dishonest acts such as copying the work of another; using unauthorized help, books, or notes on examinations or projects; or intentionally representing the work of another as one's own without proper reference (plagiarism). The consequences of academic dishonesty may vary according to circumstances. Actions that could be taken include, but are not limited to, the following: a failing grade for the work involved, failure in the course, or removal from the course. For additional information, please read the subsection on "Academic Honesty," which is located in the College Catalog.
  • Computer Use
    The college expects and requires ethical and responsible behavior of individuals using information resources, which include computers and the college network and Internet capabilities. Individuals using these resources must abide by the college's Acceptable Use Policy, which requires respecting intellectual property rights, protecting private information, refraining from accessing inappropriate or offensive information, and ensuring open access to available resources.
  • Student Grievance Procedure
    The college assures Sandhills students that their grievances will be considered fairly, rapidly, and in a non-threatening atmosphere. Any student who feels unfairly treated may follow the "Student Grievance Procedure, which is described in detail in the College Catalog.
  • Annual Security Report
    To comply with federal laws the college provides information about serious crimes that have occurred on campus during the last three years. Copies of the Campus Crime Statistics Report and Annual Security Report may be obtained by contacting the main campus switchboard (910-692-6185) or the director of the Hoke Center (910-875-8589). The information can also be found on the college's Security Services website.

Schedule of Assignments

Note: Each instructor is responsible for providing students with a weekly schedule of assignments that would include at least one analysis of the main ideas and arguments of a series of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction reading assignments, a group oral report on selected readings from the textbook and other sources, one research paper that incorporates a variety of sources, and one individual oral report on the findings of the research paper. The following is a series of suggested assignments. Instructors may wish to assign a film in one or more of the assignments below. Instructors will supply the dates for the assignments below.

Outline of Course Content

  1. Module One: Argument Structure and Audience Appeal

    Module Introduction and Learning Outcomes
    One of the purposes of this course, Argument-based Research, is to learn how to make an effective argument. To do so means that you should be able to understand opposing positions and to articulate your own position. Thus the purpose of this objective is to learn the basic elements of argument structure and audience appeal. Upon successful completion of this module, you will have done the following:

    1. Defined and described the elements of argument to help you understand the positions of others and of yourself:
      • The three appeals or rhetorical triangle of Aristotle: logos, pathos, and ethos (corresponding to three human characteristics of reason, emotion, and perception of characters.
      • Aristotle's three-part syllogism: major premise, minor premise, and conclusion.
      • Toulmin's argument structure: claims, evidence, and warrants.
    2. Identified, analyzed, and evaluated claims, evidence, and warrants in fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction.
    3. Identified, analyzed, and evaluated the appeals of pathos, logos, and ethos in fiction, poetry, drama, and non-fiction.
    4. Identified and used the Rogerian strategy of argumentation and audience empathy.

    Reading Assignments
    1. Read Chapter One, "Reading to Explore, Analyze, and Evaluate," in Reading Literature and Writing Argument, pages 1-27.
    2. Read Chapter 8, "Forming a Critical Perspective, " in The Little, Brown Handbook, pages 150-177.
    3. Read Chapter 9, "Reading Arguments Critically" in The Little, Brown Handbook, pages 179-197).

    Writing and Discussion Assignments
    1. Read the seven "Chapter Activities" on pages 21-27 in RLWA and answer each in paragraph form.
    2. Be prepared to discuss in class all of the literature selections in your first chapter reading assignment.
    3. Be prepared to discuss in class the reasons for your answers to the "Chapter Activities."

  2. Module Two: Writing to Examine Thinking and Shape an Argument

    Module Introduction and Learning Outcomes
    One of the purposes of this course, Argument-based Research, is to learn how to make an effective argument. To do so means that you should be able to explain your own process about forming opinions and arguing those opinions to others. Upon successful completion of this module, you will have done the following:

    1. Defined fact and opinion and described the differences between the two.
    2. Defined inference and implication and described the differences between the two.
    3. Explained the extent to which your own opinion and the opinion of others is based upon
      • Assumptions that inform one's reasoning process.
      • Inferences that one makes with or without evidence.
      • Hasty generalizations, stereotypes, and other logical fallacies.
    4. Defined the logical processes of deduction and induction and identified those processes in the arguments of others and used them in your own arguments.

    Reading Assignments
    1. Read Chapter Two, "Examining Thinking and Shaping an Argument" in Reading Literature and Writing Argument (RLWA).
    2. Chapter 10, "Writing an Argument," on pages 199-218 in the 10th edition of The Little, Brown Handbook (LBH).

    Small Group Discussion Assignment
    You will be assigned to a group to prepare a small group presentation to the class on one of the following topics:
    1. Analyze letters to the editor in Time, Newsweek or a local, state, or national newspaper on one issue of local, regional, or national importance.
      • Each group will analyze the argument presented in a "letter to the editor" on the same subject.
      • Each group will read the letter to the class and offer its analysis.
    2. Analyze a newspaper or magazine editorial.
      • Each group will receive a short argument (e.g., newspaper editorial or magazine opinion piece, such as Newsweek's "My Turn" essays).
      • Each group will analyze and evaluate different aspects of the argument (appeals, claim, warrants, evidence) before coming back together as a large group for a classroom discussion of the argument's overall effectiveness.
    3. Develop a group argument.
      • Each group will receive a topic/issue question from a group of five or six topics/issue questions.
      • Each group will develop the frame for an argument on the topic by outlining the claim, warrant, evidence, designating an audience, and planning an appeals strategy.
    4. Look at an issue from different perspectives.
      • Each group will practice looking at an issue from different perspectives by asking students to argue the opposing position in popular arguments ("Know thy opponent"—excellent preparation for writing any argument, of course, but, in particular, for writing a Rogerian argument).
      • For example, one group may argue that students should be required to take more hours of core curriculum, general education courses (math, science, English, etc.) than currently are required at Sandhills.
      • Another group may argue that the price of gasoline should be raised to $5.00 per gallon through taxation (e.g., to force conservation, wean ourselves from foreign oil supplies, create revenue for education, drug treatment, etc.).

    Writing Assignment
    1. Based upon one of your group discussion or oral report assignments, prepare your own argumentative essay based upon the findings of your group. Your essay should follow one of these three argument strategies: (1) syllogism, (2) Toulmin, or (3) Rogerian.
    2. Use either of these plans for writing your essay:
      1. "Argument Outline" (provided by your instructor)
      2. "Rogerian Argument Outline" (provided by your instructor)
    3. Before submitting your essay to your instructor, exchange essays with a partner from your discussion group and complete the appropriate critique form. Give your completed form to your partner to use for revision and then submit your essay and your partner's critique to your instructor.
      1. "Essay Scoring Rubric — For Peer Reviews and Self Evaluations," pages 96-97 in RLWA.
      2. "Essay Scoring Rubric for Rogerian Argument — For Peer Reviews and Self Evaluations," pages 97-98 in RLWA.

  3. Module Three: Writing to Argue One's Own Position in a Group

    Module Introduction and Learning Outcomes
    One of the purposes of this course, Argument-based Research, is to learn how to make an effective argument. To do so means that you should be able to formulate a research question or, having been given a research question or topic, read and evaluate source material relevant to the that research question to form and argue your own point of view in writing and in speech. Upon successful completion of this module, you will have done the following:

    1. Found materials that provide answers to or support for a research question or topic.
    2. Analyzed the validity and relevance of those sources.
    3. Worked individually or within a group to formulate an argument in support of your answer to the research question.
    4. Presented a group presentation on the findings of research.
    5. Written an argumentative essay in support of your position, using MLA documentation.

    Reading and Small Group Assignment One
    1. Read the introduction to Chapter Three, "Individuality and Community," on pages 99-102 in RLWA.
    2. In the same group to which you were assigned for the previous small group assignment or in another small group to which you are assigned by your instructor, answer the questions on page 102 in RLWA.

    Reading and Discussion Group Assignment Two
    1. Give your instructor your first three choices for one of the "Chapter Activities" topics on page 256-257 in RLWA or on one of the "Individuality and Community Themes" listed below.
    2. You will then be assigned to a group to develop a small group oral presentation on either the "Chapter Activities" topic or one of the following "Individuality and Community Themes":
      • The individual as cultural outsider: Chopin, "Desiree's Baby"; Erdrich, "The Red Convertible"; Okita, "In Response to Executive Order 9066"; Rodriguez, "The Chinese in All of Us"
      • The individual on society's fringe: Jones, "The Store"; Alexie, "The Reservation Cab Driver"; Soto, "Mexicans Begin Jogging"; Grahn, "Ella, in a square apron along Highway 80"; Terkel, "Frank Chin"
      • The individual as rebel: Quinonez, from Bodega Dreams; Kenan, "The Foundations of the Earth"; Knight, "Hardrock Returns to Prison… from the Hospital for the Criminally Insane"; Rukeyser, "The Lost Romans"; Thoreau, "Civil Disobedience"
      • The individual as social misfit or invisible hero: Meloy, "Ranch Girl"; Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"; Villanueva, "Crazy Courage"
      • The individual confronting oppression: McKay, "Outcast"; Song, "Lost Sister"; Alexie, "Superman and Me"; Franklin, "The Train from Hate"; King, "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

    Writing Assignment
    1. Based upon one of your group discussion or oral report assignments, prepare your own argumentative essay based upon the findings of your group. Your essay should follow one of these three argument strategies: (1) syllogism, (2) Toulmin, or (3) Rogerian.
    2. Use either of these plans for writing your essay:
      1. "Argument Outline" (provided by your instructor)
      2. "Rogerian Argument Outline" (provided by your instructor)
    3. Before submitting your essay to your instructor, exchange essays with a partner from your discussion group and complete the appropriate critique form. Give your completed form to your partner to use for revision and then submit your essay and your partner's critique to your instructor.
      1. "Research-based Argument Paper: Peer Critique Form" (provided by your instructor)
      2. "Rogerian Argument Peer Critique Form" (provided by your instructor)

  4. Module Four: Research, Write, and Argue One's Own Position before a Group

    Module Objectives
    One of the purposes of this course, Argument-based Research, is to learn how to make an effective argument. To do so means that you should be able to formulate a research question or, having been given a research question or topic, read and evaluate source material relevant to the that research question to form and argue your own point of view in writing and in speech. Upon successful completion of this module, you will have done the following:

    1. Found materials that provide answers to or support for a research question or topic.
    2. Analyzed the validity and relevance of those sources.
    3. Worked individually to formulate an argument in support of your answer to the research question.
    4. Written an argumentative essay in support of your position, using MLA documentation.
    5. Made a presentation before the classroom audience on the findings of your research.

    Reading Assignment and Research Assignment Choice
    1. Read the introduction to Chapter 5, "Nature and Place," pages 259-262; the "Prewriting and Discussion" topics on page 262; and the "Chapter Activities and Topics for Writing Arguments" and "Collaboration Activity: Creating a Rogerian Argument" on pages 397-400 in RLWA.
    2. Read the introduction to Chapter 6, "Family and Identity," on pages 401-403; the "Prewriting and Discussion" topics on page 404; and the "Chapter Activities and Topics for Writing Arguments" and "Collaboration Activity: Creating a Rogerian Argument" on pages 514-517 in RLWA.
    3. Read the introduction to Chapter 7, "Power and Responsibility," on pages 519-522; the "Prewriting and Discussion" topics on page 522; and the "Chapter Activities and Topics for Writing Arguments" and "Collaboration Activity: Creating a Rogerian Argument" on pages 707-710 in RLWA.

    Writing Assignment
    1. After completing the reading assignments above, select one of the topics, questions, or activities as a research issue or question and write either a research-based argument paper or a research-based Rogerian argument paper based upon the topic, question, or activity that you choose.
    2. Follow the guidelines in Chapter 3, "Participating in an Academic Community" in RLWA and Part X, "Research Writing" in LBH to help you complete your research paper.
    3. Your research paper will be evaluated according to the Criteria for Evaluating a Research Paper.

    Oral Presentation
    1. After completing your research paper, present the findings of your research in an oral presentation before your classroom audience.
    2. Follow the guidelines for your oral presentation in Chapter 8, "Oral Presentations" in LBH.
    3. Your oral presentation will be evaluated according to the Department of Languages' Criteria for Evaluating an Individual Presentation. That evaluation form also provides helpful advice on preparing and delivering your report. Note: Upon successful completion of the course, students will have demonstrated competence in oral communication.


    Last Updated Monday, January 4, 2010