Synthesizing Research and Argument

Students synthesize their research and articulate their conclusions in a written argument. As part of the writing process, students engage in a writing cycle in which they continually revise and edit their own work and provide peer review. Students explore practices related to the writing process, including:

  • Creating outlines
  • Organizing claims, counterclaims, and evidence in a logical manner
  • Drafting effective introductions, body paragraphs, and conclusions
  • Creating cohesion within and between paragraphs
  • Observing English grammar and usage conventions
  • Observing correct English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling
  • Adhering to Modern Language Association (MLA) citation conventions
  • Writing in a formal, objective tone
  • Adhering to conventions of argument writing

No new texts are introduced. Instead, students focus on analyzing the sources they collected for their research in the previous unit (Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel), delving more deeply into these sources throughout the writing process.
The formal assessment is the final draft of the research-based argument paper. Throughout the lessons, students have the opportunity to outline, draft, revise, and edit their papers. In the final lesson, students submit their final papers for assessment using the Rubric and Checklist, which students use throughout to guide the writing process.


Learning Outcomes/Goals
1 Students are introduced to the process of drafting a research-based argument paper. Students draft, revise, peer review, and edit this paper over the course of this unit. Students learn how to develop their research-based argument paper from the evidence-based perspective they completed in the previous unit. Students determine a central claim from their research frame and evidence-based perspective and begin to construct an outline for the research-based argument paper. To complete the outline, students develop an individualized process for organizing their supporting claims and evidence for each claim while providing reasoning to support each claim.
2 Students continue to plan for their research-based argument papers by completing the outline they began in Lesson 1. Using their outlines, students develop a counterclaim in opposition to the central claim developed in Lesson 1. Students then address the strengths and limitations of the counterclaim.
3 Students learn how to integrate citation information into their research-based argument papers effectively to maintain the flow of ideas, avoid plagiarism, and follow a standard format for citation. Students learn Modern Language Association (MLA) conventions for in-text citation as well as for a works cited page.
4 Students begin writing their research-based argument papers. The lesson begins with a peer review of the in-text citations students inserted in their outlines. Students then learn about the purpose and components of an effective introduction. Through discussion and examination of an exemplar and non-exemplar introduction, students further develop their understanding of how to write an effective introduction.
5 Students focus on making sure their writing is cohesive and clear as they continue to draft their research-based argument papers. Students improve the effectiveness of their writing by focusing on the use of transitional words and phrases and establishing strong relationships among evidence, claims, and counterclaims. In addition, students focus on using varied syntax to enhance the rhythm and flow of their sentences and paragraphs.
6 Students learn to craft a concluding statement that follows from and further supports the argument and appropriately connects sections of the text.
7 Students learn how to identify and use formal style and objective tone when writing the research-based argument paper. Students then use the first drafts of their papers to participate in peer review and teacher conferences.
8 Students continue to refine and revise their research papers. The instruction in this lesson focuses on editing for clarity and cohesion of the entire research paper. Students continue to address feedback as they conference individually with the teacher. Students use the Rubric and Checklist to guide their review and make revisions to their research papers.
9 Students continue to edit and revise their papers. Students are introduced to language standards L.11-12.2.a,b, as well as to common hyphenation conventions through the Hyphenation Conventions Handout. Students continue the review process by editing for capitalization, punctuation, and spelling.
10 Students participate in a review activity during which they consider constructive feedback about the entire research-based argument paper. Students review papers for elements of the W.11-12.1 standard and substandards (W.11-12.1.a-e) that have been introduced. Additionally, students review for English grammar, usage, and writing conventions.
11 In the End-of-Unit Assessment, students finalize their research-based argument papers by editing, polishing, and rewriting as necessary. Students are assessed on how their final drafts align to the Rubric and Checklist.