Loyola University Chicago

Writing Center

UCWR 110 Course

The Basics

Our Basics page is designed for incoming UCWR students to get a primer on what is expected of them in their courses. Seasoned students can also refresh themselves and see how these core elements form the foundations for more advanced writing skills.From here, you can explore

  • the types of essays you'll encounter
  • different research resources
  • tools to help you in the classroom

First though, let's take a minute to remember why you're here and what's expected of you in your courses at Loyola:

The Reasons for Good Research

The research process develops skills that go far beyond your final grade:

  • You are building good work and scheduling habits that will be assets to your academic career and to your future profession. If you treat your UCWR assignments as serious opportunities to show off your skills, the final product will do justice to your improved writing.
  • You are learning to be impartial, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of different kinds of sources and their relevance to the tasks you have at hand.
  • You are acknowledging sources that make statements contrary to your own argument by mentioning them in your essay. By answering the counterarguments they present, you strengthen your ability to consider all opinions when forming a conclusion.
  • You are contributing to your academic or professional field by engaging with cutting-edge research, participating in an ongoing debate, or helping solve an issue that will benefit others. Citing peer-reviewed academics’ work informs your own argument, honors their contribution to scholarship, and keeps you from making embarrassing mistakes in your research.
  • You are authoring a paper that could be used to further your own academic and professional career outside of the classroom. Besides submitting your work for Loyola essay competitions, consider applying to conferences and sending your essay to journals in the appropriate field. Presenting conference papers and publishing as an undergraduate will look impressive on your CV and give you invaluable public speaking and professional writing experience before you enter graduate, law, or medical school or apply for jobs after college.

As a student at LUC, you have millions of records at your fingertips through the LUC Libraries website, incredible college resources and academic support at your disposal such as the LUC Writing Center and the LUC Center for Tutoring & Academic Excellence, and the leisure to develop your mind. Think of your Researched Argument essay as an opportunity to begin using your improved writing skills and make a positive impact on the world!

Requirements for Good Research

  1. Specifics: An excellent research essay gathers all relevant information on a topic (facts, expert opinions, previous studies). Your essay builds on previous ideas to make a well-crafted, comprehensive addition to those ideas. Instead of summarizing or plagiarizing another author’s ideas, an original essay represents a new idea and presents new arguments, solutions, or perspectives on an issue or debate. If your argument is not based on carefully conducted research, it could be foolish or even dangerous to implement your ideas. Research can improve our world by making our lives easier and preventing possible mistakes.
  1. Sources: Before writing, read peer-reviewed articles on the subject. Evaluate each article to see if it is helpful, informative, and adds new information that will support your argument. There is no need to reference multiple articles citing the same information; simply give preference to the most recent one (e.g. an article from 2011 would be better than one from 1979 because it is supposedly more informed about contemporary theoretical or academic debates in your field). Once you have selected an appropriate number of sources, mention each author’s thoughts in one section of your essay, along with an in-text citation or footnote referencing the article. The full citation of each article should be alphabetically listed in your Works Cited page.
  1. Structure: A research article may have multiple sections, typically under headings or sub-headings. The number of sections will vary depending on page length. E.g., in a longer research essay presenting a possible solution to an issue others have debated, you could have 1) one section describing the problem and supporting your statements, 2) another section listing and citing the solutions other experts have advanced to solve the issue, explaining why they have been unsuccessful, and 3) a third section laying out your solution and supporting your ideas.
  1. Submission: Once you’ve written a specific, structured essay with cited sources, it’s time to submit your work. You’ll first submit this paper to a professor for their corrections and advice. After your paper has been graded, you’ll usually receive it back with your professor’s comments. Don’t just throw it away; backup your work and set aside time to incorporate your professor’s suggestions into your essay. Then, resubmit it to a professional organization for publication (See the Loyola Owl’s Undergraduate or Graduate-Level Professional Writing page for conferences and journals that will accept your paper). If you’re unable to publish your essay yet, remember that blogs, newspapers, and other mediums may publish at least a summary of your essay which may then gain the attention of scholastic peers and experts. Get your ideas out there so that you can make a positive mark on the world (and build your CV)!

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