I. Introductory Paragraph
Your introductory paragraph sets
the stage for the position you are arguing. It should begin with a hook and end
with a thesis statement.
A. Your thesis:
1. States what your position on an issue is and WHY
2. Appears at the end of the introduction
3. Clearly and strongly answers your initial
research question
Sample Thesis
The production, sale, and
possession of assault weapons for private citizens should be banned in the U.S.
II. Body of your Research Paper
A. Background Information
1. This section of your paper gives readers the basic
information they need to know to understand your position.
B. Assertions and Evidence to
Support Your Thesis (AXES paragraphs)
1. All evidence that you present in this section should
support your thesis.
2. You will begin each body paragraph with an assertion
that you prove with evidence. Devote one to two well-developed paragraphs to each
3. As this is a research essay, all evidence will come from your outside sources.
Body Paragraph 1
1) Assertion: Keeping assault weapons out of private citizens’ hands
can lower the increasing occurrences of barbaric public slayings.
2) Evidence:

Pulse nightclub shooting (2016):
50 fatalities, 58 non-fatal injuries

Las Vegas shooting (2017): 59
fatalities, 546 non-fatal injuries
3) Explanation & Analysis
Body Paragraph 2
1) Assertion: A ban on assault weapons is backed by many veterans, major
organizations, and even law enforcement.
2) Evidence:

“Congressman and Iraq War Vet
Makes Case for Assault Weapons Ban” (ABC News)

LA and SD police chiefs
3) Explanation & Analysis
Body Paragraph 3
1) Assertion: The monetary and human costs incurred by crimes
committed with assault weapons are too great to ignore.
2) Evidence:

Compared to 22 other high-income
nations, the United States’ gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher

Johns Hopkins study of gun patients’
medical expenses paid by public funds ($45 billion total loss)
3) Explanation
& Analysis
III. Addressing the “Naysayers”
Any well-written argument will anticipate and address
positions in opposition to the one being argued. Pointing out what your
opposition is likely to say in response to your argument shows that you have
thought critically about your topic.
Generally, this takes the form of a paragraph that can
be placed before the conclusion.
A. 1st Opposing View:
We need good armed citizens to fight back against crazed gunmen
1) Refutation:
Study of 33 mass public shootings with multiple deaths between 2009 and 2014
revealing that 18 occurred in areas where guns were not banned or armed
security were present.
B. 2nd Opposing View:
Outlaws would still own guns
2) Refutation:
Studies showing sharp decreases in the observed rates of firearm deaths
immediately following the implementation of gun reform in two countries.
IV. Conclusion
The conclusion should bring the essay to a logical
end, reiterating your thesis and emphasizing why your topic is worth caring
about. Sometimes conclusions offer solutions or make future predictions,
depending upon the topic being discussed.

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