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Researched Argument: Home

For Ms. Brooke's AP Lang


Choose 1 of the 4 essay prompt options below, from previous AP Lang exams.

Option 1

Read the following excerpt from The Decline of Radicalism (1969) by Daniel J. Boorstin and consider the implications of the distinction Boorstin makes between dissent and disagreement. Then, using appropriate evidence, write a carefully reasoned essay in which you defend, challenge, or qualify Boorstin's distinction.

Dissent is the great problem of America today. It overshadows all others. It is a symptom, an expression, a consequence, and a cause of all others. I say dissent and not disagreement. And it is the distinction between dissent and disagreement which I really want to make. Disagreement produces debate but dissent produces dissension. Dissent (which comes from the Latin, dis and sentire) means originally to feel apart from others. People who disagree have an argument, but people who dissent have a quarrel. People may disagree and both may count themselves in the majority. But a person who dissents is by definition in a minority. A liberal society thrives on disagreement but is killed by dissension. Disagreement is the life blood of democracy, dissension is its cancer.

Option 2

In many national elections, only a fraction of eligible voters actually casts ballots. For local elections, the voter turnout is often even smaller. To prevent this state of affairs, some countries, such as Australia, make voting compulsory for all adults. In a well-written essay that draws upon your reading, experience, or observations for support, take a position on the issue of compulsory voting.

Option 3

Contemporary life is marked by controversy. Choose a controversial local, national, or global issue with which you are familiar. Then, using appropriate evidence, write an essay that carefully considers the opposing positions on this controversy and proposes a solution or compromise.

Option 4

In the introduction to her book Poison Penmanship: The Gentle Art of Muckraking, investigative journalist Jessica Mitford (1917-1996) confronts accusations that she is a "muckraker." While the term was used by United States president Theodore Roosevelt in a 1906 speech to insult journalists who had, in his opinion, gone too far in the pursuit of their stories, the term "muckraker" is now more often used to refer to one who "searches out and publicly exposes real or apparent misconduct of a prominent individual or business." With this more current definition in mind, Mitford was ultimately happy to accept the title "Queen of the Muckrakers."

Do you agree with Mitford's view that it is an honor to be called a "muckracker," or do you think that journalists who search out and expose real or apparent misconduct go too far in the pursuit of their stories? Explain your position in a well-written essay that uses specific evidence for support.

Passwords for Databases

Search tips

■SELECT research questions and search tools.
■EXTRACT keywords and terms.  
■APPLY search strategies. (Example: using quote marks and boolean terms)
■RUN your search.
■CHART your search.
Source:  “Strategic Searching (6-8) | Common Sense Media.” Strategic Searching (6-8) | Common Sense Media, Common Sense Media,


Citing Your Sources

Your citations must be in MLA format.

Remember to use the tools that these sites both give you- save the sources so that the programs can format and alphabetize it for you. Make sure that you look over any autofilled-in information.

Grading Rubric

Due Date Step Points Description
  Research proposal 10 points Typed overview of your purpose, intended audience, question or argument to be addressed, and how you intend to approach the topic.
  Annotated Bibliography 20 points Format is located in your MLA Handbook.
  Research Notes  20 points Including 5 or more approved, authored sources with annotated copies. You must turn in all final authored/legit sources that you use for this paper. These sources can include database articles, news sites, journals, books, magazine, and documentaries. If you are in doubt of a source’s credibility, ask me or don’t use it.
  Working Draft & Thesis 20 points At least two pages typed that include the introduction with thesis and the use of two sources with in-text citations.
  Final Draft 100 points Including Final Outline, Research Notes, and Works Cited submitted to by 8:00 am on the assigned date.
  Formal Presentation 10 points Present the information you learned to the class along with your argument.



In order to get a successful search going, you are going to want to make a list of related words after you choose your option. You might first start with highlighting all the keywords in your prompt and adding on, when necessary, from there.

Wikipedia isn't a reliable source, but it can be a good place to get hints on keywords to use. If your initial search isn't turning up, make sure to try synonyms before giving up.