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ENGL 100 - De La Cruz Sanchez - Fall 2022: Research Essay

For students in English 100 with Yvonne De La Cruz Sanchez


Essay 3 Prompt



After reading and watching content for Unit 3, please think about some of the different facets of altruism and egoism. Consider some the arguments made in the documentary and the readings in order to better understand the lessons we could learn about these topics, and in turn, think about a stance you could take with altruism or egoism. 


In a persuasive essay, take a stance with the following questions: Would it benefit or harm someone to become more altruistic or egoistic? In what ways would being more altruistic or egoistic benefit society or harm it?

Step One: Familiarize Yourself With Your Subject

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself with Your Subject with Background Reading

Begin your project by doing some background reading on your topic. Preliminary reading helps you do all the following: 

  • achieve a basic understanding of your problem
  • begin to identify interesting specific questions that will form the backbone of your research; and
  • start to acquire vital search terms you need in order to explore your subject more fully. 


Background Resources for this Assignment

Start with reading/viewing the recommended sources for this assignment. Use source support from TWO of the following sources to support your argument:

  • “What Humpback Whales Can Teach Us About Compassion” by Elin Kelsey
  • “Altruism: Why We Risk Our Own Well-Being to Help Others” by Kendra Cherry
  • The Altruism Revolution: Intrinsic Human Kindness vs. Self-Interest directed by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry de Lestrade (movie)
  • “What is Egoism” from (YouTube video)
  • “What is Ethical Egoism?” by Emrys Westacott

Resources from MJC Databases

Google Web Search

Step Two: Find, Read, and Reflect on Your Sources

Step 2: Find Sources on the Topics You Identified in Step 1

  • Do a comprehensive search utilizing the sources above; leave no stone unturned
  • Print/save/email the sources you find as you go to avoid backtracking
  • Read your sources several times, highlighting relevant information and making notes as you go.
  • If you have trouble finding the appropriate type or number of sources: MEET WITH STELLA or ANY RESEARCH LIBRARIAN

Step Three: Start Writing a Draft

Step 3: Start Writing a Draft

  • Make an appointment with Writing Center staff at least once. They will help you get started, proceed, and/or finish. This is a free service that you should always utilize to maximize your success.
  • Utilize the MJC Library & Learning Center's FORMAT & CITE page to aid with MLA. A research librarian can provide face-to-face or Zoom assistance with formatting and citing as well. 

Meet your librarian

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Stella Beratlis
she, her, hers
Need help now? We have Research Drop-In Hours Monday - Saturday during Spring 2023: go to the Ask a Librarian page to get immediate help.
Website Skype Contact: beratliss

Cite Your Sources with NoodleTools Citation Builder: Easy!

Go to NoodleTools

Research Questions

You already have a pair of research questions to consider, as noted from the prompt: 

Would it benefit or harm someone to become more altruistic or egoistic? (individual focus) 

In what ways would being more altruistic or egoistic benefit society or harm it? (society focus)

Consider answering one or both of these questions as a single statement that is arguable. 

Popular, Substantive, Scholarly Information

Evaluating Sources

MLA Citation Style

Citation Examples

Citation Examples and Template:

 MLA Core ElementsEach citation in your list of works cited is composed of elements common to most works. These are called the MLA core elements. They are assembled in a specific order as shown to the right.

Use the links below to see examples of source citations and practice using one of the templates.

If you don't find what you need below, check out the MLA's, Ask the MLA.


Citation Examples by Format: