Essay 3: Academic Research Added to the Conversation
The purpose of this assignment is to read critically, contribute to a focused conversation, and organize ideas into a logical essay structure that synthesizes sources to produce a clear argument about your chosen topic. This assignment process constitutes a set of practical research skills that may be used to solve other complex problems as they arise in your life.
Skills: You will practice the following skills in completing this assignment:
· Practicing a writing process involving reading, analyzing, and responding to texts
· Assembling and synthesizing ideas using an argumentative essay format
· Properly citing source texts to demonstrate an awareness of ethics and audience
· Forging a clear, understandable, argumentative thesis based in research
· Finding meaningful connections between texts
Knowledge: By completing this assignment you will better understand how to use the essay format to solve complex problems and present those solutions to your reader in the form of subjective arguments. You will read and attempt to understand some difficult scholarly texts. At the end of this process, you should know:
· The role of inquiry in solving complex problems
· How finding connections between sources can proliferate useful information
· That information or “research” varies in reliability and accuracy
· How framing, inquiry, and careful conversation can produce practical results
· That some degree of certainty can be useful for furthering a conversation
· That, in an essay, such certainty might take the form of arguable claims
Related Course Outcomes
· Compose texts in a variety of situations, modalities, and genres;
· Understand the rules and guidelines that define genres in order to make intentional rhetorical choices;
· Understand your information needs and evaluate information sources as part of a research process;
· Analyze texts (print, media, data, etc.) as part of your own process of composing.
1. Choose an Issue. Your first task will be to decide on an issue that’s relevant to you. You are welcome to derive your issue from your previous essay, or from chapters 6-8 of the book Factfulness.
2. Generate a Research Question. Construct a research question. This question should frame and therefore constrain the possible directions you can take in writing your essay, and will not appear in your essay. In short, this question should define the purpose of your essay.
3. Using SCC Databases, Locate Sources. After you’ve produced some decent questions, visit the library’s databases to find at least two scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources to use in your essay. These should be researched based articles that have depth on one specific aspect of your topic. Journal articles are typically between 20 and 30 pages in length.
4. Read, Understand, and Synthesize Source Information. You will undertake the difficult process of reading and comprehending these source texts. As always, read them actively and take lots of good notes. Be able to summarize your source texts. Next, you’ll need to do some serious thinking about these texts. Think about the connections and differences between them. Think about how their ideas might fit together in some clever or creative way. Your goal is to try to synthesize and use these sources to produce possible answers to your question.
5. Construct an Argumentative Thesis Statement. Once you’ve conducted your research and arrived at some research-informed perspectives on your topic, you will construct an argumentative thesis statement articulating your subjective viewpoint regarding your topic
6. Write an Argumentative, Research-Based Essay. You will use this thesis as the foundation for an argumentative essay of at least 3 full pages in length, formatted according to MLA standards (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12pt font, 1” margins).
1. Introduction. Your essay will contain an intro paragraph where you introduce your issue, the context for your issue, and give your thesis (an arguable claim, not a question).
2. Body. Your essay will have multiple body paragraphs, each of which will ideally synthesize information from multiple source texts (not merely deal with a single text). You will construct these paragraphs according to the citation package format. You will also explicitly address arguments that challenge your own thesis.
3. Conclusion. Your essay will have a conclusion paragraph where you summarize the conclusion of your reasoning process. It would also be a good idea to include in your conclusion paragraph a call to action or additional questions for further research.
4. Works Cited Page. You will create a Works Cited page on a new page at the end of your essay, and you will format it according to MLA standards.
Please keep in mind that you are not going to dramatically change the world with your essay, so avoid the urge to tie up all of your work into a nice easy answer at the end. Also, please avoid clichés and generalizations. Please do not focus on your own personal experiences in your essay—this essay is a space for logic and reasoning, not storytelling. Avoid excessive summary—instead, you should favor critical thinking. Be honest and responsible at all stages of producing this essay. Make the process useful for you and for your reader.
ENGL 101 Essay Rubric
This criterion is linked to a Learning Outcome
Purpose 25 Points
Clear thesis statement and use of topic sentences provide central focus which connects to the prompt while establishing and maintaining a clear purpose throughout the essay. The essay is organized effectively in order to accomplish the student’s intended purpose.
Critical Thinking 20 Points
The essay illustrates a thorough reading and understanding of the text(s), advances the discussion on the topic, adds insight into the topic that gets beyond surface level observations or summary of the text(s), and overall approaches the topic creatively and uniquely through original analysis. Essays should show unique perspectives that help others to understand the chosen topic better or in new ways, present perspectives, or otherwise add new insights into the text(s) appropriate for a college level academic conversation.
Support and Development 20.0 pts
Effective evidence, including quoting, examples, paraphrasing, and summarizing, that supports and substantiates the main points being made.
Correct MLA documentation and formatting.
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