Summary of Assignment
Word Count: 1,200-1500 words (4-5 PAGES plus Works Cited)
This research assignment is uniquely created to allow you to discover information about key issues that are current and central to YOU and to America. The general parameters for the project are:
The Topic: Must be a current issue or event (ideally from the past 5 years) in which you are deeply interested. Choose something that resonates with you (think of your passions, your major, your family, your future goals and/or profession). You might also think about a topic that is relevant to any of the themes and/or readings we have explored this term. (See The Essay and The Research below for more details.)
Research Proposal: The research proposal is one well-developed paragraph saying what topic you intend to pursue and laying out your research plans in terms of times and dates you will be researching. Be specific.
Annotated Works Cited: This is the final complete list of your sources in MLA format, along with a 2-3-line summary of each article or source written right below each citation (see p. 51 in our textbook). You will be unable to put this together until you have ALL your sources selected. Do not include the annotated Works Cited with your final draft—include a regular Works Cited. Bring your Annotated Works Cited to your private conference with me.
Professor Conference: This is your time to share with me your progress and concerns. Your will bring your
annotated works cited, research notes, outline and /or rough draft: A further revised version of the rough draft is due in class for a peer review.
A Peer Review of your completed draft will take place in class.
Final Draft: Your final draft should be presented in MLA format and use the attached page formatting. The final draft is DUE at class time in the D2L Dropbox.
The Essay and the Research
For the research paper, you will choose a current issue or event about which you are passionate, or at least in which you are very interested. I highly recommend that you consult the website ProCon.org to stimulate ideas and get background on current issues (one that is relevant to the past 5 years). Ask yourself a question about the issue, something you’d like to find out. This will be your starting point.
This will be an argumentative essay. You will research your topic to try to understand the pros and cons of the issue/event and discover what scholar-experts have to say about it. You will also explore a thematic or subject link between this issue/event and one of the literary themes we’ve discussed in class. Finally, you will decide where you stand on the issue/event and make a clear compelling claim. You will strive to show your readers that you are aware of much of the necessary information about this issue. Your research should inform, enlarge, and expand information and help you define your own claim. In building your argument, you should provide plenty of evidence in the form of examples, facts, data, evidence and quotes from authorities and scholars, logical reasoning, and common knowledge. Think ethos (showing you are an authority) and logos (having plentiful evidence for support). Use pathos to connect with your readers.
The most important guiding force for the essay is that the topic is something you care deeply about and can debate persuasively and knowledgably.
Sources (Make sure they are current within the past 5 years, if possible).
You must use at least 3 and no more than 5 sources to relate your ideas to what others have to say on this topic and to support your claim.
The research paper must include:
At least one article from a national newspaper such as The New York Times www.nytimes.com/
Tampa Bay Times www.tampabay.com
Wall Street Journal www.wsj.com/
At least one scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal from the database (blogs and individual websites are not permissible).
At least one primary source of literature (poem, story or creative essay) from our book, a class handout or another approved source. (You may use a work you have already addressed in another essay). If we did not go over this work in class, you must provide a copy of the piece with your essay. NOTE: The literature does not need to specifically deal with your issue, but should have at least a few lines that you can use as supportive evidence. For example, if you are doing an essay on what happens to undocumented children who came here in 2017, you might just find a poem on children or on leaving home that you can use.
Additional resources in any of these categories may be used, up to five sources altogether.
OTHER ESSENTIAL WEBSITES:
FOR POEMS: Any major literature anthologies; www.poets.org
OR www.poetry foundation.org
FOR STORIES AND ESSAYS: Any major literature anthologies
The New Yorker, The Atlantic and other magazine that publish literature and essays
START EARLY! It will take some effort on your part to find an acceptable source. Start by exploring and then locating at least one article from The New York Times, The Tampa Bay Times, Wall Street Journal or another national newspaper. Next, research what experts in the field say about this issue and focus on at least one scholarly article from a peer-reviewed journal. Finally, find a thematic connection to your topic in at least one work of literature that moves you. You may enlarge, expand and further develop your claim with other sources.
For example, you might explore the controversy of whether or not protesters should be relegated to “protest zones” at public meets and gatherings (such as was done in Tampa at the Republican National Convention). For this issue, you might tie in the idea of civil disobedience as it occurred in the 1960’s and discuss King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” (primary source of literature from our book). Next, you might find an article about recent protestors who were engaged in an act of civil disobedience and were arrested (primary source article from NY Times). Finally, you would include a scholarly article on protests or civil disobedience from a peer-reviewed magazine or journal which you have located in the library database. This is just an example.
Your audience is an academic one, but do not assume your audience is familiar with this topic or with your sources. Give background and summarize the topic at the beginning of your discussion. Use the sources as a way to give context and support for your ideas. Incorporate counter arguments, letting your readers know that you are aware of opposing points of view. But, do not let the sources overwhelm your paper. This is your essay supporting your claim, not a summary of what others have to say.
All sources must be cited using correct MLA format.For the one required newspaper article go directly to the Times’ websites to search. Other suggested library databases: EBSCO, Proquest, Literature Resource Center (also Academic Search Premier and/or the MLA International Bibliography.
URGENT NOTE: TO AVOID ACCIDENTAL PLAGIARISM, MAKE SURE THAT EVERY SOURCE YOU MENTION IN YOUR ESSAY HAS A CITATION IN THE WORKS CITED AND VICE VERSA!
Use your resources: Please ask or help if you have questions. Come by the office during office hours. For our conference, bring questions AND YOUR DRAFTS. Use the CAVE. Ask a librarian. Make an appointment with the library tutors. We ALL want you to be successful. Good Luck!