Length- 6 pages
Essay 4: Research Essay
Your research-based essay asks you to use the ideas, data, expertise, and arguments of other experts to inform your essay. Almost none of the information that you’ll present will be your own. The writing, of course, will be your own, but you are going to learn the skills of researching, analyzing, and organizing the content effectively so that you can illustrate (in an essay) what you have learned from your own individual research. Ideally, you’ll have already found most of your sources when you put together your Annotated Bibliography, but of course it is perfectly fine if you add some sources and get rid of some. You may choose to write an argumentative essay (as you did in Essay 1 and will do in Essay 3), but you might also choose to write a problem-solving essay or an exploratory essay (which explores a complex topic without taking a strong argumentative side).
Discipline is the key to success for this essay! If you work on it step-by-step and regularly, no problem. Put it all off until the last couple of days? Pain. Death. Probable failure.
Details about sources (read over this about 8 million times because you will be penalized harshly for not following directions). Seven sources minimum, though many of you will use more. No limit/maximum for total sources.
· One anchor/core text that I approve. (Yes, I must see it and write down the title and author in my little book). This text must be lengthy (probably 3,000 + words) and you’ll have to convince me that it gives you a solid background on your topic/issue. It has to be either an academic journal article, a magazine or newspaper article featuring a reporter actually speaking to people, a book chapter, or a full book.
· One academic journal. This source will be found through the library system and will typically be quite long. It will have a lengthy References or Works Cited page, and if it reports on research, it will typically explain their entire research methodology. No limit on these. You can use five of them if you’re a complete masochist.
· No limit on books. You can use as many as you want. None are required, however.
· Limit of four magazine or news website articles. The magazine articles must have actual reporting and a listed author whom you can prove is a real person. There must be interviews with actual people and experts. Examples: Newsweek, The Atlantic, National Geographic, American Heritage, Time, Science, Discovery, Popular Science, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, CNN.
· Limit of four newspaper articles. The newspaper articles must have actual reporting a listed author whom you can prove is a real person. There must be interviews with actual people and experts. Examples: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, The Tennessean, etc. Most likely you will read the online version, of course, but these are not counted as web sites.
· Limit of one opinion piece, also known as OP/ED pieces. These are brief, often impassioned argumentative pieces in newspapers and magazines that do not always rely on either research or reporting (but often are well-informed). They can be useful if ultimately you share that writer’s opinion, but they are usually of limited use when it comes to actual information. Thus, just one. Sometimes they have one author, but they can also have multiple authors, such as the whole editorial staff of a particular news agency. The opinion piece must come from either a magazine or newspaper, not a website.
· Limit of two university or government websites for data/statistics only. These will be .gov or .edu websites. These sites will have no advertising. Make sure you spend a considerable amount of time checking the source out. You will not use organizational web sites, pseudo-news web sites, or goofball websites (as we’ve discussed) like TOP TEN whatever sites. When in doubt about a site, ask me, either in person or via email. None are required.
· 1,500 words with seven sources minimum (you can use more sources and it can be a bit longer if you’d like).
· You may not change your overall topic from the Annotated Bibliography, but you can tweak the focus a bit or perhaps even change which side of an argument you are on.
· You must illustrate a mastery of in-text citations as well as all of the formatting business of your preferred documentation system (Chicago, APA, MLA).
· Unintentional plagiarism (sloppy or faulty summary or paraphrase, forgetting in-text citations, missing quotation marks) will be penalized harshly (2 – 5 points per instance, depending on the severity).
· Intentional plagiarism will result in an automatic ZERO on the assignment.
If you’re having trouble with any element of the research process, don’t fail to ask the reference librarians when you’re in the library. Also ask me, during class, before class, after class, or during office hours. The research element is hard and time-consuming. Most of the time spent doing the research will be frustrating.