Your Inquiry Essay
7 sources minimum, 10 maximum
10-12 pages, MLA format
No late assignments accepted !
The purpose of this long assignment regarding an issue of social, economic, environmental, cultural, educational, literary, medical, scientific, or artistic importance is to come to terms with your own curiosity about an issue, show what you’ve read in your research, expand your knowledge about your issue, and to convey your wisdom about what you have learned. I want to see you stretch and refine your writing skills and powers of communication as you put to use your own real, true, and interesting voice by crafting an authentic paper that could only have been written by you. I want to read your paper and be informed. I want to have a clearer insight into your issue, but even more, I want to be moved. I want to feel that in your final draft, each sentence is the most beautiful one you possibly could write. I want you to make the transition from thinking of yourself simply as a lone college student using a library database to conceptualizing yourself as a member of a community of thinkers, writers, and even artisans of public debate. Thus, this assignment aims to give you a chance to summarize the work you have done so far, understand how different kinds of thinkers, writers and even artists have come to terms with your issue, to think about some of the significant ways we can discuss and even address this issue culturally, socially, economically, etc., and to give your work a broader context.
The following is a possible template for your organizational structure. The possibilities within each subheading are meant to prompt your writing--you don’t need to rigidly address each and every one, but I should have a clear sense of how each main area is addressed thoroughly in your paper. Most of us have not done the reading you have, so you need to come to terms carefully with the material so we can connect the dots from your question, to the development of your understanding, and your analysis of the issue. The essay must use all elements of the template to answer your research question. You must use each of the 8 sources with some depth (a slight mention of an article is not depth!) The essay must be clean and error-free, and include proper in-text citations. Aim to stun and compel the audience with interesting, provocative, beautiful writing. Because this paper has been driven by your curiosity, your hard work, your interview, and your research, you will thus want to have the paper be written in first person narrative.
Part One: Dear Reader: Your Introduction (one to one and a half pages) Grab us here; make us think, make us want to read on. Consider how to invite your reader into your paper. Remember how we read two “Commencement” speeches? You could always open with something creative like that!
You may use ANY format you like to invite your reader into the paper. Consider a letter to your reader, a gripping bit of research, a personal story. I will bring some great examples to class. The sky is the limit. Be creative and personal. Whatever you use, make sure that it does the following:
v Demonstrates your personal and/or scholarly interest in this research—show us, somehow, why you chose this topic in particular.
v Engage the reader—make us want to read on!
v Give us a clear sense of your research questions, and what you wanted to know at the outset
Part Two: Literary Review and Subject Background
This part of your paper should tell us who has been writing about your subject in the past and what sorts of things they wrote. It should also tell us what we need to know about any background, necessary terminology, history that we should understand regarding your topic. This part of your paper should be approximately 2.5-3 pages of your paper with sources, although students choosing topic areas that require more background may need to cover more territory. Please feel free to consult me if you would like suggestions specific to your paper.
At least one source for this section should draw from your annotations.
vWhat is the background/history of this issue? How has it been talked about previously, by whom?
vAre there necessary terms we need to understand to read your paper? Help us here…
vWhat past events or conversations help us understand what is happening now on this issue?
vAre there any literary/artistic depictions can help us make sense of your subject?
Part Three: Current Conversation/Problem/Debate (this is really the longest part of your paper; expect it to comprise approximately 5-6 pages). You may combine books and articles with news sources and documentaries, NPR, etc. to write this section. Relevant photography and graphs, etc. can be a powerful medium so long as they are not superfluous---you must TALK about them if you use them; consider including visuals to support our understanding of your work, so long as you cite them. Remember that as you use each source, you MUST introduce it like you did in your annotations—qualify the speaker/writer/artist, etc. Use your annotations extensively here!
v Who are the current key players working on this question/issue? What stake do they have in it, and why?
v What are the main arguments or considerations being discussed about this issue? Discuss in detail. You should review the “conversation” about this issue by utilizing your annotations in a fluid, interesting, engaging way. How are these things being spoken about? What ideas seem to have the most authority in the conversation right now? Which ones seem more marginal? Discuss in detail with examples from your research. You will definitely want to think toward using about one page per source in this section.
v Synthesize! We have been practicing this in the commonplaces! How do the sources seem to “talk” to each other? Or around each other? Make sense of the issue here by showing how different perspectives are in conversation with each other.
Part Four: Proposed Solutions (approximately two to three pages; some students will have more, some less, depending on research project)
Part Five: So What? Beauty, Grace, and Style: going out with a bang
A conclusion for this paper will be a creative, interesting moment for you and your reader. It will offer a discussion of the significance of your findings. This is the “So What?” portion of your paper. Feel free to use your genre knowledge here to do something less than ordinary, as the end of your paper should be NEW, not a repetition of what you already told us. What did you learn along the way? What are the questions that remain for you? What better way to conclude a research paper draft than to pose questions you are still wondering about. In what ways has your curiosity about the issue changed? You will NOT know everything there is to know about your issue—these are large, real, and extremely complex ideas that you are writing about that require multiple levels of thought and years of long-term research. Consider ending with an example from literature, poetry, art—use a creative, divergent way to MOVE us. Make us hurt. Make us think. Leave us feeling like you feel after reading the very best and most moving piece of writing you have ever read. Be interesting and real.
Bits and Pieces!
Format and Expectations: Paper is to be 10-12 pages in length (NOT COUNTING WORKS CITED PAGE or visuals!), typed, 1.5 spacing, 12-point Times New Roman type or 11-point Calibri type only. One inch (1”) margins! MLA format is required; PLEASE follow guidelines on Owl or another reliable source of MLA formatting. This will comprise a significant number of points on your final draft.
Works Cited (on a separate page)
Assessment. Outstanding essays will possess the following characteristics: (See Syllabus for actual grade categorical breakdowns!)
o Substantive and insightful questions surrounding the issue
o A thoughtful title
o An engaging introduction
o Smooth transitions that move readers through each of your sources
o Clear writing
o Conclusion that offers new insight into the topic and how the research affected you.
o Coherent organization and presentation, clean mechanics throughout.
o Very few grammatical and mechanical errors.
|Due By (Pacific Time)||06/24/2014 12:00 am|
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