Academic Research Essay Information and Instructions: Academic research has a very structured way in which it is produced, and everything you’ve learned up to this point has been prepping you to make and craft an academic argument for this class and the rest of your academic career. For this assignment, you will use all of your skills from the semester thus far to write a 3-4 page research paper based on the secondary sources you gathered for the annotated bibliography. Your goal is to compose an argument that analyzes and builds on these sources in support of a compelling thesis. Use this opportunity to add something to the field that you’ve been researching— enter the conversation rather than repeat others. Be sure that you present an argument in a way that other scholars can easily understand rather than walking them through your research process. How do you want your research to be remembered? Your topic must fall within the limits of what we have studied this semester: short fiction, poetry, drama, or film. If you want to do fiction, it must be short fiction or a novella—no long novels. There are so many options available in any of the categories in your textbook, including drama. Where to Start: First, choose your topic. Here are your options: • You can extend an essay you have already written and feel a connection to. For this option, you would begin research secondary sources which help validate your original argument. • You can choose a new text—one that either I have provided, or one from the textbook— and begin researching an original argument. Once you have an original topic and argument, consider how you can use these sources as evidence for your own argument. In addition to what you wrote in the annotated bibliography, consider what you may have missed. Revisit problematic sections or look at a few additional sources. Next, start working on an outline for your paper. Get as many details in the outline as possible over time to make drafting easier. Make sure that the structure and organization works together with your content to make your argument on all fronts. Now, start drafting! The sooner you get to this stage of the assignment, the better off you’ll be. Fill in the gaps of your outline to start making coherent paragraphs rather than bullet points. Be sure that you’ve included support from your secondary sources in the forms of direct quotes, paraphrasing, and summaries. For each piece of information relating back to a secondary source, remember to include an in-text parenthetical citation and a citation in your works cited! Be a good scholar by showing how you got here and crediting the work of others! While drafting, be sure that you leave time to revise. This paper is likely the longest and most complicated piece of scholarship you’ve produced to date. Take breaks and focusing on crafting your argument throughout the paper. Talk to your peers, me, and the Writing Studio about things that are giving you problems or about which you’d like to talk. Lastly, be proud of your work! This process wasn’t easy, but you made something and (hopefully) learned a lot. Requirements: • Step 1: Topics due in BBL by Nov. 23rd—no exceptions o Turn in a document (in MLA format, as always) with: Topic Why you want to do this topic Preliminary argument • Step 2: Annotated Bibliography (directions are separate for this). • Step 3: A well-researched, 3-4 page academic argument that adds a new perspective to the existing conversation about your topic including: o Purpose: A clear thesis statement and argument trajectory that advances a specific and arguable point o Organization: Presentation of research that works with content to provide an effective argument including a viable counter argument o Support: Effective and strong use of at least 5 secondary research sources to support and advance your argument on the topic o Grammar/Mechanics: Carefully presented words that coherently and effectively make your argument to an academic audience. • Formatting: Proofreading and MLA formatting o 3-4 pages o 12 pt. Times New Roman Font o 1 inch margins all around o Page numbers and name block o Works cited page and parenthetical in-text citations o Double-spaced o Typed NO: • Floating quotes (always provide the author’s name) • No more than one block quote • Changing topics at the last minute. I will only accept papers on proposed topics.
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