a secondary source essay

a secondary source essay

To write a paper that uses primarily peer-reviewed journal articles and books to make an argument that fits with both the class theme and your own research interests

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Audience and purpose.
Your essay should follow formal writing conventions for an academic audience. While your readers will primarily consist of myself and fellow students who will peer-review your work, sometimes it helps to envision a wider audience of academic readers while you are writing. You also should consider that your audience may not be familiar with the topic you are exploring, so you should provide relevant background information in your introduction to help readers better understand your topic.

Length: 1250-1500 words (excluding Works Cited page)
Formatting: 12 pt Times New Roman, Calibri, or other standard font; 1-inch margins; MLA parenthetical citations and Works Cited page (see WHH pp. 311-322 for a sample MLA paper and Works Cited page)
For this essay, we will be using a slightly different format that will look more reminiscent of a journal article. This will allow us to cap off our semester with “The Journal of Myth and Monster Studies,” a journal that I will put together at the end of the semester with all of your Secondary Source essays and then post on Canvas. Please use this templatePreview the document to format your essay and remember that the word length requirements only include the body of your essay, not the Words Cited, Abstract, or other course information on the first few pages of the template.

You’ll complete this essay by following the process below.

Step 1: Pick your topic and make a plan
Like your other papers, your work for this one will begin with deciding upon a research topic—what aspect of myths and monsters do you want to know more about?

Step 2: Draft a research question
You’ll need to develop a research question that deals with the topic you picked. For example, let’s say that I am interested in the public perception of nuclear power. Since I am also interested in the media, I might ask something like, “What effect might media representations have on public ideas of nuclear safety?” Note that since I haven’t done the research yet, I don’t have a thesis; it’s still just a question.

Step 3: Gather your research
Look for sources that will answer your question either in the library or through online databases. I have a recorded lecture on how you can locate the sources that would be the most beneficial to your project.

For this paper, you must use at least six scholarly sources. One must be a scholarly book, and two must be peer-reviewed journal articles. The other three can be any combination of scholarly books and articles. Note that you do not have to use the entire book—just using a chapter from a book will still count as having a book source.

Step 4: Analyze your data
While you are reading through the journal articles and scholarly books for your project, consider how these sources may come together to answer your research question. How can you organize these sources into a cohesive argument? Are there any supporting texts (like newspaper articles) that may help you make your case?

Step 4: Draft your essay
Once you’ve decided on your research topic and question, you’ll find, read, and evaluate your sources, develop answers to your research question—and then use your sources to support the conclusions you’ve come to. (The answer my research might bring me to could be: “Media representations tend to sensationalize negative aspects of nuclear power and not delve into the more scientifically-accurate specifics that might be more relevant to those familiar with the field.”)

Step 5: Revise your essay
Once you’ve drafted your essay, seek out some feedback, and revise your work. You’ll have a peer review session along with a writing conference with me to receive my feedback on your draft, but you should also think about making an appointment with a tutor at the Herbert Writing Center (Links to an external site.), connecting with your peers, or approaching other trusted sources to help you as you revise.

those are my instructions

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