Essay Four

Research Essay

Compose a well-researched, argumentative essay about some aspect of New York City. This essay should revolve around a central question, which will in turn determine which are the best sources to consult. For instance, you might look for primary or secondary historical documents, or you might focus on critical analyses of the literary texts. Your essay should make use of at least eight outside sources, in addition to whatever texts from the syllabus you are examining, if any.

Possible topics include:

  • Choose one of the texts we have read or watched in this class and ascertain whether/to what extent it is historically accurate.
  • Take as your starting point a particular aspect of city life (like drug use, the subway, sidewalks) from one of our texts and consider how it has changed (or stayed the same) over time.
  • Explore a particular facet (like racial composition, history of activism, a certain building, block or subway stop–think Lethem’s piece) of a New York City neighborhood and suggest a way that that facet can be improved (think Jane Jacobs).
  • Take a side in a current debate about living in New York City. Examples include street harassment, stop and frisk, gentrification, foodie culture. Try not to pick the obvious question, like “Is street harassment a good thing?” Instead consider, for example, “What is an acceptable way of approaching a woman in public?” or “What are the racial dimensions of street harassment?”
  • Choose your own adventure!

Nuts and Bolts:

  • The assigned length for this essay is 2450 to 2800 words (approximately seven to eight pages long), not including your bibliography page.
  • As with all papers for this class, your paper should be written using MLA formatting. Refer to the Purdue OWL website or my MLA Mini-guide if you have any questions.
  • Your essay must include a bibliography with at least eight sources.
  • Here is the rubric by which you will be graded.
  • Worksheets and Handouts:
  • The research proposal (200 to 300 words) is due on Friday, November 21st. It will include a research and a research plan (i.e. what types of sources you need to answer your question, where you might find them, what you’re going to have to consider in answering your question, how you might structure your essay).
  • The draft workshop will take place on Wednesday, December 10th and/or Friday, December 12th .
  • The final draft is due by midnight on Saturday, December 20th to

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