Research Paper Assignment

With the research assignment, I wanted to give the students two ways in- either research something and make an argument about it or research something that he or she has always questioned and then pose why it’s bad or good and then propose an alternative. I am using the work they have already done in their journals as inspiration- they can use anything that they have in there, anything they have wondered about. They can also build on things they have mentioned in their journals. The goal is to get them to see that research and thinking is not just a fragmented process, but a linear, almost fluid thing that takes place organically. We are always thinking, always wondering; why should we let those thoughts go to waste? It’s something I’m always mentioning in the class and half the reason why I give them journal assignments.

The full assignment is posted below.

Research assignment:

We have talked a lot about how certain aspects of our identity spring from our interests and knowledge that we accumulate over time. This aggregation of knowledge starts becoming different aspects of our identity, pieces we can slip into on a whim. For example, someone who is interested in Gothic literature might find herself looking into the history surrounding it, stumbling upon the occult, and then finding her way into that world.

Research is something we do all the time, whether we realize it or not- we look up facts about our favorite teams and athletes; we sift through stats when trying to come up with the perfect fantasy football line up; we read reviews of products we are interested in buying. All of this is research in a more rudimentary form. We all make arguments based on that research- arguments for a team, arguments for a player, arguments for a product.

Research also allows us to formulate educated opinions on things, allowing us to question the status quo intelligently and eloquently and to propose an alternative.

With this assignment, you are going to look back at your daily journal entries- your manifestos included- and find something that interests you, something you have often wondered about or that is important to you. You then have two options:

1. Maybe you want to learn more about something that caught your eye. Through that research, you are going to formulate an argument about the topic, coming up with a coherent thesis and arguing that thesis in the paper.

2. Your journal entries could also inspire you to research something you’re not happy about in the world- war, politics, the role of religion in society- and have you question it and make an argument for or against it and then propose an alternative.

For example, one of you mentioned Truman and his role in World War II. You could research it, research his relationship with the generals and then argue what that relationship contributed (or did not contribute) to the war.

Another example would be how schools are moving away from reading “great works” such as A Tale of Two Cities, A Moveable Feast, The Odyssey, and Wuthering Heights. Why did schools used to read them? Why is there a movement against such works? What is lost or gained by the moving away from literature that can even be viewed as a primary source into the past? What would be an alternative to getting rid of the great works?

Make sure whatever you research you are passionate about it. The more interested and invested in the topic you are, the more successful you will be as a writer.

You should have at least 7 sources. Sources can be documents, documentaries, interviews, sound bites, etc. You are not limited to the written word. Be creative when researching; really delve deep into this topic and come up with something interesting.

The final paper is due 11/30 with a works cited page. Your paper must be uploaded by 8AM that morning, and you should hand in a hard copy in class. I WILL NOT ACCEPT LATE SUBMISSIONS.

As always, the paper should have one-inch margins all around, size 12 Times New Roman font, double spaced.

The paper should be 8 pages or 2400 words.