Writer’s Letter-Research Paper

To be quite honest, writing this research paper was the most time consuming and stressful out of the three.  My topic was criminal injustice so there was a lot to unravel, yet I did not know what to include and to leave out. At first, I wanted my essay to focus on the evolution of criminal injustice, but to my discovery,  it was impossible to include that much information with the limited word count of the assignment. Instead, I decided to focus mainly on the modern-day criminal justice system and include a historical preface at the beginning of my essay, acknowledging that the criminal justice system was built to disregard Black Americans. This way, I could argue that little change has been made to the American criminal justice system without my paper reaching the word count, nor lacking analysis. Another issue I faced during this writing process was the organization of my essay. Some paragraphs did not fit with others. For example, I wrote a paragraph about life after the 13th Amendment was ratified. I introduced that restrictive laws were created to limit Black American lives. Despite this paragraph including important information, it did not flow into my essay. As my essay focuses on the present system and not on the past, it was unnecessary for me to speak on laws that have been outlawed.  This is because I wanted to focus on the lack of change that has been made and the laws (Grandfather Clause, Poll tax, etc) did not align with the focus of the present-day. Also, the information is common for readers that are educated in American history (which they should be in order to understand what criminal injustice is and want to read my paper). The essay is not a history essay, but by writing such a historical driven topic, it is very easy for the essay to lack analysis and meaning (like a history essay).

Through peer review with my writing group, I was informed that my essay lacked organization which was the key component in making my essay appear weak.  I felt very insecure when sharing this essay, but when Olivia instructed me that switching my body paragraphs around would make the essay more coherent, I automatically felt better about the work I had put in. I was instructed that the best way to keep my essay flowing was to frame my paragraphs based on their mini arguments and tie them into the overall argument of my essay. I also was corrected on various different grammatical mistakes I made.  Furthermore, including a rebuttal into a paper magnifies an argument and makes it stronger, however, I did not include one. When I asked my peers if I should include a rebuttal, I was told that there are instances when I acknowledge the opposing side of the argument. For example, when I speak on  Americans that don’t understand how flawed the criminal justice system is due to an individual’s bias. Despite me not creating a rebuttal to my “main” argument, I include rebuttals for my “mini’s.” As always, peer review was very beneficial and made me gain confidence with my assignment.

In conclusion, I still believe my essay is nowhere near finished. Even now–three days before the deadline– I believe that I need to revise and ask for more feedback from my peers. As a perfectionist, I know that there is still a lot left to be done to make this paper much stronger.

Leave a Reply