Research Essay

· Upload under the “Research Essay” document under the “Assignments Submission” tab on the left-hand tool bar of our class in Blackboard. The assignment will be open for submissions beginning at midnight on Wednesday, July 1st, and will close at 11:59pm CST the same day.

Purpose: To demonstrate a fundamental knowledge of material and to be able share it in written form in a concise and fluid manner.

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Assignment: Take your approved thesis and turn it into a research essay.

Basic Requirements:

1. Concise thesis statement

2. MLA format

3. 4-10 pages in length

4. MINIMUM of 3 outside sources

5. Correct in-parenthetical citations (use your Diana Hacker textbook from 1301 or https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html)

6. Correct Works Cited page (use your Diana Hacker textbook from 1301 or https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html)

7. Good sentence structure

8. Fluid sequence of paragraphs

9. Excellent mechanics (proofread)

Points Possible: 100

What is a Research Paper?

“Research paper.” What image comes into mind as you hear those words: working with stacks of articles and books, hunting the “treasure” of others’ thoughts? Whatever image you create, it’s a sure bet that you’re envisioning sources of information – articles, books, people, artworks. Yet a research paper is more than the sum of your sources, more than a collection of different pieces of information about a topic, and more than a review of the literature in a field. A research paper analyzes a perspective or argues a point. Regardless of the type of research paper you are writing, your finished research paper should present your own thinking backed up by others’ ideas and information.

To draw a parallel, a lawyer researches and reads about many cases and uses them to support their own case. A scientist reads many case studies to support an idea about a scientific principle. In the same way, a history student writing about the Vietnam War might read newspaper articles and books and interview veterans to develop and/or confirm a viewpoint and support it with evidence.

A research essay is an expanded essay that presents your own interpretation or evaluation or argument. When you write an essay, you use everything that you personally know and have thought about a subject. When you write a research essay you build upon what you know about the subject and make a deliberate attempt to find out what experts know. A research essay involves surveying a field of knowledge in order to find the best possible information in that field. And that survey can be orderly and focused, if you know how to approach it. Don’t worry, you won’t get lost in a sea of sources.

Now you need a topic to turn into a thesis statement.

What makes a GOOD Thesis?

Understanding what makes a good thesis statement is one of the major keys to writing a great research essay. The thesis statement is where you make a claim that will guide you through your entire essay. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your essay or your topic, then it’s likely due to a weak thesis statement.

Let’s take a minute to first understand what makes a solid thesis statement, and what key components you need to write one of your own.

· A thesis statement always goes at the beginning of the paper. It will typically be in the first couple of paragraphs of the paper so that it can introduce the body paragraphs, which are the supporting evidence for your thesis statement.

· Your thesis statement should clearly identify an argument. You need to have a statement that is not only easy to understand, but one that is debatable. What that means is that you can’t just put any statement of fact and have it be your thesis. For example, everyone knows that puppies are cute. An ineffective thesis statement would be, “Puppies are adorable and everyone knows it.” This isn’t really something that’s a debatable topic.

· Something that would be more debatable would be, “A puppy’s cuteness is derived from its floppy ears, small body, and playfulness.” These are three things that can be debated on. Some people might think that the cutest thing about puppies is the fact that they follow you around or that they’re really soft and fuzzy.

· All puppy cuteness aside, you want to make sure that your thesis statement is not only debatable, but that it also actually thoroughly answers the research question that was posed. You always want to make sure that your evidence is supporting a claim that you made (and not the other way around). This is why it is crucial to read and research about a topic first and come to a conclusion later. If you try to get your research to fit your thesis statement, then it may not work out as neatly as you think. As you learn more, you discover more (and the outcome may not be what you originally thought).

· Additionally, your thesis statement shouldn’t be too big or too grand. It will be hard to cover everything in a thesis statement like, “The federal government should act now on climate change.” The topic is just too large to actually say something new and meaningful. Instead, a more effective thesis statement might be, “Local governments can combat climate change by providing citizens with larger recycling bins and offering local classes about composting and conservation.” This is easier to work with because it’s a smaller idea, but you can also discuss the overall topic that you might be interested in, which is climate change.

So, now that we know what makes a good, solid thesis statement, you can start to write your own.

You MUST email me your thesis statement no later than 11:59pm cst on Monday, June 22nd.

Please make sure your thesis topic is over a specific piece, or pulls parallels/themes from multiple pieces by the same author. You must pick pieces from the three genres we are focusing on, poetry; drama; short fiction.

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