Goals of essaylw
- Develop a research paper topic based on personal interests and experience
- To cultivate curiosity and interest in the world at large
- Demonstrate ability to organize and develop a 9 page paper
- Gain proficiency with an academic form critical for continued college success
- Understand quality of research sources
- Learn to use sources other than the internet
- Use summary, quotes, paraphrases accurately
- Use correct MLA format, including in-text citations and works cited.
- Write a thesis statement appropriate for a longer paper
- Practice using freewriting or other getting started strategy to articulate your connection to the topic
- Improve grammar and sentence structure
For you final research paper, you may choose a topic that interests you. My intention is that essay #2 or #3 can be developed into a full research paper. In some cases, if your original essay is strong, you might even just add pages to it. Hopefully, essays #2 and #3 give you a chance to explore a topic of interest and to test out its adequacy for a longer paper. However, you do not HAVE to write a research paper related to the California dream theme of the semester. If you change your topic after the research proposal, be sure to get my approval via the research paper proposal. I ask that you use a minimum of three resources, and the quality of the sources will be factored into your final grade.
Special considerations for this essay form
1. Pick a topic that will enable you to write an objective analysis (your English 120 book refers to these as Informational). I do not want a persuasive paper; in other words, do not start your paper with the goal of proving some belief system you already have. Instead, the key to approaching an objective research essaylw is to be curious about a topic. If you are setting out to prove something, then you will not be thorough and open to all points of view. For this reason, I do not want any research papers on abortion or gun control.
2. Try to find a topic that is not overdone. Taking some time to scan newspapers or news magazines might yield a topic you hadn’t considered before. Try reviewing essay topics from our textbook; we will not be reading all the essays so that scanning the table of contents might give you ideas.
3. Be sure your essay is well organized around a thesis.
4. Do not simply gather data (what to do on a vacation in Florence, Italy or the history of. . or a bunch of facts about cannabis.). Gathering data is a report, not an analysis. You are going to state a claim about your topic. Researching a disease is a topic that is particularly susceptible to reporting, what I call a “data dump.” Avoid this topic or be very sure you are analyzing some aspect of it.
5. Do not expect to know your thesis statement when you start out. You might have some notions, but the thesis should come with thorough research.
6. Use quotes and paraphrases to support your claims and be sure that for each you have an in-text citation. However be careful not to overuse these; in other words, research is not a pasting together of other people’s thoughts. Avoid use of longer quotes, but, if they are important to support a claim, use block quotes for quotes over two sentences.
7. The tone of the research paper is more formal than any of the papers we’ve written so far. Poetic language or first person experience is not appropriate, unless you are using specific personal experience that clearly supports a claim. One exception to this guideline might be in your introductory paragraph, where you could indicate how your personal experience led to your research project. In addition, you may use “I” in reference to primary research, such as interviews.