Project 4b: Researched Analysis (8-9 pages)
Due: draft Thursday, April 12 at 3:30pm in OAKS; revision Monday, April 23 at 3:30pm in OAKS
Reminder: Bring 2 copies of your draft to class on Thursday, April 12, for peer review.
Length: 8-9 pages total, including works cited page(s).
Note: Your essay itself will need to be 6-7 pages. The rest will be the works cited page(s).
Sources: 6 sources (which don’t need to have been on your annotated bibliography, but could have been)
Special note: Works cited page(s) does not equal annotated bibliography, but instead is the kind of works cited page you’ve produced for your other essays this semester, including no annotation and including entries for only those sources you wound up citing in the essay.
Before submitting your draft on April 12, take a close look at the features listed in the Evaluation section at the bottom of the assignment description.
The description of the course that I offered on the syllabus noted that we would spend the semester paying close attention to how language and education are arenas where culture is produced. This we have done, and will continue to do, through engaging with essays and images from Acting Out Culture and watching a film and programs addressing “How We Believe,” “How We Watch,” and “How We Learn.” One of these issues will guide your researched analysis.
This final formal essay for our class integrates the research and citation component required of all English 110 students. This means you will be responsible for finding your own scholarly research (a.k.a. “outside sources”), integrating them successfully into your essay, and documenting this research appropriately according to MLA rules and citation guidelines. In addition, you are responsible for writing a strong paper that makes a successful and original argument.
First Step: You need an idea for an argument you would like to make. This idea should come from one of our class readings. You may use any of the readings from our semester as a starting place (and potentially a source) for the paper you develop. Remember, you want an original topic, something fresh and interesting that you won’t mind researching and writing about. You might consider using Johnson or Dyson to develop an argument focusing on some aspect of public discourse and debate. You might also consider the status of American public education by using Kozol or Kohn. There are many possibilities.
Second step: Once you’ve decided on a broad topic you will need to narrow your focus to something more specific. For example:
Broad topic: Religion and public debate (using Johnson)
More specific: The role of atheism or agnosticism in making political decisions
Even more specific: Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act and the state’s irreligious populace
Thesis: (which must incorporate a persuasive claim)
In 1997, Oregon passed the nation’s first law allowing for physician-assisted suicide. In the aftermath, many feared that such so-called “death with dignity” laws would be enacted throughout the U.S. Those who supported such a development seem to have recognized what has in fact turned out to be the case: Oregon’s unusually irreligious populace supported this legal option in ways that more religious states such as Texas, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and even Massachusetts, simply wouldn’t.
Third step: Narrowing your topic is possible only through research, which is also necessary for you to build your paper once you’ve found your research angle (or thesis). You will need at least 6 sources. These sources don’t need to have been the ones included on your annotated bibliography.
Appropriate research integration is often a difficult task. We’ve been practicing this throughout the semester, with the use of quotes that are sufficiently introduced and explained, both in terms of your particular purpose in the essay at the point when you present the quote. Remember that the paper is, most importantly, your analysis. You are simply using research to further your argument (or at times, offer a counter perspective to your argument).
Remember the concern with dinner parties in Miller’s essay at the beginning of the semester? Assembling and integrating research can also be thought of in terms of hosting a dinner party: You want to invite interesting guests who will contribute something meaningful to the overall discussion. But you don’t want guests (or sources) who all say the same thing. They should be complementary, not redundant. Also, you don’t want one overly opinionated guest to dominate the discussion. As host (a.k.a. writer), you step in and steer the dinner conversation of your research paper. The paper is a record of your conversation with your sources, so imagine that your sources are “in conversation” with one another as you develop a larger argument and discussion.
Finally: You will be responsible for the proper in-text citation of your sources as well as a Works Cited page. The final step is less creative than the others, and your grade for this segment will be very straightforward—did you, or did you not document the sources correctly according to MLA guidelines?
Focused topic and thesis
see assistance in Steps 1-3, above
Effectiveness of argument
evidence, explanation, inclusion of naysayer (see TSIS chapter 6 )
the overall structure you produced as part of your Proposal should help here
work deliberately on transitioning, from paragraph to paragraph and from idea to idea (see TSIS chapter 8 )
Balance of Sources
don’t depend overly on just one of your sources
follow samples we discussed in TSIS chapter 3, framing every quote (using quote sandwiches)
if you’ve been suffering from comma splices and sentence fragments, pay special attention to this
everyone should proofread even the draft carefully before submitting
seek assistance from the OWL online resource, whenever needed
Works Cited Page
return to your graded Annotated Bibliography for reminders on this