Research Project Assignment
Statement of the assignment
Researching an Issue to Create a Call to Action
This research assignment involves idea generation (freewriting), focused research, synthesis of collected data and generated text, and presentation of findings in the form of a short-length research paper.
Elements of this assignment
- Statement of the issue at hand (1 page) which expresses your understanding of the context in which this issue is situated
- Dialogue (two 1-page position statements, each of which reflects your findings on two conflicting sides of your researched topic)
- Persuasive essay, or peroration, drawn from research (1-2 pages; this will most likely become the draft of your “call to action” which proposes a solution)
- Works Cited page, along with a photocopy or printout of the first body page of each source used
- Final Draft of paper which incorporates your argument and the major positions at stake within this topic (1000 word essay, 4-6 pages, typed, double spaced, 12 point standard font)
Your assignment for this research essay is to analyze a current social, environmental, or political issue and provide a recommendation for action. These topics are quite broad; for this essay project you will choose a topic and narrow it sufficiently to create a compelling, researchable, and arguable thesis.
For each of these topics, literally millions of pages have already been written. What I want from you is an exploration of the topic that gets several layers beneath the surface. What is the biggest debate in your topic area? Explore it in your dialogue. Then decide for yourself what matters, what people need to know, and what needs to happen. You might argue for systematic healthcare for children in America; you might argue for (or against) tying high-stakes testing to school funding; you might argue that leveling the standards in schools hurts more students than it helps, or that shifts need to happen beyond what NCLB proposes. Whatever it is, drill down, get the meaty information, and see what seems to matter.
Your sources for this paper must be very fresh. You can use only two sources (at most) that are more than 24 months old. For the rest of your research, you can quote ONLY from sources no more than 24 months old. If you cannot verify the age of your source (it’s an undated blog rather than a dated article, for instance), you cannot use it unless it is an “extra” source (not one of the 2). You’ll need at least 2 sources for this essay.
Please note: Several topics are off limits for this project:
- Gun control
- the Death Penalty
- anything to do with Welfare.
That leaves open many, many other topics, and I look forward to seeing what you might choose to pursue!