In Unit 3, we are focusing on organizing your writing and clarifying your ideas so that they appeal to specific audience values. Unit 3 activities help us practice strategies of thesis writing, using support, counterarguing, and qualifying positions. At this point, we have everything in place to begin putting our skills together to write a longer, research-based essay.
Write a research essay in which you analyze a problem of wide interest to one or more social groups and offer a specific insight, perspective, strategy, or policy that addresses the problem in ways that will move the conversation forward.
In your research essay, define the problem and address its social context. What existing perspectives give relevance and urgency to the problem? Contribute something new to the issue: a solution, new strategy, solution, policy, perspective, or insight into the problem that addresses the challenges of the issue. As you write, make sure that the purpose of your argument is clear and that your contribution to the issue anticipates possible implications of the problem that you have identified. Think about your own credibility as well: pay close attention to organization, academic conventions, rhetorical tools, and to the support you offer from outside sources.
The task of writing a research essay requires writers to demonstrate that they can make several moves at once.
- The writer must analyze a specific issue or problem in enough detail to convince an audience that the problem is relevant.
- The writer must also offer a specific approach or perspective that addresses the issue they identify by contributing new ideas, new solutions, or new research. This approach can include a combination of evaluating, responding, finding causes, proposing solutions, or extending existing arguments, but it must offer more than summary of current research.
- In structuring the essay, the writer must give enough context to convey the relevance and urgency of the issue to one or more social groups. The writer must also acknowledge other existing perspectives and appeal to these perspectives where possible. Overall, the goal is to move the conversation about the issue forward by leaving audiences with new insights, understandings, or perspectives on the challenges the issue poses.
- The writer must also decide about form and formal conventions. Research essays typically take the form of academic arguments, which show original thinking and offer insight into issues with reference to outside research. However, alternative or additional forms for the essay are possible for this assignment. Ask your instructor for advice if your want to explore alternatives to the traditional essay.
- Using evidence from reliable sources, the writer will support their insight into a social or cultural issue and address how their insight might contribute positively to the way an audience perceives the problem or takes action in relation to it.
- The writer will use rhetorical skills, writing strategies, and habits of critical thinking that they have learned in their first-year writing courses to write this essay. The essay will serve as an index of the rhetorical abilities, writing processes, and knowledge about writing that the writer has learned in first-year writing.
In this project, you will
- Present a well-researched, social or cultural issue that is relevant to the writer as well as to one or more contemporary audiences
- Offer a specific way of approaching the issue that addresses its controversies or problems in ways that will appeal to specific audiences. This approach could include a combination of evaluating, responding, finding causes, proposing solutions, or extending existing arguments
- Give enough context to convey the relevance and urgency of the issue to one or more social groups.
- Acknowledge other existing perspectives on the issue and appeal to these perspectives where possible.
- Generously represent existing approaches to the topic and perspectives that are different than your own
- Contribute to the conversation about the issue by leaving audiences with new insights; understandings, or perspectives on the problem
- Choose an appropriate form and formal conventions for the essay
- Address how your insight might have a positive effect on the way an audience perceives the problem or takes action in relation to it.
- Make use of important skills in written communication and critical thinking, culminating in an essay that showcases your rhetorical abilities and writing processes.
- Explain insights that you have gained through careful study of the social or cultural issue in focus
- Offer a closer look at an interesting part of the issue that might otherwise be invisible
- Thoroughly consider long-term effects of the issue at stake, including consequences that affect various groups (stakeholders) involved in the issue.
- Use specific details drawn from close reading of texts, observed behaviors, interviews, or other evidence to support and clarify the main insights of the writing.
- Meet the expectations of an academic research essay in the conventions you choose of grammar, syntax, paragraph structure, and word choice.
- Follow expected academic conventions for all source material, including examples, observations, and sources from books or other texts.
- Format: Typed, double-spaced, submitted as a word-processing document.
- 12 point, text-weight font, 1-inch margins.
- Length: 1600 – 2500 words (approx. 7-10 pages)