· Research and analyze a significant problem or issue
· Explore the problem and narrate your thinking process in an exploratory essay
· Examine the problem dialectically, find relevant sources, and build an effective research
Compose an exploratory essay (at least three full pages in length) where you examine a local, state or national problem or issue of current public controversy from a variety of perspectives, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different positions and points of view.
At the beginning of your essay, explain:
· Why you are interested in this problem,
· Why you think it is significant (tells the audience why you care and why they should care), and
· Why you have been unable to reach a satisfactory answer.
Then, write a chronologically organized (the order in which you started and completed the research steps) narrative account of your thinking process as you investigate the selected problem or issue.
Point of View in Exploratory Writing:
· Use the first person (I, me, and mine) point of view when discussing your actions.
· Then, use the third-person point of view when you introduce and discuss information collected from various research articles.
Use a combination of
· personal experience (limit to 1-2 examples in the essay),
· field research (interviews with family, friends, coworkers, and so on), and
· library/Internet research to build your article. No less than three research articles and no more than five. Use current research articles that are within no older than 5-7 years. For historical context, you may use an article that was published earlier than 7 years ago, but the majority of your articles must be current and relevant to the issue.
· Please note that you are not to use websites such as Wikipedia, About.com and other such commercial websites as research sources. Doing so will earn you a zero-grade on the essay. Newspaper websites such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Dallas Morning News, CNN.com and so on are more reliable.
Provide in-text citations and Works Cited page for field research and library/Internet articles used in the essay.
YouTube Video “Evaluating Sources for Credibility”: https://youtu.be/PLTOVoHbH5c
Posing Your Problem:
A valuable kind of problem to explore for this assignment is a current public controversy (local or domestic). Often such issues involve disagreements about facts and values that merit open-ended exploration. This assignment invites you to explore and clarify where you stand on such public issues such as health care reform, energy policies, government response to terrorism, public concerns about candidates running for local, state, or national elections, and so forth.
Topics that you CANNOT select for this essay:
· Abortion, gay marriage, death penalty, stem-cell research, illegal immigration, DREAM Act, and global warming. These are broad topics that will require more than three pages in order to be discussed well and therefore, beyond the scope of our assignment.
FRAMEWORK FOR EXPLORATORY ESSAY: Figure 7.1 pg. 153
This assignment calls for a multi-paragraph essay which should include an introduction (with a research question at the end of the paragraph), multiple body paragraphs, and conclusion. Use the framework for exploratory essay in order to organize your essay in a cohesive manner.
RESEARCH QUESTION DEVELOPMENT
Sample research questions from chapter 7, A& B textbook:
· Why on average are males more attracted to video games than females? Are these games harmful to males?
· Have online social networks such as Facebook improved or harmed the lives of participants? Why?
· The most popular magazine sold on college campuses are women’s fashion and lifestyle magazines such as Glamour, Elle, and Cosmopolitan. Why do women buy these magazines? Are these magazines harmful?
In this essay, your goal is NOT to argue for or against an identified problem or issue, rather focus on understanding where the different perspectives arise from and to form a holistic understanding of the issue.
SAMPLE STUDENT EXPLORATORY ESSAY:
· Kent Ansen, “Should the United States Establish Mandatory Public Service for Young Adults?”, pgs. 160-64.
· Example with annotations provided in Step 1 of Unit 3 in eCampus.
In this unit, along with draft development, you will practice and improve on the writing skills identified in Chapter 17, namely 17.5, 17.6, 17.7, and 17.8.
Apply the following writing skills as you compose the rough draft:
· Introduction: Underline the research question at the end of the introduction.
· Body Paragraphs (skill 17.5): For each body paragraph, underline the topic sentence of that paragraph that highlights a specific point that you plan to discuss in that paragraph.
· Content Development: Apply the MEAL paragraph format strategy in conjunction with skill 17.8, pgs. 462-66)
· Transition Words (skill 17.6): Select any one of your body paragraphs and highlight all the transition words used to move smoothly from one sentence to the next.
· Old/New Contract (skill 17.7): Using a different body paragraph (do not use the one you used to highlight transitions), identify the use of the old/new contract in each sentence of that paragraph:
· Bracket] the old information in the sentence.
· Italicize the new information in the sentence.
QUALITIES OF SUCCESSFUL EXPLORATORY ESSAYS (pgs. 152-54)
1. Show how you chose sources purposefully and reflectively rather than randomly.
- Give your draft both open-form and closed-form features.
Show yourself wrestling with the ideas and perspectives.
FORMAT FOR ALL WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS
1. Typed (Times New Roman, 12 point font) 2. Double-spaced 3. MLA Heading (in the upper left hand corner): your full name, instructor’s full name, course and section number, and date [dd/month/yyyy]. 4. Main title for the assignment should be centered [no bold or underline]. 5. Page header (upper right hand corner): last name [space] page number.
The essay exhibits originality of thought in stating a stimulating and insightful central idea that is ideally suited to the essay’s specific audience and purpose.
The essay exhibits a central idea that is well-suited to the essay’s specific audience and purpose.
The essay exhibits a central idea that may lack depth or state the obvious and/or may need more narrowing or expanding for the essay’s specific audience and purpose.
The essay states a central idea that is misaligned with the essay’s actual ideas.
The essay does not exhibit a central idea.
All ideas in the paper flow logically. Paragraphs are unified and effective in support of the paper’s purpose. The writer uses effective and appropriate transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
Most ideas in the paper flow logically. Most paragraphs are unified and effective in support of the paper’s purpose. The writer frequently uses effective and appropriate transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
Some ideas in the paper flow logically. Some paragraphs are unified and effective in support of the paper’s purpose. The writer occasionally uses effective and appropriate transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
Many ideas in the paper do not flow logically. Many paragraphs are not unified and are ineffective in support of the paper’s purpose. The writer occasionally uses ineffective and inappropriate transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
Most ideas in the paper do not flow logically. Paragraphs are not unified and are ineffective in support of the paper’s purpose. The writer frequently uses ineffective and inappropriate transitions between ideas and paragraphs.
Ideas demonstrate critical thinking with clarity, accuracy and depth. Ideas are supported using actual and/or hypothetical examples, statistics, expert opinion, evidence, and/or reasons.
Ideas demonstrate critical thinking with clarity and accuracy but with little variety of supporting evidence. Each major idea is supported.
Each major idea has some support, but individual concepts may have little elaboration or illustration and may (in a research essay) rely more on source material than on the writer’s original ideas.
Quantity of support for ideas is small to non-existent. In a research essay, sources are overused, but little supporting evidence expresses the writer’s own ideas.
Quantity of support for ideas is small to non-existent. In a research essay, the writer depends too heavily on sources for development. Some major ideas are not developed at all. Paragraphs may contain support that does not relate to the paragraphs’ main ideas.
STYLE AND MECHANICS
The essay exhibits excellent academic tone and diction: it includes no repetition, offers varied sentence structure, is stylistically original, and chooses effective words and phrases. The essay has no comma splices or run-on sentences or other errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, and mechanics.
The essay exhibits good academic tone and diction. Although the essay may have minor repetitions and lack some originality, it has variety in sentence structure, is stylistically competent, and exhibits generally effective word and phrase choices. The essay has minimal errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, and mechanics; these minimal errors do not obstruct meaning.
The essay exhibits acceptable academic tone and diction, is frequently repetitious, lacks variety in sentence structure, and lacks stylistic awareness. The essay may have several usage, word, and/or phrase choice errors and has consistent errors in punctuation, spelling, grammar, and/or mechanics; however, the errors do not obstruct meaning.
The essay exhibits a lack of academic tone and diction, is frequently repetitious, has little to no variety in sentence structure. The essay has numerous usage errors and errors in word and phrase choices as well as spelling, punctuation, grammar, and mechanics; these errors obstruct meaning.
The essay fails to demonstrate college-level academic tone and diction, spelling, punctuation, grammar, and mechanics. These errors seriously obscure meaning.
If the essay uses outside sources, the sources are integrated smoothly. The writer engages with the works of others. The essay includes correctly formatted in-text citations and a correct Works Cited page.
If the essay uses outside sources, the sources are attributed and integrated into the writer’s own work. The writer engages with the works of others. The essay includes correctly formatted in-text citations and a correct Works Cited page.
If the essay uses outside sources, the sources are attributed and for the most part integrated into the writer’s own work. The writer somewhat engages the works of others. In-text citations lead clearly to a correct Works Cited page.
If the essay uses outside sources, the sources are poorly integrated and/or do not support the essay significantly. In-text citations are incorrect or missing, and/or the Works Cited page is incorrect or missing.
If the essay uses outside sources, the sources are poorly integrated and do not support the essay significantly. In-text citations are missing. The Works Cited page is incorrect or missing.
The essay follows MLA guidelines.
The essay follows MLA guidelines.
The essay follows MLA guidelines.
The essay mostly follows MLA guidelines.
The essay mostly does not follow MLA guidelines.