Unit 3 Assignment: Addressing Issues Research Essay
- 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)
- Value: This project will be graded out of 100 possible points, and will be part of the Unit 3 Assignment grade, worth 30% of the grade for the course.
In Unit 1, you focused on reading the published writing of other writers critically in order to begin developing your own “invitations” into topics that interest you. You used textual analysis to break down the context, voice, thesis, and other elements of existing written texts. You also used invention strategiesto begin exploring specific issues that interested you as you read and reflected. Finally, you exercised your critical literacy skills in order to evaluate the content and context of sources.
In Unit 2, you have been studying ways to define the context for the issue you are writing about in order to help audiences understand why the issue is relevant to their interests. You also have been learning about synthesis: a rhetorical tool for connecting sources and ideas that may initially seem to be unrelated.
In Unit 3, you have been focusing on organizing your writing and clarifying your ideas so that they are appealing to specific audience values. You have been practicing with strategies of thesis writing, using support, counterarguing, and qualifying your position. At this point, you have everything in place to begin putting your 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? Offer a novel strategy, solution, policy, perspective, or insight into the problem that you believe addresses the problem in ways that audiences will value and support. As you write, make sure that the purpose of your argument is clear and that your proposed strategy or insight addresses the possible implications of the problem that you have identified. Additionally, make sure that your writing shows careful attention to organization, academic conventions, and to the support you offer from outside sources.
The task of writing a research essay requires students 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 (if not solving it outright). This approach could include a combination of evaluating, responding, finding causes, proposing solutions, or extending existing arguments
- 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 problem.
- 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 may be explored with instructor permission and advice.
- Using evidence from reliable sources, the writer will support their insight into a social or cultural issue and address how their insight might have a positive effect on the way an audience perceives the problem or takes action in relation to it.
- The writer will make use of important skills in written communication and critical thinking, culminating in an essay that showcases their rhetorical abilities and writing processes.
In order to finish this project, we will have completed the following parts together by the end of this unit:
- Invention/Prewriting: Collect and submit several pages of the invention work you complete in preparation for writing the Definition and Synthesis essay. Specifically, include your observation notes following the questions recommended in the CEL (p. 108-110)
- Revised Research Proposal: Write a brief research proposal for your topic for the Unit 3: Addressing Issues Research Essay. For this proposal, revise and/or rewrite your previous work from the Unit 1 proposal assignment.
- Draft(s): Include at least one pre-revised draft of your essay. The draft needs to meet the word count of 1000 words and must also apply formatting requirements for the project—in other words it must be complete. Make sure that your draft is clearly marked “draft.”
- Peer Review/Teamwork Report: We will peer-review process through our discussion board on Canvas. You will need to submit your draft and provide thoughtful and targeted feedback to your peers to earn the peer review points for this unit. In addition, you will need to complete the Unit 3 Teamwork Report survey assigned for this project.
- Research Essay: Your final submission of the Addressing Issues Research Essay assignment. The final submission needs to show revision of your original draft(s) to incorporate the changes recommended by your peers and feedback from your instructor. This final should meet all of the assignment criteria, and will be evaluated with the Unit 3 Writing Assignment rubric below.
- Reflective Self-Analysis: The essay submission will also require you to complete a reflective self-analysis assignment. This assignment is a short reflective essay analyzing the effectiveness of the research essay you created for this unit. In the self-analysis, you will use passages from your own writing and pre-writing as evidence for the claims you make evaluating your own writing process and writing strategies.
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
- Move the conversation about the issue forward 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. F
- Follow expected academic conventions for all source material, including examples and observations.