RESEARCH  ESSAY  

Dietel-­‐McLaughlin  /  WR  13300  /  Fall  2011  
Paper Requirements
⇒ Address a topic of interest to you, while also engaging a theme of the course ⇒ Present a clearly articulated, well-reasoned, focused argument to a specific audience ⇒ Develop key points with examples, evidence, and analysis

Over  the  past  several   weeks,  you  have   developed  a  variety  of   important  critical  thinking   and  writing  skills.   Specifically,  you’ve   learned  how  to  write  with   compelling  clarity  and   detail,  how  to  read,   summarize,  analyze,  and   synthesize  sources,  and   how  to  craft  an  organized,   focused,  fully  supported   argument  for  a  specific   audience  and  purpose.    

Your  research  topic  should   somehow  engage  the  broad   themes  of  our  course   (digital  identity  and   community).  Within  that   broad  theme,  your  topic   should  be  1)  of  interest  and   importance  to  you,  2)   narrow  enough  in  scope  to   be  adequately  discussed  in   a  10-­‐page  paper,  and  3)   broad  enough  in  scope  that   you  will  be  able  to  locate  a   variety  of  credible  sources.  

⇒ Anticipate and respond to possible counterarguments ⇒ Use at least six credible sources ⇒ Follow MLA format and citation guidelines ⇒ Be 8-10 pages in length.

DUE:    NOV  11    
  (by  11:55  p.m.,  via  Sakai.  Save   as  LastFirst_RES.doc)  

This  essay  will  draw  from   Other Requirements all  of  the  skills  listed   Before  turning  in  your  finished  essay,  you  will  be  asked  to  complete   above  and  will  also  orient   several  smaller  tasks  along  the  way.  Most  importantly,  you  will  be   you  to  the  realm  of   required  to  turn  in  a  research  proposal  and  exploratory  draft   independent  research.  You   early  in  your  research  process,  so  that  I  can  get  a  sense  for  the   will  research  a  controversy   direction  your  work  is  taking.  You  will  compile  an  annotated   relevant  to  your  interests     bibliography  to  organize  your  research.  You  will  give  a  short   and  our  course  theme  and   presentation  of  your  major  research  findings  to  your  peers.  We  will   will  develop  an  argument  for   talk  more  about  these  smaller  projects  in  class.   an  audience  of  your   choosing.    

 

Inventing a Topic
There  are  many  strategies  for  finding  a  viable  topic,  but  one  of  the  best  approaches  is  to  begin   asking  questions  about  communities  that  are  of  interest  to  you.  Here  are  some  examples:     Academics/Career:  How  is  your  intended  field  of  study  challenged  by  some  of  the  issues  we’ve  been  
discussing  in  class?  How  are  these  issues  reflected  in  the  experiences  of  Notre  Dame  students?     • What  is  the  greatest  ethical  issue  in  digital  marketing?  How  should  that  issue  be  addressed?   • What  can  the  medical  community  learn  from  the  popularity  of  online  Web  sources  like  WebMD?   • What  do  graduating  Notre  Dame  engineering  students  need  to  know  about  digital  identity?  

  Hobbies:  How  are  the  issues  we’ve  been  discussing  relevant  to  those  hobbies?    
• •

  Social  Concerns/Current  Events:  What’s  in  the  news?  What  about  recent  happenings  on  campus?    
• • Should  Indiana  craft  legislation  forbidding  teachers  and  students  to  interact  on  social   networking  sites?   To  what  extent  do  recent  developments  in  social  media  (e.g.,  Google+,  Facebook’s  friend  groups   and  timeline  feature,  etc)  reflect  changing  notions  of  friendship  and  community?    

Should  Notre  Dame  student  athletes  be  required  to  delete  their  social  networking  accounts?   What  social,  economic,  or  psychological  factors  might  be  contributing  to  the  “brony”  trend?   How  does  the  notion  of  the  “tethered  self”  impact  religious  communities  that  have  historically   been  slow  to  adopt  new  technologies?  

The “Dos” and “Don’ts” of Research Writing
• DO  investigate  a  topic  that   interests  you.  If  you’re   bored,  then  your  readers   will  be  bored,  too!   DO  look  for  opportunities  to   create  NEW  knowledge   through  your  fresh   perspective  on  the  topic.   DO  draw  from  a  variety  of   credible  sources.   DO  synthesize  source   material  to  add  richness  and   complexity  to  your   argument.   DO  cite  all  source  material   accurately  and  responsibly.   DO  research  and  respond   thoughtfully  to   counterarguments.       • DON’T  turn  your  paper   into  a  “report”  about  your   topic.  Keep  your  essay   argumentative.   DON’T  rely  on  just  one   source  (or  one  TYPE  of   source).   DON’T  use  sources  that   your  audience  may  not   see  as  credible.   DON’T  lose  track  of  your   audience   Need and  purpose.  

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Help?

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Dr.  Erin:  edietelm@nd.edu     Leslie  Morgan  (Librarian):   lmorgan1@nd.edu     The  Writing  Center:   http:/writingcenter.nd.edu  

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