Throughout the semester, we have discussed numerous aspects of race and culture: language, education, racial inequality, freedom, racial segregation etc. Now it is your chance to choose the topic that most interested you and to turn it into your final project of the semester. For the Research Essay, you will write a thesis-driven essay about your chosen topic of a cultural issue. You do not have to connect race or American culture to this final essay. You will construct this essay by utilizing sources that attempt to answer any of the research questions that you develop in class and/or list in your Proposal (which we will go over). You will construct this essay by utilizing sources that attempt to answer any of the research questions that you develop in Discussion Board #12 and/or list in your Proposal, which is due the same week as Discussion Board #12.
For your final writing assignment, you will write a thesis-driven argument using a minimum of seven scholarly sources:
In this essay, you will join a critical conversation surrounding the topic of your choosing. You will join the conversation by formulating a research question, finding out what is being said in the critical conversation in response to the question, and position your own argument on the issue. In order to formulate your own stance on the topic, you must research a variety of perspectives on that topic by using your critical thinking skills.
In this essay, you will make an analytical argument in response to your research question. This is not a book report. You are expected to think critically and independently about your topic. Researched academic essays should NOT be a mere compilation of sources; rather, the sources should be used to develop your own ideas on the topic. All papers should have an original thesis that enters into the conversation occurring about your chosen research question. Papers must use textual evidence to support their points and use the skills of quotation, summary, and paraphrase to work with sources.
The Research Essay introduction needs to have a creative element that draws the reader in. Ask yourself, what can I put in my introduction that will entice my reader and encourage them to keep reading for 8 to 10 pages. A creative element can be your personal story about your topic, a song lyric, famous quote, and so on. The introduction and the optional context section are the only places that you can put a non-scholarly source or share your personal story. Remember, all sources must be cited and that is the same for your creative element. You also need 3 to 4 thesis statements. This is a long essay and you need several thesis statements. You already came up with three thesis statements (claims) in Discussion Board #12 on step 1 “Conducting and Work Shopping Research Question.” You created three claims on step 2 and those are your thesis statements. You can put these thesis statements anywhere in your introduction. Those are the only requirements for what to incorporate in your introduction. Now for the introduction itself, you need 2 to 3 introduction paragraphs that cannot be longer than one and a half pages. Remember, an introduction is meant to introduce the reader to the writer’s topic and main claims, so because this essay is longer, your introduction needs to be longer. It is up to you on how you want to format your introduction paragraphs. You can spread your thesis statements in all of your introduction paragraphs or have them all in the same introduction paragraph. It is completely up to you, but I want more than one introduction paragraph and no longer than a page and a half.
Cultural/Historical Context Section
This section is optional and will be located directly after your introduction and before your body paragraphs where you will be arguing and supporting your thesis statements. This section is to help the reader either understand the history of your topic or the cultural context of your topic before reading about your specific argument. Ask yourself, does the reader need either a historical or cultural context about my topic before reading my specific argument about my topic? If the answer is yes, then you should incorporate this section. For example- My topic is police brutality and I want to give reader the historical context of this topic. I would probably discuss the history of police brutality in our country and include the Rodney King case. And if I thought it would be more beneficial to give a cultural context of the topic, I would discuss what is currently happening in culture with police brutality. Again, this section is optional but is definitely beneficial to the reader. This section should not be longer than a page and a half and has to be placed after the introduction and before the body paragraphs. Please look at the next page for an example of how to format this section. You can use sources in this section but they must be cited properly and in your works cited page. The sources in this section do not have to be scholarly but will not count towards the mandatory 7 scholarly sources.
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