Writing Assignment 3 – Research Project
Why we are doing this:
No matter what your major, you will be asked to write research papers for some of your courses
at UCSC. In these papers you will be demonstrating both your understanding of topics related to
your courses and your ability to clearly express your ideas in writing. To do this well, you will
need to know how to find relevant sources, how to assess and extract information from these
sources, and restate and synthesize this information in an organized manner to support your
own conclusions. The purpose of this assignment is to give you practice with these skills in the
context of learning about a subject that you find interesting and engaging.
What will you do:
You have identified a broad topic of interest to you and perhaps begun some initial research.
This week, you will develop a focused research question about this topic and consider what
academic discipline your topic falls under. You will also begin gathering and analyzing scholarly
sources related to your question. For Writing Assignment 3, your task is to compose a research
paper that makes an argument addressing this question and supports this argument using
evidence from the literature you have gathered.
In this paper, you must:
-Develop a main idea or argument
-Assess and synthesize evidence from at least eight sources
-Explain how this evidence supports your conclusions
-Cite your sources using MLA or APA, as most appropriate for your discipline
Using the Sources
Keep in mind that a significant part of the work for this project involves finding, evaluating, and
analyzing your sources. This is part of the writing process, and your paper will reflect the effort
you put into assembling and interpreting a sufficient number of relevant sources. Using the
databases we have talked about, visiting the library, and talking to a librarian can all be useful
parts of this process.
You need to use at least eight sources, and of these at least four need to be scholarly
sources from peer reviewed research/academic journals or books. The other four sources may
also be scholarly, or you may use:
-gray literature (e.g. government and technical reports, working papers, etc.)
-articles from ‘intellectual periodicals (e.g. The New Yorker, The New Republic,
The Nation, The New York Times Magazine)
-articles from reputable news sources (e.g PBS, NPR, The New York Times, The
Which, if any, of these additional types of sources may be appropriate for your paper will
depend on your topic. Be critical about the credibility and relevance to your project of all of your
sources, even if they are from an explicitly approved publication. If you are uncertain about the
acceptability of a source, please ask me.
Mistakes to avoid:
Remember that your instructor and peers will be part of the audience for your paper and they
may not be familiar with your topic or sources. Please provide enough background information
that an ‘intelligent but uninformed reader’ can understand your argument.
2000-2500 words (include word count), double spaced, 12 pt Times New Roman font
Cite at least eight sources, including:
-at least four scholarly sources
-Works Cited or Reference List
-Format citations using MLA or APA
-Outline (in class activity)
-Peer Review worksheet
-Draft 1 with peer comments (printed or shared via email/Google Drive)
Argument – Does your paper develop a coherent argument or main idea?
Evidence – Do you effectively use evidence from multiple sources to support this idea?
Are these sources reliable, recent, and relevant to your argument?
Organization – Is your paper organized in manner that facilitates the reader’s
understanding and supports your ideas?
Style – Is the style appropriate for the discipline your topic is most closely related to?
Readability – Has the paper been edited for grammar and punctuation? Are there errors
that interfere with the reader’s ability to understand your argument?
Citations – Do you use the required type and number of sources? Do you properly cite
them both in the body of paper and in a reference list?
Draft 1 (emailed to your writing group) – Sunday, February 16, by midnight
Draft 2 (including listed previous assignments) – Wednesday, February 26
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