English 151: Research Essay
Requirement Checklist for Assignment:
Due Date: Due on or before 5:00 pm PT December 11, 2020; please see the course outline for information concerning late assignments. Three weeks to write five paragraphs is ample time to finish the assignment on time.
Purpose: to ARGUE for three positives or three negatives on a contemporary topic of social significance in Canada / to objectively persuade your reader/ to give further practice writing using academic structure
Format: Double-spaced/ 12 font/ Times New Roman/ Ariel/ WORD DOCUMENT
Title: Top of page/14 font; EX: Sealing the Deal: The Benefits of the Canadian Seal Hunt
Autobiographical Information: As with the other assignments, first and last name, course, date.
Topic: one topic; Canadian context – current topical Canadian issue
Thesis: Mapping thesis or Exploratory thesis required (examples of Exploratory thesis are provided in the unit)/ three distinct, clearly articulated positives or negatives in the thesis as practiced throughout term
Paragraphs: Five paragraphs required: Introduction paragraph, three Body paragraphs, and a Conclusion paragraph
Sentence structure: grammatical/ sentence structure variety/ justification of every word/ correct punctuation
Spot Quotations: two quote minimum/ three quote maximum/ recognized authority. An essay without two quotes will not receive a passing grade. An essay that does not have the minimum of two quotes from two separate and distinct experts in the field will not receive a passing grade. Ipso facto, an essay must contain at least two quotes from two recognized authorities as a requirement
Diction: Standard English
Audience: Academic (no colloquial language)
Word Count: 850-1000 words(please include at end of essay). Please Note: an essay over or under the minimum or maximum word count will receive a failing grade on the assignment. An assignment that does not include the word count will be subject to a deduction in marks for the assignment
- Overall Objective:
- The assignment is an argument (approached with the same respectful, calm tone as the reactionary summary) that uses quotes from a minimum of two and a maximum of three reputable sources to argue for three positives OR three negatives concerning a current contemporary topic to do specifically with Canada; a current contemporary topic, in other words, of Canadian social significance.
- Students will choose to argue one side of the issue using a mapping thesis or an exploratory thesis using the same structure as in previous assignments; the thesis will clearly articulate the three positives or three negatives to the contemporary Canadian issue.
- The research essay, in other words, must choose one side or the other of a relevant Canadian social topic.
- Approach to Structure:
The assignment can be approached using the same methods employed over the course of the term for all other assignments. All the assignments in the course have been five paragraph assignments; they just haven’t been divided up as they will be for the research assignment.
- Rhetorical Hook: the introduction should introduce the overall topic context using a rhetorical hook. I have provided the examples of the required choice of structural approaches to the rhetorical hook in the lectures that I would like you to choose from. Assignments must follow the structure provided for the rhetorical hook.
- Thesis: The rhetorical hook should transition and narrow to a clearly articulated mapping or exploratory thesis (examples of exploratory will be provided, but it is your choice). You have many examples of the mapping thesis from term, and I have provided additional examples in the lectures as further support.
- Three Balanced and Correctly Structured Body Paragraphs: Each body paragraph must have a clear standalone topic sentence that indicates a specific piece of evidence to prove the mapping thesis, a middle section that introduces the “evidence quotation” in a small 1-3 sentence “spot” quote (a “spot” quote is the term for sentence quotes), supporting sentences that interpret and explanation “in other words” how the “evidence quotation” supports the thesis, and a final concluding sentence that starts with a transition such as “Therefore,” “Thus,” “Consequently,” “As such,” (and so on) that states specifically what has been proven in the paragraph. Therefore, the concluding sentence in each body paragraph should answer the question what have I proven in the paragraph?
- Concluding Paragraph: A concluding paragraph that mirrors the introduction for size. These should be the shortest paragraphs in the essay. The conclusion should not have a quotation. The conclusion should begin with an appropriate transition. The conclusion should first answer the question “what have I proven?” which will mean a return to the thesis statement, followed by the answer to the question, “why does it matter?”
- There is very little research to the assignment as the main focus is on logical structure and supporting the argument. General knowledge of background information on the topic is obviously helpful.
- Determining the three benefits/positives or the three negatives of the topic involves a simple Google search for ideas. After determining the three positives or the three negatives, the next step is to find 2-3 spot quotes for support from different articles (you can use quotations from within articles if someone is quoting an expert in the article). I have provided suggestions for Google searches (like the CBC webpage and archive) and links to the Camosun Library database to ensure recognized authorities are being used for the spot quotes.
- The assignment involves finding a minimum of two and a maximum of three spot quotations from a minimum of two different sources. There should only be one quotation in a paragraph. These quotes should provide clear, meaningful information that supports your topic sentence directly and your thesis overall. As noted earlier, the essay requires a minimum of two and maximum of three spot quotes correctly introduced and interpreted.
- NB: The research findings for your spot quotes do not need to be Canadian; however, the topics are of a Canadian focus and therefore, for the most part, the research should reflect that perspective. Canadian publications such as different articles on your topic from CBC are good sources for the assignment. You could, for example, use two different articles and two different quotes from CBC to meet the requirement.
- There is no shortage of information from sources such as CBC that relate to the topic ideas provided below. Therefore, information sourced from outside of Canada can still be used as long as the findings show a clear relevance and draw a parallel or comparison that promotes the persuasiveness of the argument. This is often more difficult to do but has been accomplished by students in the past successfully.
- IMPORTANT: The majority of the writing is yours (like upwards of 80%): the writing in the introduction is yours, the topic sentences, the context leading into quotes, the supporting sentences that explain how the quotes make your thesis true, and the concluding sentences of paragraphs should all be your words.
- Any act of plagiarism, as with the other assignments, will result in an automatic zero for the assignment. This is in keeping with the College policy on academic honesty, and will be exercised if necessary, in fairness to all students. With the exception of using quotation to prove your thesis, this assignment, as with our other assignments, can for the most part be written on your own.
- Guard against the question “how do you know that? If I need to ask how do you know that, or where did this information come from, that is going to create doubt, a lack of ethos, and possibly me searching for the information. For example, if someone were to state the KM of the coastline of Greenland without reference, I would automatically ask, how do they know that, or where is that technical information located? Therefore, information outside general knowledge should be sourced: According to “the title of wherever the information can be found,” the coastline of Greenland is…. There should be few examples of this situation, but be sure to go through and proofread to make sure.
- The topic for the research/argument essay can be taken from the list below; an individual topic that is not on the list or embedded in the lectures must be cleared with me by the end of Week Twelve.
- An individual topic not cleared will not receive credit for the assignment.
- Once again, please note that a student who invents a topic not on the list must ensure that the focus is on a current contemporary Canadian issue and is cleared by the end of Week Twelve before writing begins.
- Topic Narrowing:
- The objective of this part of the assignment is to choose one topic area and then narrow it down to a more specific topic and an opinion about the topic. Here is a model for the process one can undertake for any of the topics below to narrow the topic and arrive at a functional mapping thesis statement:
Step one: General Topic: Hockey
Step two: Point of debate: Fighting in hockey (which technically isn’t permitted, anyway)
Step three: Exploratory question: Should fighting be permitted in ice hockey?
Step four: Answer/thesis: Fighting should not be permitted in the game of ice hockey in Canada because reason one, reason two, reason three; Or Fighting should be permitted in the game of ice hockey in Canada because reason one, reason two, reason three
- Topic areas:
- Here are the general topic areas. A student may choose from the list below or invent a topic that must be cleared by the end of Week Twelve. The listed topics are only places to start. The next step is to narrow the topic as indicated in the above steps.
- A reminder that an individual topic and thesis must be cleared by me by the end of Week Twelve and before the writing process begins.
1. Northwest Passage
2. The Canadian military: women in combat
3. The seal hunt in Canada
4. Assisted suicide in Canada
5. Genetically modified foods in Canada
6. Should businesses be required to have women on the board of governors?
7. Government monitoring of phone calls and emails
8. Environmental regulations on business to reduce carbon emissions
10. Indigenous Peoples
11. Drones for commercial purposes
12. Nuclear energy in Canada
13. Olympic athletes
14. Quebec sovereignty
15. Food waste
16. Fracking in Canada, or the Trans-mountain pipeline expansion
17. Legalization of Marijuana
18. Minimum voting age
19. Should there be more or less privatization of hospital and healthcare services?
20. Single payer healthcare plan
21. Should there be more restrictions on the current process of purchasing a gun?
22. The Canadian film industry
23. Fish farms
24. Safe Injection Sites
7. Citation: Works Cited (MLA) /References (APA): You may use either MLA or APA format for the assignment
- The essay will contain a Works Cited (MLA) or References (APA) page as a separate last page of the essay where the correctly formatted bibliographical information will be included that connect to the parenthetical citations included in the essay. Examples are located in the module and the Camosun Library webpage.
- The bibliographical page will include a minimum of three and a maximum of five sources listed. A minimum of two of these listed sources will be quoted material with a maximum of three. The other sources would include information that has been paraphrased or summarized or referenced to account for specialized information outside the usual public domain of knowledge (as delineated above).
- Again Important to Note: Please see the plagiarism document from the first week of term for specifics regarding intellectual property.
- For the correct method of providing in-text citation and the adjacent bibliographical page at the end of the essay, please refer to the quotation documents, the APA/MLA Owl/Perdue Webpage, a composition textbook such as A Canadian Writer’s Pocket Guide or Essay Essentials, or the links I have provided to the Camosun College library homepage.
- The correct structure of the Works Cited/References is the responsibility of each student. Links are provided with examples in Unit Five.