1. Review the purpose of the Exploratory Essay (you do not need to write down anything for #1).

aExploratory Essay Workshop (for complete credit, complete steps 2-4)

1. Review the purpose of the Exploratory Essay (you do not need to write down anything for #1).

Many paper assignments call for you to establish a position and defend that position with an effective argument. However, some assignments are not argumentative, but rather, they are exploratory. Exploratory essays ask questions and gather information that may answer these questions. However, the main point of the exploratory essay is not to find definite answers. The main point is to conduct inquiry into a topic, gather information, and share that information with readers.

Using Unit 1 as a springboard, students will gain opportunities for exploring multiple issues related to their personal narrative assignment. For example, a student who writes a learning narrative about generational language loss may choose to research language policies in the U.S., or, a student who writes a community narrative about being a bicyclist in New Mexico might research cyclist’s rights to the road and national vs. statewide safety statistics. Your goal is to ask a question about your topic, find sources to help you answer that question, and determine if the sources you found are helpful.

Students begin learning the basic citation formatting and practice honing keyword lists to navigate online search engines while applying evaluation tools to assess the reliability of these sources.

2. Outline: Fill out outline with at least one sentence, or, alternatively, choose an outlining method found in ch. 7

A. State your topic.

B. List at least four questions you want to ask about your topic.

C. List the sources you will use to answer these questions.

3. Write a complete introduction paragraph and at least three complete body paragraphs with quotes. Use Times New Roman font and double space.        


Set context – this is where you can begin to give general background information and set up a “map” of what the paper will discuss. 1) State importance – the introduction should also explain why the topic is important, it should compel the audience to read further and create interest in the topic. 2) State the questions or topic of exploration – this can be one or several sentences or questions that states what the author is interested in finding out, why, and how they intend to do it. 3) Provide a brief overview of the types of sources you researched during your inquiry.

Body Paragraphs

Body paragraphs should discuss the inquiry process you followed to research your problem. These paragraphs should include the following:

  1. A question you have about your topic (All body paragraphs need to start with a different question about your topic.)
  2. Introduction of source (title, author, type of media, publisher, publication date, etc.) and why you chose to use it in your exploration
  3. Important information you found in the source regarding your problem; include a direct quote using P.I.E.
  4. Explanation on why the information is important and dependable in relation to the problem
  5. Some personal introspection on how the source helped you, allowed you to think differently about the problem, or even fell short of your expectations and led you in a new direction in your research, which forms a transition into your next source.                                                                                                

4. Write down your Works Cited entries as they will appear in your final essay; at least three sources are needed.

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