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For this assignment, you will:

  • Enter into the academic conversation
  • Examine the validity of academic work
  • Formulate and define your own position
  • Recognize the limitation or biases of complex and technical research
  • Deliver a professional quality paper for a scholarly audience

Topic and Purpose

Read and Review: 

You may expand on something you wrote about in your summary, analysis or synthesis.  You MUST craft a new paper for this assignment and cannot reuse portions of previous assignments.

You may extract a topic from anything we’ve covered in the course. Or, you can develop your own topic. The topic should be narrow and specificFor instance, you cannot write about “the dangers of artificial intelligence” but you can write about the use of the woebot app by adolescents who suffer from social anxiety. You cannot write about “climate change” but you can write about the rise of red tide in a specific Florida Gulf Coast region. Determine ways to narrow the scope of paper topics.

You can contact me with topic ideas.  Avoid moral, hot-button, factual, or well-researched topics – nothing about gun rights, cancel culture, black lives matter, banning transgender athletes, etc.  If you’re too passionate about your topic, that could limit your objectivity.  If you’re not interested in your topic, then you won’t be too interested in researching it.

Topic Suggestions

  • Choose a specific topic that’s related to your major, discipline, or career interest. It should be narrow and specific.  Avoid broad, well-researched, hot-button topics.
  • Select a specific topic related to something we covered in class (or something you’ve discussed in another course) or posted on the discussion forum that sparked your interest. You may, of course, use sources included in the modules or assigned readings.
  • Extract a specific topic from a long-form documentary, podcast, or magazine/newspaper publication (documentary, Ted Talk, John Oliver, PBS Frontline, This American Life, The New Yorker for example).  Please note long-formindicates that you should select something that is long and has a lot of complexity.
  • Extract a specific topic from a scholarly research paper. You can find summaries of latest scientific research on the Science Daily website.


Your research paper must be logos-based and supported with evidence in the form of facts, statistics, and/or quotations from experts in the field. Every claim must be supported with evidence.  You should be focused on developing clear claims.  Assume that you’re writing to a scholarly audience that is familiar with your topic.  So, there’s no need to include too much introductory or informative material – get to the “tofu” of your paper.  You must prove your argument’s validity with support from recent, credible, relevant sources.  Assume that your audience is well-educated and familiar with your particular field.  Ensure your topic is narrow and specific.

Self-Plagiarism: You cannot reuse writing from previous essay assignments (or writing you’ve produced for other courses).  All the writing produced for this assignment must be “new.” 


  • MLA Format. 1500 words.  
  • Integrate at least 4 direct quotes (quotes should make up no more than 25% of your paper).  Avoid using more than two block quotes.
  • Integrate at least 4 sources into your paper (two or more must be scholarly sources published in academic journals) through summary, paraphrase and/or direct quotation.
  • Every body paragraph should include some form of cited research.  You should include correct in-text citations for all cited material where necessary.

Outcomes and Assessment

Review Course Objectives: Research

Context and Purpose for Writing

  • Topic is clearly argumentative, well defined, narrow and specific.
  • Purpose is clear, specific and narrow.
  • Thesis is complex, specific and well developed.
  • Integrates 4 sources (two scholarly) and 4 quotes.
  • Acknowledges at least one opposing argument.

Content Development

  • Focus on writing an effective introduction section and conclusion. DO NOT think of this as a traditional 5-paragraph essay. Organize your paper into sections: intro, body, conclusion.  Your “intro” or “conclusion” sections can be one or two paragraphs.  You should exercise control over the organization of your paper.
  • Paragraphs are complete, coherent, cohesive and well developed.
  • Acknowledge one or two specific opposing points of view (counterarguments to your position or positions taken by scholars), either in an entire paragraph or part of a paragraph.
  • As you revise, remember to think global. Eliminate unnecessary information and avoid summarizing too much.  STAY ON TOPIC.
  • Content is complex, thought-provoking and supported with ample evidence from reliable sources.
  • All body paragraphs should include some reference to research through direct quotation, summary, or paraphrase.

Genre and Disciplinary Conventions

  • Paper should be properly formatted in MLA style.
  • Do not use second person (you) voice.
  • Avoid the use first person (I, me) unless you’re including a short narrative or anecdote related to your topic.
  • Paragraphs are organized logically and coherently.
  • Focus on transitioning effectively from point to point and you may use subtitles (or sub headings) for sections of your paper (scholarly papers often do this).
  • Proper Paragraphing: There’s a tendency in long papers to write long paragraphs.  If a paragraph is a page or more in length – it’s too long.  Write cogent and coherent paragraphs.
  • Use correct in-text citations (showing that you know how and when to cite sources is a minimum criteria to pass the paper).
  • You can use subheadings to organize your content.
  • Include a Bibliography in MLA format. A bibliography is the same as a Works Cited but it includes ALL of the sources you’ve looked at, not just the ones cited in your paper.  DO NOT include annotations for the entries in your bibliography.

Sources and Evidence

  • You can integrate graphs or visuals.  Just be sure to adhere to proper formatting and look up the formatting rules. See: Visual in MLA Paper or MLA Tables, Visuals, Examples (Links to an external site.)
  • Be extra critical and cautious of the information you cite. DO NOT use your sources as “crutches” for your argument.  In other words, the sources should not prop up your argument.  If your source has the same argument as you, there’s no need to quote it just to show how it supports your position.  Additionally, do not just cite sources as supporting points. Your sources should be synthesized effectively and seamlessly into your writing.
  • Using Scholarly Sources:  You MUST include extended discussion of at least two scholarly sources through summary, paraphrase and quotations.  DO NOT just drop in a quote – properly introduce the source including authors name (if there are more than two authors then include the full name of the first author and then put et. al.), title of article, authors’ credentials (if relevant), journal title (if relevant), and brief one or two sentences summary of the main point of the research.
  • Spend a section of some paragraphs discussing research or theories relevant to your topic citing specific scholarly sources. You should demonstrate why the research is relevant.

Control of Syntax and Mechanics

  • Writing should be mostly free of grammar and mechanical errors.
  • Avoid excessive use of passive verb tenses.
  • Sentences are varied and properly constructed.
  • Diction is complex and style of writing is graceful.
  • Transitions are effectively used and writing flows well.
  • College-level vocabulary used throughout the essay.