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Formal Exploratory Argument Essay in which you address the different ways we can understand and think about a significant and contemporary issue in our culture. This essay also requires that you provide a significant discussion of why this topic is relevant to you. Why do you want to invest time and effort in writing about and researching this topic? Why choose this topic?
Research Requirements: One of the main goals you need to achieve in this essay is to address how your topic is presented in our society. Think about how media presents your topic. That means you will have to look at various types of research to achieve this goal. Your paper must incorporate at least six secondary sources from a variety of different genres. Think of genres as different types of sources; for example, a newspaper article is a type of genre. An academic journal article is a different genre. A youtube video is another type of genre, etc. So your sources will all deal in some way with your topic, but consider different types/styles of sources. Think about where we get information, the value of that information, etc. See the document on Conducting and Using Research posted in Canvas.
In looking to different genres, consider the genre of academic (scholarly) journal articles. You will be required to use this genre of source support more extensively for your second and third writing projects. For this first essay, you need to be committed to using at least one professional/academic journal article. See the document on Conducting and Using Research posted in Canvas for more information on academic journal articles
You must also use current secondary source material. The goals of this first writing project are to show how the topic you choose to write on is presented in our culture. Thus, you need current source material to help place your research topic/question in a contemporary dialogue about the issues generated by your topic.
Visual Media: As you discuss the ways we understand/receive information about the topic, you must pull out examples of how media outlets use and present information about the topic. And one of the types of media you will want to think about using is visual media. You will be encouraged to incorporate visuals into your presentation of your topic in this essay. Know that using visuals is not required, but if you choose not to incorporate one or more visuals, think about why they are not necessary. Also, you do not want to overdo the use of visuals. A few visuals can be very effective in presenting your topic. Too many can muddy your discussion. You do not want to end up with an essay that just explains visuals. This would not achieve all of
the goals of your essay. There are a few points to keep in mind about presenting visuals in an essay.
Know that anytime you use images in an essay, they do not replace text. You need to be committed to writing about those visuals to explain them, analyze them, etc. You need to guide your reader through your understanding of those visuals by what you write. You never want to simply allow visuals to stand alone as part of an essay. And you do not want to use visuals to make page count. Remember, the required page count is for your written text.
Know that anytime you use images in an essay, you must consider placement. When you incorporate an image for discussion, you want to make sure that image is placed near your discussion of the image. You do not want to force readers to search for the image to make sense of your text, etc. And, of course, images must be visible to readers.
A visual is a type of research. As such, you must correctly cite all visuals though both in-text documentation and in your works cited page. Remember that you want to provide a variety in the type of sources you use, thus, you would not want to use visuals for the majority of your documented sources.
Drafting Goals: As you draft your essay, you want to make sure you address the following questions:
–What is the issue I want to write on? How can it be defined?
–What are the complexities/controversies/additional issues surrounding this topic? –How do I, and the larger society, understand this issue?
–How is this issue presented in society?
–Why is this a complex and significant cultural issue?
Providing a thorough exploration of these kinds of questions will be what drives your drafting and research for this essay. See below for other points to consider.
–do make sure your topic/issue is clear from the outset of your essay. You do not want to have your readers guess as what you are writing about.
–do make sure your personal interest in your topic is clear. This will be a significant portion of your essay as you address your investment in the topic. What lead you to the topic, etc.
–do make sure you use research to show your process of exploring, questioning this topic. Research will also be necessary to show how our society presents/understands the topic.
You will note that these different questions/goals are not mutually exclusive. Also know that these will not necessarily be specific “areas” of your essay—these points will interweave throughout your essay.
Organization: If you are used to writing a 5-paragraph essay, you will notice right away that the material you need to provide for this essay will not fit into that structure. The 5-paragaph essay is too often a simplistic structure that does not allow for a thorough discussion of the complexity of a topic. And if you are used to providing a thesis statement followed by support, you will find that this essay does not lend itself to that organizational pattern either. Instead, you may find that one question will lead to a series of different questions or that addressing one piece of research leads to additional questions, etc. This kind of more “messy” organization is ok for this essay. But do know that you do still need to pay attention to more basic organizational issues. You do not want to repeat information, you do not want to split up information that is connected to different parts of your essay, etc. Essay organization still needs to be unified and coherent. And you still need to follow a basic essay structure of Introduction, Body and Conclusion.
You will be expected to accurately incorporate source material into your essay, using quotes, paraphrases and summaries. While there is no limit on how many of each you need to use here, do know that you do not want to overdo any one strategy, particularly quotes. Also, you do not want your essay to be all source material. You need to be able to make connections between material and you need to be able to illustrate your own understanding of source material and address where it then leads you, what further questions you have, etc. See the above commentary about using visuals. You do not want your essay to simply be a summary of a series of visuals.
Make sure you provide an accurate works cited page at the end of your essay that lists your source material. You will use MLA format for all documentation and works cited. See the appropriate chapters from your course textbook as well as other resource sites, such as the ASU Library Guide.
s with all formal essays, you need to provide a clear, coherent piece of writing using conventions of standard written English. Pay attention to overall structure, paragraph
structure, sentence structure and language use. Edit for grammar/mechanics. These are important elements in the writing process, and if you do not pay close attention to them, you run the risk of reducing the effectiveness of your essay. Essays need to be double-spaced, 12 point font with 1 inch margins. You need to put your name in either the upper right hand or upper left hand corner. For other format requirements, follow MLA style.
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