Research Essay Assignment Write a proposal essay of at least 2000 words that mak
Research Essay Assignment Write a proposal essay of at least 2000 words that makes use of at least six authoritative or academic sources. The topic of this essay is of your own choosing with the following stipulations. 1. Think of a rhetorical situation which is local to your life experience (something that presents a problem that seems within your power to change, or the power of someone locally to change). Global warming is probably too big. Hating the color of your shoelaces is probably too small. You want to go somewhere in between and be VERY specific. 2. Choose a specific audience to address, an audience that might have the authority to remedy the problem that you see. By specific here I mean one particular person or a small group of people whose names (and faces) you know or at the very least could know. The president or governor are probably beyond your reach, but your state delegate, city council member, or college administrators aren't. For example: Rhetorical Situation: My experience in high school English was that we read only from the "canon," i.e. literature by dead, straight, white men. Now that I'm teaching at the college level in a diverse cultural setting I realize how limiting that is and how it sets students at a disadvantage when they go out into the world. I want to write to all of my high school English teachers - Mr. Burgher, Mr. Zimmerman, Ms. Evans, and Mr. Saeker - and to the members of the Ripon Board of Education to urge them to alter their core curriculum to include a more diverse reading list. My argument is basically that limiting students in the literature to which they are exposed encourages intolerance in all other areas of thinking and should be changed. My thesis will probably be something like, “Ripon Public Schools should teach a diverse array of literatures in different styles, from different times, and by a heterogeneous mix of authors in order to better prepare their students for the culturally complex and rapidly changing society in which we live.” Remember that a proposal argument has four main parts: 1. define the problem/demonstrate that it exists 2. propose a solution 3. show that the solution will work 4. show that the solution is feasible. For my example, the problem is already defined, lack of diversity in the authors taught in English class, but in order for my audience to accept this as a problem worth changing I need to get them to agree that a lack of diversity is bad. So a key part of my paper (perhaps the key part) is creating an argument that defines lack of diversity as bad (a definition argument). To do so I’ll need to think about how a lack of diversity negatively affects students in their lives in a logical and coherent way (appeal to logos), perhaps by arguing that having a narrow understanding of the world prevents them from successfully interacting with other people or from being able to thinking creatively about problems or scenarios in everyday life. I’ll also need to think carefully about how to present myself and my argument so that my audience will find it believable and important (appeal to ethos). One way I can do this by speaking about how my personal experiences working in the world have required me to be able to be aware of and responsive to other cultures and that having a broader reading experience in high school would have helped prepare me for that (personal experience). I can also make use of sources that discuss how our country is becoming more and more diverse culturally and how the influx of other cultures requires all of us to be receptive and flexible to other people’s ways of being (authoritative sources). Too, I can speak as a college professor about how students with a more diverse exposure to literature are better prepared for the challenges of college level work and have more developed mental capabilities (professional credentials). Additionally, I’ll need to evaluate my audience and decide why they might find my argument acceptable and why they might object to it (appeal to pathos). I already know who my audience is, my former high school English teachers, so I can make some reasonable assumptions about what is important to them (core values). First, they probably want to successfully prepare their students for college study and definitely want to prepare them to be ready for the working world after high school. They also probably want to produce students who are capable of handling their responsibilities as citizens with the power to vote in an increasingly diverse and culturally complex society. As I do research and as I draft my proposal, I’ll need to keep all three of these perspectives in mind in choosing what sources I use, how I present them, and how I present myself when I write. The solution for this problem is pretty straightforward, teach other authors. However, which other authors ought to be taught and why is a significant part of generating a strong proposal. I’ll need to be able to offer some specific recommendations on other authors that should be included in their high school curriculum. My research might help me find some examples of the curriculum other schools use to help with this. That the solution will work is also fairly evident, teach other authors and students will have a broader experience. Here, too, however, the more details I can offer the stronger my argument will be so hopefully my research will help me demonstrate that a broader curriculum helps students prepare for the world and do better in their coursework in high school and college. If I can’t find any information to help make this case, I’ll need to carefully explain how and why I think a more diverse curriculum will address the short-sightedness of a narrow reading list. Finally, this solution requires either a different textbook or other supplemental readings. This might be a really big problem for my argument since the school may not have money for new materials or the English department may be constrained by the local school board and/or state requirements for what is taught and how. If the curriculum is dictated from outside the English teachers at the school then my argument can’t go anywhere since my audience doesn’t have the power to change the curriculum. In that case, I’ll either have to suggest ways to modify the curriculum that the English faculty can control or I’ll have to change my audience to address whoever can make these decisions and retool my argument appropriately. Your sources can be from any reputable, reliable, and trustworthy source that you find. Judging what constitutes reputable, reliable, and trustworthy is up to you, but you are strongly urged to make use of the resources we cover in our library visit and to consult with me if you have any questions about a source's validity for this assignment. Generally speaking, you’ll want to use sources that are longer than shorter. While very short sources (one or two pages) can sometimes contain important information, they often lack enough depth and detail to provide the level of information necessary. Remember that ultimately, your audience determines what constitutes an acceptable source. Using a source means that it is quoted, summarized, or paraphrased in your essay (and documented correctly) in a substantive and meaningful way to support and/or develop your argument. You may use the two articles we’ve read if you like. They are good examples of authoritative sources but don’t count as part of your four required sources. You may also draw on general internet sources, such as Wikipedia, but these, too, don’t count as part of your required four. Your essay needs to follow a standard essay format including an introduction with a thesis statement, multiple body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Make use of the requirements for academic introductions we covered for your Analysis Essay. You must also make use of MLA format and citation. Beyond those guidelines, you are free to structure your argument however seems best to you. Remember that form follows function so arrange your material however it seems most effective to make your point.

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