Researching Education

EN 101
Dr. Fox

Research project and group oral report

Write a 5-6 page research essay focusing on some issue of higher education that, ideally, you discovered when you wrote your personal essay. Your imagined audience (future or current college students or college administrators, or faculty or parents) will drive the content of the essay. This research project will involve the critical summary and synthesis of 4+ secondary sources as well as field research – interviews, observations, surveys.

You will present your findings in a 15 minute group presentation.

You will want to choose a topic about which you are excited, one that intrigues you and that will hold your interest for the weeks that you work on this project. Remember that the best essays attempt to answer questions rather than starting with answers.

develop a research plan
navigate the Aladin system successfully
conduct research using both print and online sources
evaluate validity and relevance of sources
construct a bibliography correctly, using MLA documentation
develop a coherent outline
distinguish between primary and secondary sources
understand the difference between assertions and evidence
collect & combine information from a variety of sources to support your points
distinguish clearly between your own words and those of their sources
incorporate paraphrases and quotations smoothly and honestly into your writing

Important dates
No class - individual conferences:
Library research day
Research plan due and library research day
Two articles from academic search complete
Two articles from proquest research
Draft of controlling theme
Two additional articles
Draft of research essay for writing group
No class – group conferences
Group Oral reports:
Research project due in folder with 1) research plan, 2) peer reviewed draft and peer review, 3) copies of all primary and secondary sources and 4) two copies of final draft

Grading criteria for research project
A passing essay must:

  • Have a controlling theme that drives the research presented.
  • Present credible, relevant, and fully developed reasons and evidence in support of this theme.
  • Include at least 4 secondary sources, two of which are academic (not, for example, popular magazines).
  • Represent the view points of authors’ of secondary sources without distortion.
  • Adequately address various viewpoints.
  • Include correct parenthetical citations for all sources. Failure to do so may result in failing grade.
  • Contain adequate paraphrases of the secondary sources (i.e. in your own words). Failure to do so may result in a failing grade.
  • Quote accurately (word for word).
  • Integrate quotations smoothly into the paper.
  • Conclude somewhere in the end of page 5 (or on a subsequent page).
  • Show substantial differences between the first and second draft
  • Utilize a voice and tone appropriate for the audience.

A passing essay must:

  • Have an introduction that adequately introduces the essay.
  • Have a conclusion that adequately concludes the essay.
  • Be, as a whole, logically organized.
  • Make its structure clear to the reader through transitions.
  • Contain paragraphs that are logically organized internally.
  • Contain paragraphs whose organization is made clear to the reader through transitions.
  • Avoid repetition.

Short Style Checklist

  • Is your writing clean stylistically? Do you use strong verbs? Are sentences concise and clear? Have you combined sentences as needed to create sentence variety?
  • Are filler sentences eliminated?
  • Are your sentences grammatically correct? Remember not to use “this” as a pronoun. Also remember to use a comma and a conjunction to connect two independent phrases (phrases that can stand alone as sentences) but just a conjunction with compound verbs.
  • Is the paper typed in Times Roman 12 inch font? Is it double spaced with 1 inch margins?
  • Have you included a works cited page, in correct MLA format, that lists all the texts to which your paper refers?
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