Essay #2: Exploratory
For your second major assignment, you will write an exploratory
essay. The exploratory
essay is an open-form, perspective-gathering essay in which you explore or, more appropriately, discover the deeper issues concerning a problem of your choice. Please think of this as a lengthy research project where you report your findings. Rather than arguing a particular point of view?which is what we?ve been focusing on thus far?your objective in this assignment is to investigate an issue by ?wallowing in complexity? (i.e., to research and analyze a thesis, as well as its antithesis, in order to formulate a synthesis; to question the common or conventional ways of looking at a particular issue). This essay will chronologically narrate your own process of researching and thinking about a problem. Therefore, you must write this essay in first-person. For your benefit, the Allyn and Bacon textbook provides two exploratory
/discovery essays on pages 485-501. These essays provide an excellent pattern to follow.
You?ll begin, as good writing often does, with a question. (Know that this initial question must intrigue you to some degree, and that asking significant questions throughout your research is the point of the discovery process.) Next you?ll either research a source to come up with a tentative response (i.e., your thesis) or you?ll have a preliminary response already in mind. Then you will critique this initial response by researching and reading against the grain. (This is what a poor writer/thinker/arguer fails to do.) In short, you will try to find both the strengths and shortcomings to the response. This should lead to additional questions, which should be a more complex set of questions because it will be based on your research and involvement with the overall topic. You will attempt to respond to a new question, and then expose that response or answer (by researching and reading against the grain again), and so on and so forth.
The purpose of this project is not to locate definitive answers, for thought-provoking and insightful questions rarely end with a definitive answer. The exploratory
essay documents the evolution of your thinking on a problem. Most writers of exploratory
essays have very little trouble with organization because this essay simply describes the writer?s research and thinking in chronological order. Think of this essay as a sort of narrative. Keep in mind, however, that you will have nothing to organize?and thus nothing insightful to say in your essay?without discovering and analyzing your problem?s complexity. Again, you must wallow or immerse yourself in a problematic issue or, better yet, conversation by taking into account various perspectives. Therefore, research, proper documentation, and reflective thinking are essential components to this assignment.
Because this essay is so heavy on research and analysis, I will cancel a future class or two (or three) so that you may get more involved in your research. I will discuss this as the assignment progresses. If you don?t apply yourself to the time-consuming process of research and analysis, you will not succeed; therefore, take heed and be diligent. I am available to answer any questions you may have. Please don?t hesitate to ask for advice or guidance.
Chapter 14 ? Writing an Exploratory
Essay (or Annotated Bibliography)
Chapter 19 ? (Review) Composing and Revising Open-Form Prose
Chapter 20 ? Asking Questions, Finding Sources
Chapter 21 ? Evaluating Sources
Chapter 22 ? Incorporating Sources into Your Own Writing
Summary of Grading Criteria
Basically, I will be looking for essays which:
? Wallow in complexity by using dialectic thinking to fully explore and examine the issue
? Explore the topic in a relatively unbiased way
? Use sufficient research to adequately explore the topic
? Clearly and fairly summarize the research
? Present a solid Works Cited page
? Use language and style appropriate to the subject and audience.
By working on this assignment, you will achieve the following objectives:
? Analyze rhetorical strategies in professional texts and show an understanding of how writers respond to their historical/cultural context
? Consider and analyze student writing samples
? Evaluate research sources and synthesize the ideas of others into your own writing
? Effectively locate and evaluate sources
? Produce a research-based document
? Document sources according to MLA format
Specific Points for Grading Criteria
I will grade your essays based on the following criteria:
? Has the writer shown the problem to be interesting, problematic, and significant?
? Has the writer shown that his/her objective is to thoughtfully explore a question instead of defending a thesis statement?
? Has the writer done enough research?
? Does the essay clearly summarize the argument in each piece of research?
? Does the essay employ dialectic thinking? For example, are there instances of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis?
? Does the writer treat all of the material fairly, or is the writer clearly biased?
? To what extent does the essay ?wallow in complexity?? That is to say, does the essay present a balanced view; does the essay postpone closure on the issue so the writer can deeply explore the topic?
? Does the portfolio contain a Works Cited page?
? Does the essay clearly show the evolution of the writer?s thinking?
? Does the essay recount the research process by asking questions?
? Does the essay show how the writer?s thinking changed through research and analysis?
? Does each paragraph develop and explicate one supporting point?
? Does each paragraph utilize a topic sentence?
? Does the organization reveal a clear line of reasoning and emphasize what is important?
? Does the ending sum up the evolution of the writer?s thinking and clarify why the writer hasn?t solved the problem?
STYLE and GRAMMAR
? Can each sentence be understood the first time it is read?
? Are points made in fewest words possible? Or does the essay contain pretentious diction?
? Is the voice likeable; does it sound like a real person speaking?
? Is the tone and diction appropriate for the stated audience?
? Are MLA rules and conventions followed?
if this doesnt mention a specific word count could you make it a bit over 1000 words please.
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