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Fall 2020
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The Final Research Project
Due No Due Date
Points None
The Research Project 
Research Proposal/ Presentation (upload to Canvas) Due November 12th (50 points) 
Outline (upload to Canvas) Due November 19th (10 points) 
Draft, Writing Center and Peer Review Due November 24th (20 points)  
Annotated Bibliography Due November 29th (70 points)  
Final Paper Due Friday, December 4th (150 points) 
Your research project involves a research proposal and thesis statement; introduction, summary and evaluation of four academic sources that you will be using for your paper (short annotated bibliography); outline; draft, and peer review; 1200-1500 word research paper with least four academic sources. 
Choose a topic for research. You can choose your own topic to debate. I suggest choosing a topic that you are genuinely interested in, but also want to explore further. Here are some ideas.  
Climate Justice/The Environment 
Social Media/ Fake News 
Racial Equality and Justice 
Policing/Criminal Justice Reform/ Police Brutality 
Health/Health Care System 
These are all relevant and current topics. There is a lot of information on popular outlets, but for the purpose of this paper, you should be looking into academic sources that go deeper than surface-level arguments. For example, police reform. You can google it and you’ll find a lot of information that supports reform or advocates abolishment. Civil rights protests have drawn a lot of attention to this issue. But debates around policing are not new. This topic has been seriously discussed in academic circles for decades. You want to find out the history, the theories, the pros and cons of the debate, and from there, formulate your own thesis. You should not read a NY Times article, or an article from The Hill and determine your position. You need to understand the history of the debate so you make an educated argument. 
These are very general topics. The goal is to find an area of interest and then start asking questions. The questions you ask will help you form the central idea for your paper. 
Here’s an example of the process of exploring an issue and beginning to form an opinion: 
Let’s say you decide to write about social media. You may ask: Does social media contribute to loneliness or does it provide a remedy for loneliness? You do some research and find that there are arguments on both sides. That’s good! That means it’s debatable. So, you continue to research to explore different sides of the issue. Though you see both sides, you start to feel based on your research that social media can exacerbate the feeling of isolation, so you decide to go down that route and explore that idea a bit more to help form a more nuanced and specific thesis. 
Make a research plan. Write and present a research proposal. Think about how you will go about your research and pose questions you want to explore about your topic. This will be your research proposal. Your research proposal and presentation is due Thursday, November 12th.  
The Research Proposal is twofold in purpose. First, you must explain your interest in the broad topic part of this explanation you should propose at least 5 questions worth exploring. Remember that research is a process. Do not pose questions that you already know the answers to. You are setting out to learn, to discover something new or to challenge what you think you already know. 
Second, you must outline your plan for conducting the research. When will you begin? How many hours per day/week will you dedicate to this project? Which libraries and library resources will you use? 
Here is an example of a research proposal. Use this sample as a guideline. Present your proposal to the class on November 12th. Upload your research proposal to Canvas by midnight of Thursday, November 12th. Please use single space for your research proposal. Here is an example:  
Research Proposal Example 
Research Proposal on the Relationship Between the Use of Social Media and Loneliness 
I have chosen to focus on the rise of social media and whether or not it contributes to an increased sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness. I’ve chosen this topic because of the recent COVID-19 pandemic and feel like this is a good time to explore this issue. I also chose this topic because my grandmother has recently been moved to a nursing home and I’m not allowed to go see her. My family and I go on facetime and connect with her on Facebook so we can see her, but something in my gut tells me that it’s not enough, and that maybe it could possibly make her feel worse. I really want to explore this subject so I can reconcile my own feelings on this. These are the questions I want to explore: 
How long as a culture have we used social media as a substitute for in-person communication? 
How many people on average use social media? What is the demographic (age, race, class, gender)? 
How does connecting online differ from in-person communication? 
Why are rates of loneliness increasing when social media use is also increasing? Is there a correlation between the two? 
Has social media contributed to less in-person communication? 
I will conduct my research using the Delgado library database. I will also look at what public organizations and articles that are available for people who suffer from loneliness, so that I can get a sense of how mental health care professionals are dealing with the issue. I would like to see if mental health professionals discuss or make any links to social media use.  I will do my research at home, but I will reach out to my aunt who is a psychologist who works with teenagers. I will interview her because I know she works with people who are avid users of social media but also are seeking help for mental health issues. I plan to conduct research an hour a day in the mornings.  
Begin your research. You must locate your sources through Delgado Community College’s library or another collegiate library database. You may conduct a survey and/or an interview if it is relevant to your topic. You should be able to find plenty of sources (including video and audio texts) through a college library’s database, so please refrain from using Google as your main search engine for this assignment. We will go over Delgado’s database system as a class, but you will have to explore it on your own to get used to it and find out which databases provide the most information on your topic.   
Read critically. Choose sources worth your time. Assess the writer’s argument, and be aware of bias as you collect information. 
Form a working thesis statement. After researching to gather a general idea of where your argument is going, you can begin to form a working thesis statement. Your working thesis statement is due in class on November 19th. Here is an example of a working thesis on the subject of social media and loneliness: 
Social media connects us virtually, but not physically; the physical separation which social media promotes has led to an increase in chronic loneliness, specifically in for teenagers, young adults and the elderly.  
Keep a working bibliography. As you find sources that you would like to use, keep track of their complete publication information so that it’s easy to find the sources again. You may also wish to take notes as you read each source, so to AVOID PLAGIARISM be sure to put exact language in quotation marks and keep track of page and paragraph numbers for any ideas that come from the text. This will make your life much easier when it comes time to incorporate all of the source information into your paper. You will be expected to write a short annotated bibliography: an introduction of your research and a summary and evaluation of four academic sources that you will be using for your essay. The annotated bibliography is due November 29th. You must complete the annotated bibliography. You will receive a 0 on your essay if you don’t complete the annotated bibliography.   
Complete an outline of your essay. I will provide you with an outline. Complete the outline and upload it to Canvas by November 19th.  
Compose a draft. This draft should have an introduction that grabs readers’ attention and holds on to it. Necessary background information should be provided so that readers understand the purpose of the paper, and by the end of the second page, a clear thesis should be explicitly or implicitly stated.  Your purpose must be to persuade. Even if you take a more analytical approach, you need to persuade your readers of your analysis. While composing the draft, concentrate on development and correctly incorporating sources. There will be time to edit for grammar and rhetorical style during the revision and editing stage of the writing process. 
Draft and Peer Review. You are expected to upload a draft for peer review. This will give your classmates the time to review your work and make suggestions for improvement before you submit the paper for a grade. The draft is due in class on November 24th. You should have a least 75% of your paper done for the peer review. You will have to peer review two other classmates’ paper. The draft and peer review are worth 15 points. You must do both to receive the full value. The peer review of your classmates paper is due by November 24th. If you miss class that day, you cannot make up the peer review. No exceptions.  
The Writing Center. After the peer review (or before if you have your draft completed early) send your draft to the writing center to receive feedback. Upload your blue sheet from the writing center as evidence that you met with a writing coach. Submit blue sheet by November 29th.  
The Final Paper: You are to write a 1200-1500 word persuasive essay. Your essay must have an introduction, body paragraphs with supporting evidence, a refutation, and a conclusion. You must incorporate some of the knowledge from class by using the means of persuasion and other rhetorical devices effectively. Your paper MUST follow MLA guidelines (no exceptions). Your paper must demonstrate an ability to write a college-level academic essay with clear logical reasoning and credible sources.  
Edit your paper carefully. Rhetorical style, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and MLA correctness will all be considered along with the content and development of this paper. The earlier you can produce a draft, the more time you will have to perfect it before you submit it for a grade. The final, polished paper is due December 4th. 


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