UNIT 2: INQUIRY-BASED RESEARCH

What impact do you want to have on your community? What changes do you want to make in the world to benefit your community? What is a problem in the world you think needs to be fixed? 

For this unit, your task is to research a current problem or issue in your chosen discourse community. The discourse community can be the one you wrote about in Unit 1, or a different one (such as a social group, a neighborhood, a particular group at City Tech, etc.). The problem/issue should be something that really matters to you and that you want to spend a significant time working on. (Remember if you switch discourse communities not to choose something too broad– not all of New York, for example– but maybe a particular neighborhood in the Bronx, or a group of gamers.) 

As a class, we will work to help you research the problem thoroughly so that you have a good idea of what is at the heart of the issue– where the problem really stems from.  Only after you have done that research can you decide who might be able to impact change on that problem. This will be your audience.

Your main outcome in this unit will be to write an article that will make an impact on an issue of importance to your discourse community.

You will write in a genre that you think will best reach the audience who most needs to know about this issue. The idea is to select the most effective genre of article that you believe will impact your audience and encourage them to begin making changes toward solving this problem. You will decide what publication would best suit your audience and you will write, as best as you can, in the style of that publication. 

It’s important to remember here that you are just looking for the beginnings of solutions– because my guess is that you’ll be picking difficult problems. If, for example, it was easy to come up with a solution to the problem of domestic violence, or racism in the education system, someone would’ve found that solution by now. This doesn’t mean we don’t keep looking with fresh eyes! But don’t try to oversimplify– it’s okay to just begin the conversation.

It’s important to remember here that you are just looking for the beginnings of solutions– because my guess is that you’ll be picking difficult problems. If, for example, it was easy to come up with a solution to the problem of domestic violence, or racism in the education system, someone would’ve found that solution by now. This doesn’t mean we don’t keep looking with fresh eyes! But don’t try to oversimplify– it’s okay to just begin the conversation. 

At least 1400 Words. 

Grading Criteria

 

  • Genre & Audience Awareness. Have you written in a genre that will effectively reach your intended audience? 
  • Appropriateness for the publication.  You will pick a specific publication that you feel will reach your audience (and not just the New York Times– but if you choose the NYT, a particular section!) Does your article seem like a good fit for that publication? Have you paid attention to your mentor article to find the features of this style of writing?
  • Completion of research. This is basically your annotated bibliography.  Did you dig deep in your research and find relevant and credible sources? Does your research reflect a thorough understanding of the problem you are trying to impact?
  • Use of research. So, you did the research.  How were you able to integrate it into your own article and argument? 
  • Is it convincing? The goal was to convince your audience to begin making a particular change to benefit your community.  Does your article convince them to do so?
  • At least 1400 Words

 


STEPS

STEP 1: Brainstorming a Topic 

Find a current problem/issue you’re interested in or passionate about. It is crucial that you choose something that matters to you and your community , as you will be spending weeks on this assignment. Brainstorm a few ideas rather than just going with the first topic that pops into your head. We’ll work together on this in class.

 

STEP 2: Mentor article and Rough Draft

 Together, we  will each look for a mentor article, which is basically a published article (about something else) that you can use as an effective model for writing your own article. That is, you will be looking for an article in the publication of your choice that you admire.  You do not have to copy the style of writing, but you can turn to it for tips on style, word choice, tone, structure, and so on. 

STEP 3: Reflection

Afterwards, write a reflection in which you discuss the rhetorical choices that you made in writing your article. You should discuss how the rhetorical situation (purpose and audience) influenced your decisions, or how your mentor article helped you make rhetorical choices. You may also discuss any challenges you encountered during the process, or things that you would like to change in the final draft. 

STEP 4: Peer Review, Article Due

You will engage in peer review sessions. Following the comments you received, you will revise and edit your article!