Paper #2 Research Report

Again, I did take a bulk of this assignment from examples from last session’s PD. It worked well and I am impressed with the caliber of papers I’ve received this semester.

English 1101 D371 Paper #2: Research Report

Due Dates

Proposal/Conceptual Outline: 3/16

First Draft: 3/23

Final Draft: 3/25

In this unit, we are reading about the community around us. More specifically, we are reading and analyzing issues that are relevant to New Yorkers. You will choose a relevant topic that interests you, and report on a specific question you’d like to investigate within that topic.

Since the Unit 2 and Unit 3 papers are closely linked, in order to explain Unit 2, I have to talk about Units 2 + 3 together, because you’re going to have to use some foresight in the research decisions you make; there will be planning, trial, error, planning again. It’s all part of the process.

In Unit 3, you’ll be writing a document in a new genre, one you haven’t written in before, about what you’ve decided to research in unit 2. For example, you might write a manifesto, or a comic book. Maybe you want to write a speech addressing a problem you outlined or discovered in your research for Unit 2.

You don’t need to know exactly what you’re going to be doing in Unit 3 yet. HOWEVER, you’ll be doing some things in Unit 2 that you’ll need for Unit 3:

  1. Researching a question about a NYC community or issue that you are truly curious about. You will use some of your research from Unit 2 when you write Unit 3.
  2. Researching a variety of different genres, which will inform what you write in Unit 3.

So, Unit 2 will be an investigation into and report on a specific question about a topic that interests you. You will conduct research into various genres (4 sources), gather and evaluate the information in those sources, and present a report on your findings. For this assignment, you will not need a thesis statement; rather, I am asking you think investigate, analyze, and report what you have learned from your investigation. You may arrive at an answer to you initial question, or you may find you’re asking the wrong questions and will need to rethink your approach.

  1. Ask and develop specific question. This should be something you care about, something you’ve always wondered about – something that will keep you engaged, as you’ll be continuing this line of inquiry in Unit 3 as well.
  2. Have your question approved by me (REQUIRED). If you change your question, your new question must be approved. Due 3/16  (You cannot change your question past 3/18).
  3. Research, gather information on, and analyze 4 sources consisting of at least 3 different genres.
  4. Read and annotate sources with your question in mind. Take notes on the relationship between the source and your question. Consider throughout: what did I learn from this source? About my own process of thought? About my reading process? My writing process?
  5. Write your report. The best way to go about this is to write the report for each source, then write the intro and conclusion. Remember that format and appearance count, so give yourself time to proofread and make it look good!

Your analysis of each source must be at least 300 words – this is both content analysis AND rhetorical analysis, which we have discussed and will continue to discuss during this unit. In other words, you must analyze not only what the source says, but also who its intended audience is, what its history is, its purpose, etc. Remember, try to make this as interesting to your readers as possible. This gives you some leeway in choosing how you want to format your report, but make sure you consider what is best for your audience.

The entire report, consisting of source analysis, introduction, and conclusion, should be at least 1800 words. 

Grading System

  1. Is your document readable and informative? Does it teach us about what you’ve learned, as it relates to question? Does it teach us, not only about the content of the sources you’ve chosen, but also the rhetorical situation surrounding those sources? In other words, is it a “good” source? Good for whom? Why?
  2. Did you do good research here? One of the main goals of the assignment is to learn something new about your topic AND to help you learn to find information on your own, to be applied to future situations. If you simply choose the first three options on Google, that’s not doing enough, and your topic will most likely not be as nuanced as it could be.
  3. Did you find sources in at least three different genres? Do the genres you chose “gel” with the content – that is, do the genres you chose make sense for the goals of both Units 2 and 3?
  4. Your report must look good, and must be organized in a way that makes sense to the reader you have in mind (and to me!).
  5. Is your language appropriate to the audience you have in mind? No matter how you chose to write it, the type of language you use (how it is written) must be consistent and must be appropriate to your audience. You should be able to explain with a good line of reasoning why you chose the language you chose.
  6. Cite your sources.

2 thoughts on “Paper #2 Research Report

  1. Josh Borja

    Hi Alison,

    I hope you are doing alright, all things considered. Thank you so much for your thoughtful—and very informative and actionable—feedback on Units 2 and 3!

    I really like the idea of using questions in your Grading System sections, especially for Unit 2 where the criteria take up much more space in the prompt. The question format makes it feel like a practical checklist, to which you can draw your students’ attention at key checkpoints in the unit. In the Unit 3 prompt, you also included clear headings for each major criterion. Since Unit 2 has a longer list of criteria, perhaps those kinds of headings could be very effective in the Unit 2 prompt as well?

    I think it’s very effective how you let students know that Unit 2 and Unit 3 will connect in a meaningful way. I haven’t done this myself yet in my draft of the Unit 2 prompt! As you continue to revise, I might suggest concisely summarizing the trajectory in just one sentence. You could do this near the beginning of the prompt so that the rest of the information is easier to follow. For example: In Unit 2, we _____, which will lead us to Unit 3, where we will ___. This kind of overview would help students orient themselves from the very beginning, and it would make your great “norming” move here shine and feel more concrete for students: “there will be planning, trial, error, planning again. It’s all part of the process.”

    For Unit 3, I think you clearly outlined the priorities for your unit: “1. Have a rhetorical understanding of the genre you choose / 2. Make use of the research you did in Unit 2.” In the Grading System, you also itemized the “Accuracy of genre analysis-Did you identify the common elements of this genre?” In the prompt, perhaps find opportunities to mention not only genre conventions but also rhetorical situation. I think you do this by referring to audience and what students want to do with the text (purpose), but the prompt could emphasize the importance of transferring rhetorical situation as a whole from earlier units.

    I hope this helps! Best wishes for a safe, healthy, and peaceful week,


  2. Carrie Hall

    Alison, I think this is good! I do think you’re going to need to make clear two things: First of all, not necessarily in the assignment sheet, but in the class, you will need to help the students come up with good questions. You might begin with something like “what is really bugging you about New York right now?” or something. Keep in mind that in 1121, a lot of people do a community problems/ community solutions assignment, so you might not want to lean too heavily on that, but you can definitely use New York as a site for finding research questions.

    The second piece of advice I have here is that I think you will have to outline a bit more clearly what each 300 word report should entail. I am not sure students will know where to begin with that! Jessica and Ruth have some pretty clear guidelines in their assignments. You don’t have to make students follow a pattern, but you can give them a pattern as a starting place, or at least give them some examples.

    Great having you in the cohort!


    It’s been great h

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