Swamped with your writing assignments? Take the weight off your shoulder!
For the past two months, you have been researching, annotating, and writing short essays on the ideas and materials that are to become part of your final research paper. This assignment asks you to put together that work in a “messy rough draft” of 3,000-5,000 words. Here are some guidelines for preparing that draft:
Review your Research Project Worksheet, if you have been using it. It’s likely that much of your first draft has already been written right there. Use that material as a starting point for preparing your draft:
*Write an introduction that includes an interesting opening paragraph, along with a description of the topic and your interest in it.
*State your thesis and argument.
*Develop the body of your paper.
The paper requires use of at least one scholarly book. You have been asked to select a book and create an annotation about it in M4 Assignment 1: Annotating a Book. Think now about how that book fits with other sources you have located for prior assignments as well as the Collaborative Bibliography project. Does the book and its author’s arguments play a key role in supporting (or refuting) your argument? Are you planning to compare and contrast those arguments with a second book or with one or more of the other sources you have consulted? Describe the book in more detail than you provided in the annotation as well as how it fits into your overall paper.
Go back to your written assignments from modules 2 and 3. Decide where the writing you did on those assignments fits into the overall project, and incorporate that writing into your draft, adding detail and editing as needed.
Review the annotations in the Collaborative Annotated Bibliography Project. Are there sources your classmates have shared that you would like to consider incorporating into your project? Locate the sources and read them over quickly. Add your notes to your draft, editing as needed.
At this point, you might not have come up with a conclusion or thoughts on further research. Now is the time to begin considering those aspects of the paper. Re-read your notes as well as your draft. Jot down some preliminary ideas and draft a preliminary statement on further research you or others might do as well as a conclusion.
If you have not been using the Research Paper Worksheet, you can still draw on your previous assignments for guidance.
*Think about which of your previous assignments might be useful for the beginning of your essay and which might best comprise the middle.
*Create a new document and place these assignments into that document, one after the other. Save your file and then read all of the work together, taking notes as you go. You might find yourself moving some paragraphs around, and rephrasing some sentences that repeat one another. Be sure to save all the changes you make, as you go forward.
Your drafts should include the following:
*An appropriate title for your project.
*A bibliography at the end of the paper that lists in alphabetical order by author, the sources you used in your paper. You can use a sample paper from the ESC Library that has been formatted in Chicago style as a guide for preparing your bibliography.
*Citations in the paper that indicate precisely the source of the ideas, arguments, and other thoughts you drew on to develop your paper.
A word on length
Keep in mind that the final research paper you submit is to be approximately 4,000 words. This assignment offers a range of 3,000 to 5,000 words as one means of helping you determine how far along in the research and writing process you are.
Do remember to keep your writing tight and succinct. While it is better to have more research material than you might need, it is not better to have more words than you might need to convey your points.
And finally …
Have fun with this assignment. You have worked hard to research the historic roots of a current issue that interests you, and now is the time to prepare the first draft that others will get to review. Research is a shared process, like civic engagement. Your original work is contributing new knowledge that others will want to read.