Research Three Ways: Becoming an Academic

Document created by Cari Goldfine Expert on Oct 18, 2018Last modified by Leah Rang on Jun 6, 2019
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Assignment by Andrew Hollinger, Bedford New Scholar 2018



“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”

- Zora Neale Hurston

From the first day, we will be writing (and composing – more on this later). We will talk, constantly talk, about writing. Very soon, you will see how many different things anyone might say or question about writing and composition.


This class is ENGL 1302, but it’s not so much an English class as it is a composition and research class. Lots of professors across campus think that students come through 1301/1302 to learn how to write, as though there is one “universal discourse” to writing (cf. the Downs & Wardle textbook). It would be difficult to tailor our class to meet the individual writing needs of every student, especially since you might change your major some time after you take this class. The question remains: how do we teach writing and research then?


The philosophy behind this class is research studies. If ENGL 1301 was about helping students become “writers,” ENGL 1302 is about helping students become “academics.” We are all inquirers, whether that means doing formal research or just using IMDB to figure out what else that actor has been in. The idea behind this writing research approach (similar to the writing about writing approach you followed in ENGL 1301) is to try to engage with research and inquiry and try to understand and how it works. What responsibilities does the writer/researcher have? What about the reader? And what are all the different ways that research appears in the academic and professional spheres?


You will defend your answer to your question, or your claim, in a well-written essay with a thought-out message, making this an argumentative and researched essay. You should come up with several questions at the beginning because some questions are not well-suited to the time we have to complete this project. We will workshop your questions, trying to find the balance between too broad and too specific (questions like “What is good writing?” are probably too broad for the time we have in class).


Again, there is no specific length requirement. Your project needs to be as long as it needs to be. The goal is that you create meaningful and rhetorically purposeful compositions. (If you absolutely need a page requirement, experience tells us that anything less than five pages is just not likely developed enough; this guideline, not a hard and fast rule).


Follow the formatting outlined by your instructor.

You will need to use scholarly articles as sources, beginning with the second draft.

We will take this essay through three or four drafts. Check the calendar on our website for due dates.


Project Expectations


What it is: a researched, argument-driven essay answering a specific question. It should make use academic secondary sources and primary research/sources (data, surveys, interviews). Popular media sources are acceptable alongside the academic sources.
Who it’s for: an expert audience. Who can you imagine as an audience member?


Conference Documents

What it is: a minimalist version of your researched essay intended for presentation.

Who it’s for: your fellow classmates (and maybe also invited guests).


Public Document

What it is: an embodiment of your research project that takes a different form other than a researched essay or conference document.
Who it’s for: a local or non-expert audience who you feel should know, or maybe be persuaded by, your research. Who can you imagine as an audience member for this component of your project?


Your Question Drafts

Draft the kinds of questions you are interested in pursuing.

QUESTION #1 revised (make it broader or narrower):



QUESTION #2 revised (make it broader or narrower): 



QUESTION #3 revised (make it broader or narrower): 



Recording Revision

Mapping Writing and Decisions


In this class, how the writing you do happens is just as important as what the final draft looks like. That is, I want to know what kinds of decisions you made as you went from draft one to two to three to your final draft.


For this assignment, you might use Microsoft Word or Google Docs.


Color Codes

DRAFT ONE: Write this draft in default BLACK text.


DRAFT TWO: Any changes you make from draft one to draft two must be shown in BLUE. So, if you add a sentence, that sentence should appear in blue. If you add punctuation, the new punctuation should appear in blue. If you delete something, then you should leave the black text and put a strikethrough on the text, then highlight the text in blue.


DRAFT THREE: Any changes you make from draft two to draft three must be shown in GREEN. Follow the same procedure from draft two.


FINAL DRAFT: Any changes you make from the third draft to the final draft must be shown in RED. Follow the same procedure from drafts two and three.


Explanatory Notes

Whenever you make a change, you will explain that change using a marginal note. You can add notes to your text through the “Review” tab of the Microsoft Word application.


"Your eloquence should be the servant of the ideas in your head. Your rule might be this: If a sentence, no matter how excellent, does not illuminate your subject in some new and useful way, scratch it out."

—Kurt Vonnegut