Research Paper Writing Assignment
Many of our readings this summer have provided insight to matters that appeal to social justice or that shed light on social inequalities. For this paper, you will select and investigate a facet of social justice that is exemplified through a current event of your choice. Using this current event as an illustration of a larger social problem, you will propose a solution to the issue at hand. To help you think about your topic, consider movements or social inequalities that are important to you. For the sake of a social justice paper, this topic has to impact human rights directly. Broadly, social justice promotes equal opportunity and fights for everyone to have the same benefits and power in a given society. In this case, unless you argue your subject exceptionally well, topics like factory farming and drone usage don’t really fit this cause. Think more about issues that involve race, gender, ethnicity, religion, or a combination of any of these ideas. Most importantly, be specific in your topic. It’s not possible to solve everything about racism in six pages, so work for one specific issue. Your solution will function as your argument or rhetorical situation – it is the reason you are writing, so be persuasive at all times.
DEFINE: In this paper, you should briefly outline your problem and the significance it has in contemporary society. One of the biggest mistakes that college writers make in research papers is assuming the audience’s understanding of a particular topic. Regardless of what obvious value you personally think this issue has, you must explicitly state the issue and establish the need for a solution. Your current event should aid you in this discussion as a model of the issue in real life. What groups of people are affected by this issue, and in what ways? What are the causes and consequences of this issue? How is your current event indicative of a larger systemic issue rather than an isolated incident? Why is this problem particularly relevant now? What should your audience know about this topic? What evidence exists to suggest that this is a serious problem? How might you define this problem as one that can have a solution (as opposed to a problem that can go away by itself or a problem that will never be solved)?
PROPOSE: Even though this is considered your “research paper” for the semester, you should see it as a persuasive paper (with research): you are to ARGUE for a specific solution and CONVINCE your audience that it is the most reasonable response to pursue. In order to formulate a strong response, you must first research what measures already exist. What solutions are already out there, and how promising are they? Why have other solutions failed, and what will your solution do differently? What details can you provide to enact your solution? An argument involves an angle; a research paper is not a book report. You must engage with sources that agree and disagree with you, not just sources that report on statistical information. How might you expect opponents to respond to your solution? What evidence can you offer to show that your solution will address the problem? What are the intended results of your solution? Use details to manifest your solution and make it real. In order to promote your idea, it should be thorough and ready to be put into action.
Possible (but not mandatory) topics:
· Hawaii Five-0 and racial visibility in television shows
· Philando Castile and American police brutality
· Harvey Weinstein and sexual assault
· Secretary Betsy Devos and the rights of private schools
· #FreeKesha and rape culture
· The 2016 presidential election and voter fraud or voter suppression
· Katy Perry and cultural appropriation in pop music
Remember, a TOPIC isn’t a THESIS, so you will have to consider a problem within this topic and find a solution to it.
1. 6-7 pages
2. Times New Roman font size 12, double spaced (no extra spaces between paragraphs), 1” margins all around.
3. Adherence to all MLA style and formatting rules, including those for headings, page numbers, in-text citations, and the Works Cited page.
4. STRICT ADHERENCE TO THIRD PERSON PRONOUNS ONLY. No first person (I, me, my, we, our, etc.) or second person (you, your, yourself, etc.) anywhere in the paper.
5. Use of at least 3 sources, 2 of which must come from the library (either in books or databases)
6. HALF DRAFT (3 full pages + outline) due Thursday, November 16 by class time. Please post on SafeAssign AND print out a hard copy for class.
7. FULL FINAL DRAFT due Thursday, December 7 by CLASS TIME. Post on SafeAssign AND email me a copy.