1. By the end of your opening paragraph, you should assert a statement that summarizes the focus or thesis of your whole midterm essay/research proposal. Your overall thesis/argument in this essay will be that you have developed a strong (focused, fresh and feasible) research question that will provide the basis for your research project in this class. In presenting your thesis/argument, you will need to carefully articulate the analytic open-ended question that will provide the focus for your research. This question may be a Why? To what extent? or How? question. (Use question words that invite exploration; avoid yes/no questions!) [1 full paragraph]
2. To help persuade me that your research question is focused, define, and explain the specific issue related to the course theme on which your question focuses. Then, explain how you arrived at the final research question you have articulated (see #1) as the focus of this essay. On which particular aspect of the election topic will your research project focus? Why did you settle on this focus among all the other aspects of the election you might have chosen to explore? [1-2 paragraphs]
3. To help persuade me that your research question is fresh and a good fit for you, explain what you know, what you don’t know, what personal history you may share, and what specifically you are curious to learn about with regard to the topic that you will investigate. Please emphasize the “so what?” of your research–why it is important/interesting to keep contributing to research and conversations about the election issue that you are investigating. [1-2 paragraphs]
4. To assure me that your research question is feasible, explain how several resources you already possess or know about could be useful in your research project. What solid sources have you located that are potentially relevant and interesting? Identify three or four solid (academic/reliable) sources that look promising, and explain why. By all means, use sources you located for any of the earlier assignments this quarter if they are relevant to the latest version of your research question. As you identify solid, useful sources, explain how each source relates directly to your research question. Practice using signal phrases and in-text citations that follow MLA guidelines as you explain the relevance of your sources. [1-2 paragraphs]
5. Propose where and how you will conduct your research throughout the rest of the quarter. [1-2 paragraphs]
Which libraries will you make use of to find other research that has already been completed that is relevant to your research question? … How? …When?
What obstacles or challenges might you encounter? How will you overcome or deal with them?
Use essay format as you respond to the above prompts in any order that works for you. Include an introduction and conclusion; add transitional phrases in key places to clarify how you are moving from one topic to another; treat your carefully-developed research question as the core argument/thesis of your paper. Remember, your thesis in this paper is your argument that the particular research question you have identified is Fresh (interesting, worthy and relevant), Feasible (plenty of sources available) and Focused (not too general and not too narrow).
Be sure to cite sources when you refer to them in the body of your paper. Use signal phrases and in-text (parenthetical) citations with the author’s last name (or names) — and include a full citation in a “Works Cited” list at the end of your paper. When you create your Work(s) Cited list, don’t forget to double space evenly, and to indent the second and subsequent lines for each entry. It is always your responsibility to make sure the entries in your Work(s) Cited list are formatted correctly, but it is okay to use a citation-generating program such as BibMe (Links to an external site.), Citation Machine, (Links to an external site.)or the one embedded in WORD.
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