Exploratory writing, often called “thesis-seeking prose,” can be a powerful way to refine our thinking, to use the best features of written discourse and research to come to a conclusion about a particular topic. Sometimes this kind of writing is also referred to as heuristic analysis. In other words, the process is as important as the end product. So for this paper, you will start with a question and explore the process of using library research to find an answer.
What questions came up as you read the assigned texts this semester? Which topic would you like to explore in more detail? Develop a question about any one of the texts assigned as reading this semester. For example, “Is Grendel similar to monsters in Norse mythology?” or “Did Chaucer create the Wife of Bath as a positive or negative role model for medieval women?” This question should be one that genuinely interests you AND that requires additional, secondary research. (Don’t ask questions that can be answered by the primary text–for example, “Why did Sir Gawain seek out the Green Knight?” can be easily answered by reading the poem.) Then write a first-person narrative account of your research experience as you tried to answer your question.
1. Your research question should be inspired by one of the reading selections for the course. Include an explanation of how you came up with this question in the introduction of your exploratory essay.
2. One of the goals of this assignment is to introduce you to library resources. Therefore, your research must include at least three (3) academic-quality research sources obtained through the GIL (Library Card Catalog) and/or Galileo. (*Note that open-access Internet sites DO NOT count as “library resources”; avoid using popular Internet search engines like Google or Bing!)
3. Cite summaries, paraphrases, and quotations from all texts according to MLA guidelines. Remember to include a Works Cited page with full bibliographic information for all cited material.
4. The final draft of this paper should be around 800 – 1250 words in length (standard font, double-spaced)
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