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Part 1: Topics Inventory:
For the Topics Inventory, you will construct a list of topics from which you may choose one to develop into a Research Paper for this course. This exercise is based on the models on p. 318 of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers, so refer back to this page for examples. (NOTE: The book does not always provide three (3) possible topics per category, but you are required to do so. See the Unit I Example.
Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to help you formulate an inventory of topics that you are interested in so that you may choose one to research in Unit II and develop into a Research Proposal. Be sure to choose a topic that you are invested in, as you are more likely to be motivated and excited about a subject that interests you. You will want to choose a topic that is academically viable, for as Lester et al (2011) state, “You can’t write a personal essay and call it a research paper, yet you can choose topics close to your life” (p. 318).
Description: You will supply three (3) possible topics in each of the following four (4) categories:
1. Academic subject
2. Social issue
3. Scientific subject
4. Cultural background
Within each of these four (4) categories, you will supply three (3) possible academic topics. Use the following format to organize your topics inventory:
• Personal interest
• The category (repeated from above: academic study, social issue, scientific subject, and cultural background)
• Three possible academic topics (each should be distinctive, developed, and as specific as possible)
After you complete Part 1, you will have twelve (12) possible topics that you could choose from and develop into a research project. You will choose one of these and work with the same one for Part 2 and Part 3.
Example: Academic study
1. Personal interest: Cars
2. Academic subject: Eco-engineering
3. Possible academic topic:
• “The Fate of Hybrid Vehicles: The Cost Is Not Worth the Environmental Toll”
• “Hydrogen Cars: Are They a Safe Alternative?”
•“Electric Cars Are Not ‘Saving’ Environmental Resources, Only Saving Money at the Gas Pump”
The Topics Inventory is worth 40 points of this assignment.
Part 2: Controlling Idea Statement
Understanding your controlling idea will aid you in your research endeavor in Unit II as you launch into researching materials to help you better develop your Research Paper.
Purpose: The purpose of this exercise is to help you bridge between your Topics Inventory and your Short Proposal by helping you to formulate a controlling idea statement.
Description: You will formulate a controlling idea statement through one of the following: a thesis, an enthymeme, or a hypothesis. For this assignment, you are required to only produce one Controlling Idea Statement. It should be a statement, not a question. Further, your final Research Paper will be an argumentative, research-based, academic-style Research Paper; therefore, your Controlling Idea Statement must propose an argument. In other words, your Controlling Idea Statement must be a contestable statement that invites argumentation — something that you must prove or support with research.
Process: Refer back to your Topics Inventory and Chapter 14, Section 14f, of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers, “Developing a Thesis Statement, Enthymeme, or Hypothesis” (pp. 328 – 331).
Follow these steps, and draft a Controlling Idea Statement:
1. Choose one topic from the list of twelve possible topics that you created when you wrote your Topics Inventory. Consider these questions when choosing your topic:
Which of these topics is most appealing to you?
Which one has the most possibility for ease of researching and for developing a research paper?
2. Choose one type of Controlling Idea Statement you would like to write:
• a thesis statement “advances a conclusion the writer will defend”;
• an enthymeme “uses a because clause to make a claim the writer will defend”;
• a hypothesis “is a theory that must be tested…to prove its validity” (Lester & Lester, 2010, p. 328).
3. Draft your statement; use the examples in Section 14f as examples to assist you.
4. Save a copy of this for yourself, and submit your Controlling Idea Statement with the Unit I Assignment.
The Controlling Idea Statement is worth 10 points of this assignment.
Part 3: Short Proposal
For the Short Proposal, you will write a research proposal developed from the Topic Inventory you constructed and the Controlling Idea Assignment (a thesis, an enthymeme, or hypothesis).
Your Short Proposal must be between 150 – 200 words and written in one cohesive paragraph. All source material used in the Short Proposal must be cited correctly according to APA convention and style. If material is quoted, then quotation marks must be used, along with a parenthetical citation. If material is paraphrased, then a parenthetical citation giving attribution to the author must be used. A list of references must be included as well. Textbooks should not be included on a references list.
Purpose: The purpose of this assignment is to help you prepare for the next stages of the Research Paper writing process that you will participate in for Unit II, which will give you the foundations of research methods.
In Unit II, you will be writing a full-fledged Research Proposal as well, so you will want to seriously consider what you write for this Short Proposal as a precursor to that assignment.
Description: This assignment is based on the models in Chapter 14, Section 14f, of Strategies for Writing Successful Research Papers (p. 331), so you will want to refer back to this page for an example.
Your Short Proposal should include the following five (5) elements:
1. The specific topic
2. The purpose of the paper: Your paper must be an argumentative paper, so you will want to cast your purpose statement towards this argumentative end.
3. The intended audience: If you are unsure about whom your audience might be, consult
Chapter 1, Section 1d, of The Little, Brown Compact Handbook with Exercises (p. 7-8).
4. Your voice as a writer (informer, advocate, concerned citizen, etc.)
5. The preliminary thesis statement or opening hypothesis
The Short Proposal is worth 50 points of this assignment.
PLEASE FOLLOW ALL INSTRUCTIONS!