Research Essay Assignment

Research Essay Assignment

1500 words (not counting References list); worth 15% of final grade.

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This assignment is centred on two main tasks: performing thorough scholarly research and

formulating a strong thesis statement.

Your Research Essay will make a careful and sustained argument about a topic of your choice;

that argument will be supported by your scholarly research. The topic for this essay needs to be

narrowly focused. The narrower the better. Want to explore the impact of social media on body

image trends? Too big! Too general! Want to explore the effects that American Apparel’s

Facebook campaigns have had on Canadian teens? That’s more like it. I will tell everyone to

narrow their topics. It’s almost impossible to think of a topic that’s too narrow.

That said, keep in mind that you have to support your claims with scholarly research, so

scholars need to have published material on your topic. It’s unlikely that you will be able to find

scholarly material on why the Canucks are so terrible, but you probably will be able to find

scholarly material on the role of violence in sports.

Although the topic of your Research Essay is open, you should talk to me about what you are

planning to study as soon as possible. The strongest papers always come from people who have

discussed their topics with me early and often—chat before or after class, send an email, or

stop by during office hours. Also see the sample assignments in Blackboard.

Your Research Essay will be closely linked to your Proposal (in which you describe your topic

and argument) and your Annotated Bibliography (in which you briefly summarize three

scholarly sources and explain how they fit into your Research Essay).

There is no minimum or maximum number of sources required for this assignment—you should

use as many scholarly sources as you need to effectively support your thesis. As a rough

estimate, I’d suggest that most of your essays will probably reference 4 – 6 scholarly sources,

but some will require more and some fewer.

You will be marked on:

  • strength of your thesis statement ( /2)
  • organization of your essay, including topic sentences and transitions ( /4)
  • use of relevant scholarly resources ( /2)
  • integration of evidence (quoted and paraphrased material from your scholarly
  • resources) ( /2)
  • originality of thought and persuasiveness of argument ( /2)
  • proper APA, MLA, or Chicago formatting, particularly of your in-text citations and
  • References list ( /2)
  • clear communication of your ideas (free from grammatical, spelling, punctuation, and
  • proofreading errors ( /1)

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