Essay Two: The Research Essay
For this assignment, instead of answering a pre-configured prompt, you are going to come up
with your own writing prompt. What this means is that you will first develop your own
research question based on the unit topics and seek potential answers to that question yourself
via research. Ultimately, you will argue for your answer, or answers, to that research question,
supported by your own research.
Researching and presenting the findings of your research is a skill that you will utilize
throughout your college career, and likely your professional career beyond. The ability to
locate and evaluate credible sources is also a skill that we, as citizens, clearly need now more
than ever. This hard truth will be demonstrated repeatedly as you research one of the two
topics of this unit.
First, you will need to decide which topic—the spread of far-right extremism online or online
public shaming—is of interest to you. Then, you will need to do some self-directed reading on
the topic (starting with the texts found in the Unit 2 Library module on Canvas) to get a sense of
the various concerns writers are discussing. It is important to look at a variety of source types
from scholarly publications to news sites to social media posts.
After you’ve done some cursory research, you will develop a research question. Essentially,
what do you want to know about the topic? Once you’ve developed a workable research
question (a process which will be discussed in our modules this unit), you will do research
extensively to see what answers you can find. Keep in mind that there are likely to be multiple
potential answers to your question, and none of them definitive. We are not seeking simple,
concrete answers—they don’t exist for the problems we’re examining.
Finally, you will write a 4-6-page essay in which you argue your answer to the question. Your
thesis statement will be the answer to your research question. Develop a point-by-point
argument in support of that thesis, using sources to back-up all your claims. Again, you might
have found multiple answers. You might not even feel your answer is 100% correct, 100% of
the time. That’s fine. You can even say so in your essay—responsible scholars always do.
• Your essay must be a thesis-driven argument in response to your research question
• You must use a minimum of three sources—at least one must be an article from a
• All sources must be cited via MLA style in-text and on a works cited page
• Page length is 4 pages minimum, no more than 6
• Include an MLA header, original title, and page numbers.
I will use the following rubric to provide feedback on your draft. The criteria may not cover all
of the things you need to address in revision, just the things I’m focusing on at this point.
Please feel free to contact me with questions.
Criterion Essay Match
Does the introduction provide adequate
contextualization of the topic via background
info and source summary, while avoiding
overly-broad and meaningless filler?
Does the thesis present a debatable,
narrowly-focused answer to the author’s
Is the thesis statement successfully
developed via body paragraphs that
adequately explain individual argument
Is each argument point fully developed and
supported via relevant source material?
Are the required amount and type of sources
Has the author used transitions and other
organizational strategies to create a coherent
Are all sources cited correctly via MLA style
in-text and on a works cited?African American Female Influencers In Todays Time.
Question: African American Female Influencers In Todays Time.
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