research synthesis 3

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Writing Project #2: Research Synthesis

Purpose/Goals:While we might think a social issue is simple, the fact is that it is usually quite complex. There are only two sides to an issue, there are usually multiple parties who have a stake in the issue, and they may all have different reasons for being for or against something. Before making an argument of your own, you need to understand where others stand on an issue, and what information, or research, is vital for making a strong argument.

Assignment Description:For your second paper, you will be exploring and synthesizing the many perspectives on your social issue. Your goal is to look at a variety of sources and determine the multiple viewpoints on the issue. To do this, you will need to identify the different parties involved and detail their specific views on the issue. This means pushing beyond “for” or “against” and explaining why and how these parties are at a disagreement with one another. Once you have identified these various viewpoints, your essay should synthesize the differing views to create anon-judgmental analysis of your issue and bring that analysis to the broader community.In other words, you are not making your own argument, but informing your audience about how other groups feel regarding your topic. Your goal is to answer the following question: who is affected by your topic, what are their views on it, and what do you see as the major points of tension among these views?

Though your research topic is your choice, there are some guidelines for selecting your research topic.

1) The topic needs to be a current issue; this means that you cannot work on any topic that has already been resolved, or is no longer relevant.

2) You should not write about the following list of topics: teen pregnancy, abortion, changing the drinking age, legalizing marijuana, gun control, the death penalty, physician-assisted suicide or steroid use among athletes.

3) Remember, you need to be able to establish and support your claims throughout the semester with credible research.

Source Requirement:You will be required to integrate a minimum of five (5) sources into your actual essay, though you can (and probably should) pull on more. You need to have a variety of different sources (newspaper and magazine pieces, informational websites, books, journal articles, interviews, etc.). You must determine that all your sources are credible and relevant to your topic. Personal websites and blogs, general information sites (Wikipedia, etc.), definition or quote cites (,, etc.), and discussion boards and forums are not acceptable sources.At least three (3) of your sources must be scholarly and come from the ASU Library Database.

What to Do/What Not to Do: This assignment is a research-based paper in which you are exploring the various viewpoints on your topic to identify what the major points of tension are. This means that in this paper you are not taking a side on the issue. While your issue may have two sides, you will find that there are various individuals and groups that have a stake in your topic, so you are responsible for learning about these groups and their views. Your paper should not just be organized to represent the sides for or against,but instead talk about why different people/groups have different views on the same issue. In terms of your sources, see the requirements above, and remember that you want to provide a blend of direct quotes and paraphrases throughout your paper.

Intended Audience:

A member of your target audience that is a person or group that is unfamiliar with the specific issue you are discussing.

English 121 Assignment Goals:

-Use writing and reading for inquiring, learning, thinking, and communicating

-Effectively supporting your positions and assertions

-Be able to analyze and evaluate different kinds of texts for rhetorical effect

-Integrate your own ideas with those of others


Your paper should be a minimum of 1400-1600 words. This does not include the Works Cited page, title or first page header. Your paper should be in 12 point Times New Roman or Calibrifont, double-spaced, have 1” margins on all sides, and follow MLA 8th Edition. You must cite all sources in-text, and provide a complete Works Cited page that includes all outside sources.

Grading Criteria:

Youshould use MLA format correctly in both formatting the paper and citing sources

Your paper should integrate a variety ofoutside sources into your writing

Your paper should present the multiple points of view(at least three) on the issue to your audience while maintaining an objective perspective

-Your paper should inform the reader on what the source of the controversy is concerning your issue

Grading Breakdown:

Topic Paragraph: 10%

First Draft/Peer Editing Day: 10%

Content: 50%

MLA Format/Works Cited Page: 20%

Grammar and Mechanics: 10%

Due Dates:

Topic Paragraph: Monday, March 2ndin Canvas dropbox by 11:59PM

Rough Draft Due: Tuesday, March 17thin Canvas dropbox by 11:59PM

Individual Conferences: Thursday, March 19th & Tuesday, March 24th

Final Draft of the Definition SynthesisDue: Sunday, March 29th

in Canvas dropbox by 11:59PM

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