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Purpose: Building on the fundamentals of close reading, critical analysis, and argument, Assignment 3 and 4 ask you to research and incorporate a scholarly conversation within your discipline. Beginning with a particular issue or a particular cultural production (text, film, perfomance, etc.) pertinent to your own discipline or profession, you will research academic sources in order to utilize academic scholarship to deepen and further support your argument. You should do so with the following questions in mind: How does academic scholarship help us to think about your chosen issue or cultural object? Where do scholars agree and disagree? And why does this discussion matter? In other words, what is at stake? By close reading and critically analyzing your scholarly conversation, you will argue for some new way of understanding your “text” and/or issue. In order to facilitate your research and argumentative analysis, you will compose an annotated bibliography, develop a research proposal (two pages, double spaced), and present your research to the class (5-7 min). The annotated bibliography and the research proposal combined will constitute your A3 Assignment.

Task: Responding to a call for papers in a scholarly journal, argue for your particular insight regarding a specific “text” and/or issue. By articulating the facts, definitions, concepts, and methods pertinent to your academic discussion, you should support a thesis-driven argument that incorporates the arguments and counterarguments and ultimately persuades us of your position.

Research Requirements: 5 sources minimum, 10 sources maximum, at least 3 sources must come from scholarly, peer reviewed journals published in the last ten years. Use MLA formatting to parenthetically cite, and include a Work Cited page.

Notes Toward a Successful Researched Essay:

• Remember that to make a good argument you must find where people are disagreeing. Thus, if you begin your research focusing on a particular “cultural object,” you must still find a specific issue with a debatable question in regards to that “object.”
• Because the process of scholarship is over a longer period of time than other publications, you may not find scholarship written on your specific current event or recent cultural object. Instead you will need to brainstorm what scholarship might prove helpful for your discussion. For example, there might be a limited number of scholarly articles on Kanye West. However, there is a wealth of scholarship on race, popular culture, and politically active musicians.
• This is not a “research paper” or a “report.” A successful essay will utilize research to advance your argument. Work to subordinate your sources as evidence for your own claims and logic. This means topic sentences will often begin with what you think rather than what others think.
• Summary of texts and arguments should be concise and in the service of your argument. While you should assume that readers have not read the sources you are citing, you should not summarize whole articles. Instead, provide your audience with what is necessary to understand your discussion.
• Be sure to accurately render the scholarly conversation you are engaging. Clear and thorough incorporation of quotations will be essential to representing the current debate.

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