WR 121 Research Log

Home | Assignment #1A | Assignment #1B | Assignment #1C | Assignment #1D | Assignment #1E | Assignment #1F

Assignment #1A: Choosing a topic area

In this assignment, you will identify a broad, general topic area and think about how you might begin your research. At the beginning of the research process, it is useful to think about what you already know about your topic, especially if you already have opinions or points of view you find compelling. As you work through the research process you should be careful to examine a variety of perspectives and points of view. Even if your opinion does not change radically, understanding a variety of perspectives can make your argument more persuasive and ensure that you do not miss something important to your audience.

What to Do

  1. Read "Choosing a topic" (Chapter 14, Section c) in St. Martin's
  2. Choose a potential topic area for your paper. At this point, topics should be broad. Don't try to narrow to a specific thesis or argument until after you have browsed through information sources about your topic in Assignment #1B.
  3. Write a paragraph that:
    1. Describes your topic area. If you have questions at this point, or things you know you need to find out, include those.
    2. Examines what you already know about the topic. If you have an opinion or argument you think you might make in this paper, discuss it here.
    3. Discusses where you might look for information about the topic area:

      Hint: Think about timeframe. If you are thinking of tackling a current issue, where will you find the most current information? Will you look in a different place for background information?

      Hint: Think about scope. If you are thinking of examining a topic with international implications, where will you find multiple perspectives from different countries? Think about other ways multiple perspectives might enrich your understanding of your topic.

      Hint: Think about authorship. Who is likely to be writing about your topic? Who are the advocates? The analysts? If journalists will be writing about your topic, will they be on the science beat, the political beat, etc.?

    4. Include this paragraph in your research log.

In Assignment #1B, you will explore this topic area in two sources. At this point you can examine a variety of perspectives on your topic.

Look at the Scoring Rubric to see what you need to do to get full credit for this assignment.

Additional Help

After completing this assignment, add the following to your research log:

  1. Your paragraph describing your topic area.

Continue to Assignment #1B

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