Research should be an interesting, absorbing, even exciting process. Imagine that you are on a treasure hunt or that you are a detective solving a crime. The researcher, like the detective, follows clues, unearths unexpected evidence, and encounters interesting people and ideas on the road to solving a mystery.
The trick is to begin with a topic you care about, questions you want to answer, and energy to explore. If you have all that, you will enjoy this assignment!
Write an 1800–2000 word essay defending a thesis that you believe in after finding the answers to your research questions (NOTE: do not make the research question itself the thesis). You must develop your thesis with clear supporting points that are backed up by discussion of outside sources. These sources must be documented in properly formatted in-text citations and on a Works Cited page according to MLA rules.
Your goal should not be to simply provide information about your topic; rather, your goal should be to assert a point of view on your topic or take a position in a debate: in other words, the thesis must be an argument.
Under no circumstances is it ok to submit work that you have submitted before or that you are submitting for another class.
These topic descriptions are meant to be prompts to help you come up with a thesis. If you have a topic you are interested in that is not listed below, that is fine, but all topics must be checked with me at the end of week 11.
Also, I would really appreciate it if you would avoid overused research topics such as cyberbullying, social media addiction, online vs. face-to-face learning, steroid use in sports, problems with genetically modified foods, etc. (unless you can come up with something really new and specific!).
What parallels and differences are there between the current Covid pandemic and the Spanish Influenza pandemic in the early 20th century? What can we learn by comparing these events?
What should be done about the plastic waste accumulation in the world’s oceans?
Should California (and/or the USA in general) invest in high-speed rail or some other new transportation system? How might a rail or other new transportation system affect the environment, commerce, and human lives?
What at ways we might protect endangered species in the USA such as migratory birds, wolves, etc.?
What should be done in California to prevent and control wildfires?
Are self-driving vehicles realistic for the near future?
How would free early childhood education affect the economy?
What are promising new methods of responding to global warming?
What are the arguments for and against getting rid of the filibuster? Where do you stand?
What impact has legalization of marijuana use had in California and other states who have legalized recreational use of marijuana.
READ THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY. When I grade your essay, I will be looking at the following criteria, so you should think about these requirements in advance.
Thesis: Your thesis should be arguable and descriptive of what you actually focus on in your essay.
Evidence: Your research paper should have sufficient, relevant, and representative evidence for each of your supporting points. You should have a minimum of 8 sources, and at least 3 of those sources must be scholarly sources (i.e., from reviewed journals, scholarly studies, etc.). Other sources may be from reputable journals, newspapers, and websites (e.g., The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Brookings Institute’s website). ALL of your sources should add significant information to your argument; do not just throw sources into your essay on general or irrelevant points. Quotes should generally be introduced with tags (e.g., "According to a recent study by Harvard scientist . . . ") and discussed in terms of the argument you are making. NEVER begin a paragraph with a quote.
Reasoning: Make sure that you explain how evidence supports your points and how conclusions are drawn from the evidence.
Organization: Supporting ideas, explanation, and examples should be is grouped appropriately. Also make sure that you maintain a clear focus on your thesis throughout the essay and provide effective transitions between paragraphs and key points.
Language: Most of the paper should be in your own words. When you refer to content from sources, use paraphrase, perhaps in combination with a few significant quoted words, rather than lengthy quotes. Extended quotations should rarely be used. Keep quoted material to less than 20% of your essay. Your writing style should be objective, formal, concise, and precise. Before handing in your final publish, spend several hours examining your sentences for clarity and correctness.
MLA documentation: All in-text citations and Works Cited page entries should be correctly formatted. Do not forget that you must format the Works Cited page entries using a hanging indent. Only those sources you have used in your paper with an in-text citation should be cited.
MLA document format: Make sure your entire essay is double spaced. No extra lines anywhere. Works Cited page entries must be formatted with a hanging indent.