The objectives of the Course Project are to fulfill this course’s terminal course objectives:
- Given an essay or scholarly article in any media, develop an informed opinion which includes external evidence and personal experience.
- Given persuasive rhetorical strategies, such as appeals to reasoning, credibility and emotion, demonstrate the strategies to advance an argument.
- Given a student-selected topic, organize ideas through prewriting tasks and prepare a persuasive draft.
- Given strategies for determining the quality of source material, evaluate scholarly articles and other types of source material to assess their appropriateness for a research project.
- Given various strategies for presenting research, compare and contrast the ways to communicate research findings to an audience.
- Given the conventions for attributing source material, create appropriate citations, such as through summary, paraphrase, in-text, and reference citations.
- Given a sample of writing requiring revision, refine and develop ideas in order to convey new knowledge that reflects original thought.
Through the Course Project, students will engage in writing about a real-world topic that is aimed at a specified reader in the form of an argument.
Skillful argument-based writing will serve you well, in many ways, beyond this class. Both in other classes and on the job, the research paper you learn in this class will take on new forms, such as analytical reports, proposals, reports, and white papers. Writers who achieve success through these important kinds of documents know how to present an argument and support it logically and persuasively using relevant, attributed source material.
The Course Project will address a topic within one of four course themes: education, technology, family, or health and wellness. Each topic encompasses the potential for controversy, which means there is more than one valid way of looking at the issue and presenting the issue to an audience. The paper will introduce the topic, provide background information, present a main argument with evidence, and conclude in a way that clearly leads a reader to take desired or recommended action.
After thoroughly reading and researching a topic, complete the weekly assignments addressing a topic from one of the course themes, leading to two drafts that are revised in a final 8- to 10-page research project.
The purpose of the assignment is to present an argument and support it persuasively with relevant, properly attributed source material. The primary audience for the project will be determined in prewriting tasks. The secondary audience is an academic audience that includes your professor and fellow classmates.
Course assignments will help you develop your interest in a theme and topic, engage in discussion with your professor and classmates, and then learn to apply search strategies to retrieve quality sources.
By the end of the course, you will submit a Course Project that meets the requirements for scope and which includes the following content areas.
- Attention-getting hook
- Topic, purpose, and thesis
- Relevance to reader
Logically presented, point-by-point argument with evidence
(the number of sections may differ by paper, but you should plan to have at least three)
- Section 1 (2–5 paragraphs)
- Section 2 (2–5 paragraphs)
- Section 3 (2–5 paragraphs)
- Section 4 (2–5 paragraphs)
- Section 5 (2–5 paragraphs)
- Original writing of 8–10 pages created during this course
- Attributed support from outside research with in-text citations that correspond to the five required sources listed on the References page; a minimum of one source must be included from the Course Theme Reading List
- APA 6th edition use of Title page and running headers, in-text and parenthetical citations, and References for all sources used in the project
- Final draft addresses all professor and peer content and citation revision suggestions and concerns from earlier drafts; final draft of the Course Project is the result of revision and represents consistent improvement over the first draft
Research Project Topics
Course Theme Reading List
Research on your topics begins with the Course Theme Reading List, which is linked from the Course Syllabus. While you are not required to read all of the resources, you should plan to dedicate sufficient time to retrieve, preview, and critically analyze sources on topics that are of interest to you. The list of readings has been selected to help you narrow a topic, and it also will help you generate search terms you can use to continue your independent research.
Two readings are available for each of the topics listed below. Start your research process by reviewing the Course Theme Reading List. Note: All students will be required in their final Course Project to include at least one source from the Course Theme Reading List. Once you are introduced to library search strategies, you will then search for the remaining number of sources required for inclusion in-text and on the References page of the final assignment. The table below lists the themes and topics for the Course Project.
Health and Wellness
Multitasking and Technology
Sexualization of Girls
College Students and Weight Issues
No Child Left Behind Act/Race to the Top
Technology and Social Isolation
Perils of Social Networking
Unequal Rights in Marriage, Children
College Students and Underage Drinking
Online Dating/Online Predators/Sex Offenders
Children of Divorce
Illegal Downloading of Protected Content
College Students, Cheating, and Plagiarism
Internet Censorship/Classified Information Leaks
College Dropout Rates
Life-Work (Im)balance/Flexible Work Schedules
Concussions in Athletes
High School Dropouts
Texting and Driving
Insurance Premiums for Smokers and Obese Employees
The full list of Course Theme Readings is linked from the Course Syllabus. To access the readings, you will use the library databases or the Course textbook. For help accessing the library databases, please click on the following
Central Idea and Focus: The topic, purpose, and thesis are clear and identifiable in the introduction; all ideas consistently address the main argument without off-topic or irrelevant ideas. Presentation of central idea or focus reflects revision and refinement from prior drafts.
Support and development of ideas:Ideas are sufficiently developed for each section. Fifteen points may be earned for each of the five sections of the document. Introduction must have attention-grabbing story, topic, purpose, credibility, and why the topic is important; the thesis is graded above in the central idea. Sections II, III, and IV must contain a main idea, indicated by a topic sentence and followed by properly attributed support from sources. Development of ideas anticipates reader objections and responds appropriately. Evidence is varied and effective. Uses argumentative strategies and appeals to improve the logic and credibility of the presented ideas. Conclusion contains memorable ideas and does not rely on repetition of earlier content. Body of project reflects improvement from earlier drafts or else points will be deducted from each section accordingly.
Organization and Structure: The internal structure of a piece of writing, the thread of central meaning. All ideas are organized well without any missing or incomplete components. Organization responds to feedback on earlier drafts and presents an improved version from prior drafts. Points are deducted for organization that has not been revised based on feedback.
Formatting, including use of APA:Correct title page, headers, second page title, margins, alignment, spacing, font, and size (5 points). In-text citations and end-text References match and demonstrate proficient use of APA style, errors in in-text citations, or lack of in-text citations (10 points). References page with a minimum of five sources correctly cited, match the in-text citation, and use of citations demonstrates improvement from early to final drafts (15 points). Formatting and layout: Use of appropriate layout, including headings and effective use of images, graphs, and charts that are effectively labeled and integrated into the body of the report (10 points).
Grammar, Mechanics, and Style: Grammar refers to correctness of language usage; mechanics refers to conventional correctness in capitalization, punctuation, and spelling. Style includes word choice, sentence variety, clarity, and conciseness. Also, sentences vary in length and structure; ideas are clear, logical, and concise. Style is persuasive and authentic to the topic and purpose.
Week 1: Letter to the Editor (50 points)
Week 2: Source Summary (100 points)
Week 3: Research Proposal (50 points)
Week 4: Annotated Bibliography (100 points)
Week 5: First Draft (75 points)
Week 6: Second Draft (80 points)
Week 8: Final Draft (175 points)