Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Spring 2011
Dr. Scott Lunsford

Project 2: Conceptualizing Writing


The second project asks you to investigate some aspect of writing that our authors invoke in their readings. You will write a four-page analysis that engages the authors, asks questions about their subjects, and explores your own object of study. 


To introduce you to the concept of inquiry-based research—that is, developing questions that lead to appropriate methods of research. 


Both are posted to the bibliography section of Blackboard.

Claire Potter, “Chalking the Borders”
John Jakle and Keith Sculle, “Territorial Markers and Signs of Personal Identity”

We’ll also begin reading from The Craft of Research.


To help you think through this process, we will write responses to the readings—in order to help facilitate discussion of the readings each day. We’ll also synthesize ideas presented by the authors in order to explore the nature of writing. Further, we’ll ask questions about the readings, questions that should lead you to conduct research on your own object of study. Finally, you’ll write an analysis that brings all of these elements together.

In order to familiarize yourself with your own object of study, you must invoke at least two secondary sources that discuss some aspect of it.


Specifically, you will write a four-page analysis in which you’ll

  1. Demonstrate your purpose. Why have you chosen this topic or object of study, as opposed to another? Why is it important for you to write about it and for us to read it? What questions do you have about your object of study? From the questions, what claims are you making? This paper must be argumentative in nature (though the term argumentative might take on different meanings).
  2. Contextualize your topic. Tell me about your object of study effectively enough so that I understand it. You’ll need to conduct research on your object of study to get a more informed impression of it. For example, Jakle and Sculle’s objects of study are signs and billboards, so they incorporate research that others have written on those kinds of texts.
  3. Contextualize the reading(s) that prompted your question. Discuss the reading(s) that prompted your question (for an example, see how Strasser contextualized Fish in order to bring about questions of effective teaching).
  4. Answer your questions. You’re setting out to do some minimal research that tries to answer questions about a topic discussed by one of our authors. And so, you’ll want to answer those questions.
  5. Ask, So what? What does doing such an analysis mean for you?


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