Research Essay


Defining a term, such as academic writing, is one of the cornerstone activities of higher education. Instructors spend considerable instruction time going over terms and asking students to learn them, particularly in beginning courses. Students can find defining terms to be complicated and challenging, in part because there is no agreed upon definition. There are many different opinions and each makes a strong case for itself. Academic writing is a term where there are many different opinions, and all can make a strong case for their definition.

The purpose of this essay is to have you join in the conversation about academic writing, and let you define, along with a collection of outside sources, what you believe academic writing is for you at this time. You will rely both on your own experiences and understandings as well as the information from outside sources to write an essay that communicates to writing faculty, like your instructor, what you are thinking now.

Requirements: Failure to meet requirements results in a failure for the assignment.

  • This essay must address the topic: “What is Academic Writing?”
  • This essay must have 1,500 – 2,000 words and be double spaced,
  • This essay must have 4 outside sources from the Reflective Bibliography completed in the first portion of the course,
  • In addition to the essay, a 250 – 500 word narrative reflection is required,
  • All drafts should be done in Google Docs in the CIDocs folder Research Essays.
  • This essay should follow MLA 8th ed. guidelines, except where the instructor makes exceptions.
Final Draft Due Week 14

Additional Information

  • Create a main idea or thesis about what you believe academic argument is and discuss that idea throughout your essay.
  • Synthesize your own academic writing experiences with the ideas presented in the readings and class discussions to strengthen your argument.
  • Narrow the broad topic of academic writing in whatever way allows you to write with understanding and depth rather than in a simplistic or surface way.
  • Remember the scoring criteria as you draft and revise your essay. This criteria is what your audience uses to evaluate your essay.
  • Additional sources are welcomed, but you must discuss additional sources with your professor to gain his approval. Additional sources cannot take the place of RP&RB sources.
  • Choose quotes and paraphrases thoughtfully for the essay. All quotes and paraphrases need an introduction and a following discussion. There should be a smooth flow between your writing and the source.
  • Format sources carefully in the essay. The way you format sources plays an important role in how your audience responds to the essay.

The Narrative/Reflection

    • Explores your transition from research into writing,
    • Identifies and describes the challenges and successes you had in integrating Reflective Bibliography sources into your essay,
    • Discusses the ups and downs of your research and writing process,
    • Summarizes where your thinking stands on the topic now compared to the beginning of the semester.