journalistic inquiry essay Homework
This kind of essay, however, is different. This is a journalistic inquiry essay, in which you will choose a topic that has some inherent controversy and is contemporary (excluding medical marijuana, legalizing drugs, lowering the drinking age, and others we will discuss in class). You will research the topic, using both academic (peer-reviewed) and “lay” sources, including magazines, other news sources, interviews, case studies, etc. Whatever you do should interest you. Your prose can take a journalistic narrative style (think New Yorker, Harpers, The Atlantic) or, if you are too uncomfortable, you can default to a regular academic essay. Graphics incorporated into the text and into your discussion and analysis are fine as well. You will need to make an argument/advocate for some action. You need to consult a variety of sources for your topic. All sources should be properly cited within the text and again on a works cited page. Your paper must have at least six sources, at least three of which are from scholarly (peer-reviewed) sources. You will also need a works cited page at the end of your paper.
Remember to think about framing for this essay: how will you construct the fruits of your investigation, discussion, and well-crafted writing into a readable, searching, and memorable essay that will invite a well-educated audience, such as found in the New Yorker, etc., into your work? We will be reading a variety of models for this assignment; it is up to you to choose a framing device that works for you. Remember: communications research demonstrates that how one frames a topic has a direct bearing on how the audience will receive it (think political campaigns). How one backs up one’s argument lends credibility (think research and analysis). And how well one chooses words, crafts sentences, and writes creatively will determine how memorable your writing will be (think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.).
From this beginning, you can initiate the Investigative Paper process, which might include:
Identify, define, and analyze the problem: what generates the problem? What is given, what is unknown, what are the criteria for solving the topic? What are factors – historical, contextual, systemic, economic, etc.?
Determine the information that is appropriate for solving the problem, and then research/find it, and assess its validity and authority
Assess the information critically (don’t just “throw the research” into the paper) – analyze it for how it addresses your controversy). Remember to include a counterargument
Determine what graphics might further illustrate your topic. Remember to cite them, and discuss them in your text.
Offer a range of potential solutions to the problem
Evaluate your solutions according to your criteria, choose the most viable option, and take a stand. Think about the contribution you will be making to this field.
Length – 6-8 pages plus Works Cited page
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