Essay #2: Research Paper Assignment

For your research paper assignment, which is 1,000-1,600 words (Stay within this word limit.) (12-Point, Times New Roman font), you are going to locate five articles from the last three months (which can date back to February 1, 2020) and formulate a thesis statement concerning how these journalistic pieces cover a current topic.


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For instance, if your news sources are pretty much in agreement with one another, you can write:


  • The United States media news coverage of Covid-19, although varying in terms of quality, presents a fair-minded journalistic vision of this ever-evolving pandemic.

However, if your sources are wildly disagreeing with one another, then you could compose an argument along these lines:


  • The United States media news coverage of Covid-19 demonstrates a conflicting vision of the ever-evolving pandemic, which shows that there is no completely trustworthy journalistic viewpoint on this situation.

After you have a strong thesis statement and introductory paragraph in place, the first part of your essay’s body will provide summaries and analysis for your sources in a consecutive series of five paragraphs. For each paragraph, please follow these guideposts:


  • Summarize each article’s contents in three-five sentences. Be sure to mention the title of the article, its author(s), and source.
  • Then, analyze the article by considering any of the following questions: Is the piece informative and well-researched? Is the author fair minded or biased? Are the right people being interviewed?

For the next part of this essay, take three (or more) paragraphs to compare-contrast the five articles, mentioning each of them at least once. In terms of organizing your thoughts in this section of the essay, perhaps you would like to consider evaluating the sources on a least-to-most successful scale. Also, consider the image of you sitting in a room with all five of the articles’ authors: What insightful conversation would you want for them to have with each other in terms of their respective perspectives on the news story they are covering? Equally, how could one author’s approach to the story and unique writing style have benefited another writer’s take on the same subject matter?


Finally, compose a conclusion paragraph that restates your thesis sentence (by using different words) and provides a closing section that offers a lively call to action that is directed toward your ideal audience for this essay.


(For a visual of what I have written here, please also see the Essay #2 (Research Paper) Planner, which is available under Course Materials on Blackboard.)


* * *

For this assignment, you must review and use the MLA documentation style, which is found in A Pocket Style Manual (APSM) pages 108-77. On this note, please read the following guideposts:


  • Use a 12-Point, Times New Roman font.


  • Avoid using the following pronouns: I, you, and we.


  • You likewise will want to refer to pages 10-12 of your syllabus for dynamic transition words.


  • For your attention-grabber for your introductory paragraph, refer to “Thesis Paragraph Options,” which is located on page 13 of your syllabus.


  • Include one direct quotation from each of your sources. APSM supplies a “Directory to MLA in-text citations models” on page 131.


  • Properly identify your speakers and employ energetic signal phrases. For assistance with this requirement, see both APSM page 124 (“Using signal phrases in MLA papers”) and page 16 of your syllabus (“The Sandwich”).


  • Likewise, when it comes to your signal phrases and in-text citations, if you have three or more authors, refer to APSM page 133: #7.


  • When you have a quote that is more than four typed lines, it needs to be formatted as a longer quotation: See APSM page 121 (“Setting off long quotations”).


  • If you are applying an indirect source for someone’s views (i.e., “requoting”), begin the parenthetical citation with “qtd in.” APSM offers a more extensive review of this process on page 138, #23: “Indirect source (source quoted in another source).”


  • Balance out the evidence of your articles with your analysis. Think of a 50/50 ratio of quotes/facts vs. opinion. Also, see APSM 125-27: 31d “Synthesizing sources” for a good review of this important concept.


  • Compose a works cited page for your sources.  APSM provides a “Directory to MLA works cited models” on pages 140-41 while pages 174-77 show sample research paper pages.

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