Research Paper

Research Paper & Multimodal Presentation


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Assignment: For this paper, you will be embarking on an argument focused on a contemporary issue being debated in public discourse. This project that will proceed through multiple steps and eventually take on two different final forms. The first product will be a 6-8-page argument-based research paper. Through various assignments you will begin to situate your argument within a larger conversation, including engaging with audiences whose stance on the issue may differ from your own. The Annotated Bibliography will allow you to familiarize yourself with various perspectives and arguments surrounding your chosen issue.


After completing a formal argument research essay fit for an academic audience, you will use the skills you have learned throughout the term to convert your essay into a product fit for a more mainstream (e.g. student) audience. This multimodal conversion presentation will take on a new format wherein you will use a multimodal presentation tool (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi, Canva) to present your project orally to the class or present a multimodal presentation that draws upon auditory and visual composition to be a self-sustaining argument (e.g. Podcast, video essay). Whatever you choose, your final product/presentation should fit its new audience and convey the primary argument contained within your essay. This final product will be showcased through an in-class presentation in which you will provide your peers with an overview of your research/argument.


Topic Submission: Create a list of 5-10 topics/websites that you would be interested in studying for this project. The narrower and more detailed your topics are the better. (Instead of just listing as a few words or phrases, form these as sentences so your potential argument is clear – if it’s not clear what you want to argue I may not approve that topic for you). Rank these in order of your preference with 1 being your first choice. No student will be assigned the same topic as another student to ensure variation in research projects/presentations, but all efforts will be made to approve the highest-ranking topic whenever possible. I will give you my decision on your approved topic as soon as possible so research can begin immediately.


The Research Essay: This argument-based paper will follow MLA format. The font should be Times New Roman 12pt font and should be at least six pages in length. You must have a minimum of six outside sources for this essay, although a strong essay will likely contain many sources beyond this minimum. These sources should cover both sides of this issue and attention should be paid to the credibility and degree of ideological bias/affiliation of the publication source. At least two of your sources must be scholarly journal articles.


Multimodal Presentation: At the end of this project, you will convert your scholarly essay into a multimodal presentation fit for a new (less formal) audience of your peers. While the final form will likely be impacted by your own comfort level in terms of design options and technology, you should also consider which form would best fit your topic and audience. Ideally you will have selected a topic that you feel strongly about – an issue you feel really needs to be discussed with a wider (or more specific) audience. What outlet would best fit such a purpose and such a topic? The low-tech options for this include traditional student-delivered oral presentations with multimodal presentation aids (e.g. PowerPoint, Prezi). The high-tech options for this include standalone audio essays (e.g. podcasts) or audio/video essay (e.g. YouTube video). Students who choose the latter option will not necessarily have to present orally (unless context is needed prior to or after playing the multimedia presentation they crafted). The potential presentation dates are listed on the syllabus, but a final presentation schedule informing students of their assigned presentation date will be forthcoming later in the semester. The target time for each student presentation is five minutes. You may or may not be able to cover the entirety of your argument/essay in this time period so be selective on information as needed.












The Research Paper Rubric



















(10, 15, 25, 30)


Topic is not adequately covered. The overall paper strays from the argument at hand, does not provide scholarly analysis or reader interest.


Topic coverage could be improved. The overall argument is discussed but scholarly analysis and interest level could be more developed.


Good depth & breadth of coverage. Topic is well discussed in a scholarly, unique, and interesting manner. Contributes to conversation.


Excellent depth & breadth of coverage. Topic is explored in a scholarly, enjoyable, creative & interesting way. Strong contribution to conversation.







(10, 13, 20, 25)


Problems with basic research. Under length requirements. Most or all sources are questionable.


Research meets basic requirements. Some questionable sources are present & additional research may have helped.


Most sources are scholarly in nature and worthy of study; minimum source requirements for essay are satisfied.


Utilizes at least seven sources that are scholarly and worthy of study, as well as additional resources that strengthen essay.


Essay Organization




(10, 13, 20, 25)


Does not follow the article format and/or has missing / underdeveloped sections.


Some issues with standard article organization and/or problems with particular sections.


Good organization, shows solid understanding of all required sections.


Well-crafted, shows mastery of the various sections (lit review, rebuttal, etc.).


Clarity / Logic





(10, 15, 25, 30)


Writer has problems organization information. The ability to evaluate and form arguments is not demonstrated.


Writer has some ability to organize information but falters some with evaluation and clarity in proving argument.


Writer is able to organize information, perform evaluation, and make clear arguments & counter as well.


Writer is able to efficiently organize information, form logical evaluations, and clearly make & counter arguments.


Synthesis of Material



(10, 15, 20, 25)


Does not demonstrate mastery of synthesis writing. Material unconnected.


Demonstrates the ability to synthesize material to some extent.


Demonstrates the ability to synthesize material with a solid outcome.


Demonstrates the ability to synthesize material efficiently.


Language Usage





(10, 13, 17, 20)


Lower-level writing. Overall, simple sentences and basic wording. Problems with basic writing conventions.


Decent writing showcased here. Some variety with wording but simple sentences prevail.


Good overall writing. Well worded with a solid amount of sentence variation.


College-level writing. Excellent word variation and complex sentence structure.




(10, 13, 17, 20)


Lack of effort with proofreading. Multiple errors


Problems with proofreading. Some errors present.


Pretty well proofread. A few oversights.


Well proofread. Very few oversights.





(10, 15, 20, 25)


Does not show mastery of MLA format. Multiple errors and misuse.


Some problems with understanding MLA format. Some errors and misuse.


Demonstrates basic mastery of MLA format. A few errors and misuse.


Demonstrates high-level mastery of MLA formats. Very minor errors.

** Incomplete, Off-topic, Late, or Plagiarized Papers will receive a ZERO with no make up**


Research Essay: _______ / 200













The Research Presentation Rubric












Content Coverage







(4, 7, 9, 12)


An underdeveloped discussion lacking interest level or thorough coverage; confusing or vague discussion points; problems with argument &/or textual analysis.


Solid discussion of the research project; more detail/clarity is needed to fully relay the argument & analysis; more specific examples need to be provided.


A relatively interesting and informative discussion of research project; at times more detail/clarity is needed to showcase argument & analysis.


An interesting and informative discussion of an original research project; the condensed argument is clearly laid out with useful examples and skillful, detailed analysis.


Research Application






(4, 7, 9, 12)


Problems with research material in terms of source quality, variety, or quantity; research is not referenced in the talk.


A few questionable sources are used; sources are uneven in terms of perspectives; research is not referenced well during talk.


Good academic sources used; solid variation in terms of perspectives; research is occasionally mentioned & cited in talk.


An array of academic sources are integrated in a way that fits final project; good variety of perspectives; research well utilized & cited throughout talk.


Multimodal Presentation Design Techniques










(4, 7, 9, 12)


Does not showcase understanding of chosen presentation genre conventions. Final piece has design problems that distract from its visual/oral appeal &/or purpose. The combined communication modes fail to work together in the desired way due to design issues or incompleteness of final product.


Some understanding of selected presentation genre conventions. A functional piece that has moderate visual &/or oral appeal. Final product contains some design errors but most do not distract from purpose. Ability to combine modes of communication is evident.


Shows strong understanding of chosen genre conventions. A polished piece that is visually &/or orally appealing. Mostly professional appearance with a few design errors present. Ability to combine modes of communication is purposefully showcased.


Shows mastery of chosen genre conventions. A highly polished piece that is visually &/or orally appealing. Professional appearance with very few design errors evident. Ability to strategically combine modes of communication is purposefully showcased.


Presentation – Organization






(4, 7, 9, 12)


Overall the presentation was lacking with multiple breaking points and problems. Did not appear well practiced. Presentation was well beyond time range.


A solid presentation with a few slips and issues within. Some practice was evident. Time of presentation was well outside require range (approx. 2 min over/under).


A well organized, presentation with only minor bumps; seemed pretty well practiced. Time of presentation was one minute over/under the 5-minute requirement.


Very well organized, presentation progressed seamlessly, seemed well practiced. Fell within a few seconds of the expected time (5 min). Excellent planning & pacing.


Presentation – Oral & Non-Verbal Communication Skills




(4, 7, 9, 12)


Improvement needed in speaking tone & rate of delivery; little to no eye contact & issues with non-verbal gestures. Issues with presentation aids/use.


Pretty good speaking tone & rate of delivery; off and on eye contact & decent non-verbal gestures. Used presentation aids with minor problems.


Demonstrated good speaking tone, rate of delivery, eye contact & non-verbal gestures. Effectively used presentation aids.


Mastered strong speaking tone, rate of delivery, eye contact & non-verbal gestures. Effectively used presentation aids.

(Note: a presentation shorter than 3 minutes will receive a zero, a presentation longer than 8 minutes will be cut short before conclusion)


Presentation Score: _______ / 60

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