English Critical Reasoning and Writing Explanatory Essay 2

English: Essay 2—Exploratory Paper

The purpose of the exploratory paper is to give you the opportunity to explore the information available on your chosen issue. You may use the Internet for some of your research, but the bulk of your research should come from the online databases subscribed to by the Cypress College Library.

Quality of research is an important factor in the evaluation of your final project. Try to find articles that have been published in academic/scholarly (peer reviewed) journals. You will be asked to introduce all of your sources–providing the author’s full name and credentials. If you cannot identify an author for a source or if you cannot clearly establish that the author is an “expert” or authority on your topic/subject, then you should not rely upon that particular source.

You may search the college library databases from home, so it is just as convenient as using the Web for your research. You may access the library databases from the course site (go to the “External Links” area and click on the link to the Cypress College Library. You will have to enter a username and password to access EBSCOHost; the username is your student identification number, and the password is your last name.

In addition to providing you with the opportunity to explore your issue, the exploratory paper will also serve as the “Introduction” portion of the final “Research Project.” The remaining papers in this course will focus on individual segments of the Research Project. So, rather than assigning a research project that must be completed as a whole, you are being given the opportunity to revise each shorter paper in preparation for implementing it into the research project.

Analyze and research the issue selected for the Issue Proposal, and then prepare a 4-page essay that meets the requirements below.

Components in the Exploratory Paper :

1. Identify not just one opposing position but three of the major positions on the issue: a “for,” “middle,” and “against.” To begin, answer your issue question. For example, consider the following issue question: “Should Ritalin be prescribed to treat ADD/ADHD?” The main positions, or responses to this question might be, “yes,” “no,” and “sometimes,” or “Some believe that Ritalin should be prescribed;” others believe it should not be prescribed;” “and still others believe it should be prescribed in certain situations.”

Here is another example: “What is the best solution to the problem of illegal immigration in California?” Some believe that the US should build a border wall between Mexico and the western United States. Some believe that there should be strict and punitive laws that prohibit US citizens from hiring illegal immigrants. Others feel that amnesty is the best solution and that productive immigrants should be granted citizenship.

The issue questionand a thesis statement must be presented early on to indicate to the reader that the major positions on the issue are going to be analyzed. The essay should be organized into these distinct sections: introduction with an issue question and thesis, first perspective, second perspective, third perspective, conclusion.

Refer to pages 85-88 in Perspectives on Argument for steps on how to write an exploratory paper; complete worksheet 2 on pages 100-101, and review the sample student exploratory papers on the course site and in the textbook.

LINK for those pages:


Notice that the sample presents a “for,” “against,” and “middle” position on the argument, and these are clearly identified with topic sentences. It is best to present the middle ground after presenting the “for” and “against.” Use this organizational pattern as the model for your essay.

2. In the introduction, explain all sides of the issue through summaries and an analysis of the total rhetorical situation for the issue:
a) What caused the issue?
b) What prompted past and present interest and concern with it?
c) Who is interested in it and why?
d) What are the constraints of the inquiry?
e) What are the various views in the ongoing conversation associated with it?

3. Present the ideas objectively without your opinion.

4. The essay should include at least three sources on the issue presented in a Works Cited page. Two of these sources must come from the Cypress College Library online databases: EBSCOHost, Newsbank, etc. Papers that provide only web sources or do not provide sources from the Cypress College Library online databases will not receive a passing grade. Please note that there is a specific citation style for the Cypress College online databases. Follow the model/instructions in the MLA style handout—located in the lesson folder. (You should print out this document for future reference.)

5. Your issue proposal should be typed in a 10-12 point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins on all sides. Your essay should be written in third person perspective; the sample uses first person perspective in the concluding paragraph, but you should avoid use of first person point of view (I, me, my, myself) and second person (your/your). Your essay should follow MLA documentation format; refer to the handout titled “MLA Documentation Style” available in the lesson three folder. Refer also to the section on avoiding plagiarism in your Perspectives on Argument Text. Your essay should be a minimum of four pages, but should not be more than five pages long. Your essay should have a titled that reflects the argument/content of the paper (centered at top of first page.)

Grading Criteria:

Your essays will be evaluated for the following: strength of analysis, thoroughness of research, writing ability, completeness of the writing process, meeting the requirements of the assignment.

English 103: Instructions for Searching Library Databases

Research Requirements:

• For essay 2 (the exploratory paper) and essay 3 (the position paper) outside criticism must be incorporated into your essays, and your sources must be documented accurately–according to MLA guidelines. Your sources must be appropriate for the subject: essays or articles published in academic journals and written by scholars. Wikipedia is NOT an academic source. You should avoid using any source for which the author cannot be identified.

• You may conduct your research at the Cypress College Library. A link to the library website is provided onthe canvas course site. You can search for “books and media” and “articles” from the home page. Note that the EBSCOHost databases, “Academic Search Premier” and “Masterfile Premier” are general subject databases. Some of the materials you find in these databases will be appropriate, and some will not. If something is published in a peer-reviewed, scholarly “Journal” associated with a university, then it is probably appropriate. Magazine and newspapers articles would not be appropriate for this assignment.

• The GALE database is a good source for literary criticism; it is also accessible from the library home page.

• If you find a book at a nearby university, you can request an “Interlibrary Loan,” and a Cypress College librarian will acquire the book for you.

Instructions for Searching Library Databases:

1) Click the “Cypress College Library” button on the Canvas course site OR paste the following link in your web browser to go directly to the library home page:

2) Under the “FIND” menu select the link to “Articles.”

3) Under the “JOURNALS AND MAGAZINES” menu select the link to “EBSCOhost.” You may also search for “BOOKS” here, but you will have to access these at the library.

4) Login to EBSCOhost. To login, enter your student id # including the @ sign and all numbers and enter your last name; click “login.”

5) Select databases appropriate for your search.A menu will open with Academic Search Premier and MasterFILE Premier already selected. Depending upon your topic choice, you may wish to select other databases to search as well. For example, “GALE” or “ERIC” are databases that may also provide access to literary criticism.

6) Limit your search to scholarly journals. Click on the “Advanced Search” option that appears under the search boxes. In “Limit your results” field select the “full text” box and “Scholarly Peer Reviewed Journals.” This will ensure that your search results are limited to sources appropriate for a “scholarly” or academic essay.

7) Search for articles on your topic. Type some general search terms relevant to your topic into the EBSCO search box at the top and click “Search.” A numbered list of articles will appear. If your search produces too many articles, try adding additional search terms to narrow/limit your results. Conversely, if there are not a sufficient number of results, use fewer terms or change your terms.

8) Read through the titles and select a few that seem like they might be relevant or useful.Click on the links to articles with promising titles; an “abstract” with a brief overview will appear. Read the abstract to make sure the source is acceptable. Your source should meet the following criteria: 1) it must be published in a scholarly/academic journal 2) it must have an identifiable author/an “expert” in the field or area of study 3) it must be substantial in length 4+ pages.

9) Once you locate a source that is acceptable, print out the article or e-mail the source to yourself.A “Tools” button will appear to the right of your source abstract in EBSCOHost. Select either the “print” or “email” button. Article information including page numbers is provided in the “Source” area of the abstract. Click the “E-mail” option and type in your address in the “E-mail to” screen. Select to send the article as a PDF if you have that option. Click on the “Citation Format” box and select “MLA.” When you receive the email, an MLA citation will be included in the MLA so you don’t have to worrying about punctuating or formatting your Works Cited entry. Click “Send.”

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