Context The first step in developing a research project is to choose a topic by conducting preliminary research. Our research tells us ● whether there is enough information available about a topic to support an essay, and ● what kinds of positions have been taken by past writers on these topics (It’s helpful to see the range of possible responses before you take a position on any issue.) You have already completed this step by producing your project proposal. The next step, once you have selected a topic, is to define the issue, to make certain you and your readers know what you are writing about. You will now explain your specific topic, and its specific characteristics as it has impacted society, as well as the effects of your problem on the lives of individuals—all in an effort to convince your reader to care about this situation, to agree that it is important.
Assignment Using MLA style conventions, in a typed essay of at least five pages, define your issue, clearly explaining the current situation that is the focus of your essay. Include the circumstances that created this issue, the effects it has had on individuals and society, and the problems it has created. Do NOT discuss the history of the problem, as this will be the focus of Essay 2. Use information discovered through research to illustrate and support the existence of the specific situations and details you describe. This may included statistics, expert opinion, or other reliable sources of evidence. You are required to locate and use at least five research sources in your essay. Of these sources, at least four must come from your own research. Finally, you must provide citations and a works cited page using MLA format. The works cited page does not count toward your page count. Suggestions In this essay, you will define your specific issue or problem from its appearance or function in society. At this time, you are NOT being asked for an account of the origin or a history of the problem, so you should not go into the background behind the problem. Instead, focus on the characteristics and effects of your issue as they appear now (synchronic analysis). It will be extremely important to the success of your essay that you formulate a specific, clear thesis statement that defines clearly what your topic is, and what its characteristics and effects are. Give some thought to how you organize your essay. Remember that every paragraph must have one and only one topic, and each sentence must serve a purpose in your writing. Your task is to define the problem or situation by showing its characteristics, so you will want to: ● focus a paragraph or closely related group of paragraphs on each characteristic, ● for each characteristic, clearly explain what it is with a specific, focused topic sentence, and ● draw from evidence in your research sources to make your points.v
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