Exercise- Why We Need It


By the end of this writing project, you will be able to:

Identify a significant question, topic, or issue appropriate for a rhetorical response
Develop an initial research question to inquire into the proposed issue
Propose and justify a research plan to address the research question and locate relevant sources
Summarize and paraphrase background information sources
Apply standard genre conventions for a proposal including structure, design, formatting, language usage, citations, and mechanics 


Audience: Your English 102 instructor

Purpose: To identify a research topic that you will investigate throughout the semester and offer initial strategies to inquire into this topic

Genre: A research plan

Conventions: 750-1250 words with MLA citation conventions for in-text citations and a works cited page

You’ve probably researched colleges, restaurants, or movies in your personal life, and you may have written research papers before in other classes. English 102 introduces you to academic research-based writing. Academic research is a systematic process of inquiry to answer questions and ultimately produce new knowledge. It is an ongoing process of asking questions, looking for information sources, synthesizing information, building on existing information to create knowledge, and using this knowledge to ask new questions.

In English 102, you will research a significant question, topic, or issue for the entire semester. The research plan is the first step in the research process. A research plan is an opportunity to identify a topic that you are interested and try out different approaches before making a commitment for the entire semester. In the plan, you will build on your own personal interest in a topic to develop tentative research strategies to investigate the topic and to articulate the significance of the topic to a larger audience.

Your research plan should address the following questions:

What topic do you plan to research for the semester? What do you want to learn more about this topic? Why do you want to research this topic?
What do you already know about this topic? What do you need to know more about this topic?
Who else is interested in this topic?
What are the various perspectives on this topic?
Why is this topic significant?
What research question will you ask and investigate about your topic?
What are relevant, credible sources that address your topic?
How will you investigate your research question?

Consider the following questions as you write:

Author: How do you wish to represent yourself in your research plan, and how will you achieve that representation?
Purpose: Given that your purpose is to propose a topic and research strategy for your semester inquiry, how will you achieve this purpose in your research plan?
Audience: Given that your audience is your ENG 102 instructor, how will this audience inform the content, structure, or language of your research plan?
Genre: Given that your genre is a research plan, what are the genre conventions (structure, design, formatting, language usage, and mechanics) that you need to apply?
Content: What information will you include in your research plan about your topic and your research strategies? How much information will you need to include in the proposal, and in what order will you present the information?
Structure: How will you structure your research plan? What structure will help your audience easily understand your topic and its significance?
Language: What linguistic choices will you make in your research plan? How formal or informal should your language be? How can you revise and edit your language to meet your rhetorical purpose in the genre?

This assignment will require you to write a research plan of at least three (3) but no more than five (5) pages focusing on the topic you will discuss in your argumentative research paper. Using the conventions of academic writing, your paper should include an introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion and provide the following information:


the topic on which you intend to focus
why this topic interests you
the research question(s) you intend to address


what you already know about the topic
a summary of one or two relevant sources that support your position
what background information you think you will need for context
a brief discussion of ideas from one source that represents a counterargument


Address the “so what”. Why is your topic important?

Most of the research plan should be written using the first person because you are telling me what you want to do for the final paper. However, when summarizing your sources please use the objective voice. 

Your research plan will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

Criteria for Research Plan:

Rhetorical Choices: Does the plan meet the rhetorical requirements of the assignment. The introduction addresses the prompts outlined in the assignment sheet effectively. The body paragraphs respond to the prompts and the conclusion considers the importance of the topic in a thorough and effective manner.

Structural choices: Is the plan is presented logically? Do ideas flow logically from one to the next or is the plan choppy and disjointed?

Linguistic Choices: Does the plan use effective language for the genre and rhetorical situation? Is the language appropriate for an academic audience?

Correctness: Is the plan free from grammatical errors? Is it formatted correctly? Is there a works cited page? Is it correctly formatted?