The Plant: Corn’s Conquest,” by Michael Pollan

For your essay question, I’d like to give you the opportunity to follow up on and further explore a topic that was of interest to you over the course of the semester. Your first step is to choose that topic. An easy way to choose a topic would be to select the article that most interests you from among the articles you submitted for homework, but any issue or topic that we covered, whether in readings, lectures, or documentaries is fair game, and you don’t have to choose from the second half of the semester. Just choose the topic or theme that came up in class that was of most interest to you. Once you’ve got your topic, you need to decide what more you’d like to know about it, and you should be able to state what more you want to know about your issue/topic in the form of a simple question. You will then find at least three online articles which further your knowledge about the issue and provide information relevant to answering your question (search tip: quite likely, your original source quotes experts who offer opinions/provide information about your issue; try searching with these names, along with key words for your issue, and see what comes up). 

The most important thing about your question is that you find it interesting, and are curious about what the answer might be. If you find the question interesting, it’s probably a good question. Beyond this, a good question will require both critical thinking and additional information to answer. Questions which can be answered with a mere statement of fact (<link is hidden> how many gallons of water does it take to produce a pair of jeans?) are not good questions.

Once you’ve got your topic, question, and have found three relevant online articles, writing your essay should be pretty easy. Structure it this way: 

Introduce your topic. Explain why it’s important, why it’s of interest to you, and what you learned about it from our course material, <link is hidden> what you knew about the topic before you came up with your research question and found the online articles. This should be your introductory paragraph. 
Clearly state your research question, and put it in bold in the document, so I can clearly see it. Explain why that question is interesting to you, and why you think answering that question is important in relation to your selected topic. This should be paragraph #2. 
Tell me what you learned from the articles that you found. This should serve as at least a partial answer to your question. Whether you devote a separate paragraph to summarizing each article, and explaining how it relates to your question, or deal with all three articles in a large paragraph, is up to you.
Write a conclusion paragraph. Briefly re-state why your topic is important, why your research question was relevant, and what you learned from the articles that you found in your attempt to answer your research question.

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