World's Shortest Research Paper

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shortest research paper assignment

The purpose for this assignment is to practice the steps of creating a researched report in a non-threatening and “fun” way. We will practice the five processes of rhetoric, namely: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery. (To practice memory we will simply use photocopying, computers, note cards, and our mental powers to help us keep track of our research.)

The paper will be a maximum of 2 pages long and have a maximum of 3 sources. You will practice either MLA or APA citation or reference list format in a bibliography on a third page. For this paper, you will research a topic of local interest (Arizona only), social, economical, or environmental. Your three sources must include:  (1) an article from The New York Times, (2) a popular magazine, such as Newsweek, Business World, Time, etc. or a local magazine or newspaper, (3) an interview or survey of local residents.

 While the issue need not be overly controversial, it should be one about which there is some debate because later in the semester, you will be required to take a stance. For this paper, you are NOT taking a stance, you are simply reporting about the issue. You’ll find a list of interesting topics at this site. Remember, however, this paper MUST address issues in Arizona.

(DO NOT write on the following subjects: abortion, aids, eating disorders, gay rights, pornography, religion. These are overdone.)


• Invention: Working together in groups, examine a political cartoon on a local (Arizona only) issue, brainstorm possible cultural topics involved in the meaning of the cartoon, determine a topic for research by selecting from your brainstormed list, and conduct the research with each other’s help. ( OR Examine a newspaper or magazine article on a local, Arizona, issue.)

• Each person in the group should find and contribute 2 articles on the chosen topic. These articles must have been published during the last 5 years (2005-2010). Remember, in your final paper, one of the articles must come from the New York Times. The other article must come from a local newspaper, i.e. Arizona Republic, or apopular magazine, such as Newsweek, Time, Business News (look in the Reader’s Guide to Periodical Literature to locate an article), and the third source will be from an interview or survey.

  • The interview should be applicable to your topic—you have to cite it in your paper.

 DO NOT USE GENERAL ENCYCLOPEDIA ARTICLES.  This included Wikipedia. This rule applies to ALL essays this semester.

The paper will be a report with an informative thesis statement in the introduction. You are NOT writing to persuade anybody. In this paper, you are just discussing the issue. In class, we will determine an appropriate rhetorical situation (audience, purpose, ethos, etc.) for the paper. We will also determine an appropriate organizational strategy.

• Audience: You are writing to a cousin or other relative who lives outside of Arizona.

• You want to tell your relative what is happening here.

• Arrangement: Select and organize your material. See Chapter 21 in Writing Today to help you choose an organizational strategy. Be prepared to tell your classmates and instructor which organizational strategy you chose and the reasons for your choice.

• Style :Individually write a two (2) page paper.

• Revision: RE-invention, RE-arrangement, RE-style: Conduct peer review sessions and revise your drafts.

• Delivery: Turn in the paper with the best appearance you are capable of producing. (Follow guidelines given in the syllabus and in class).

The paper will be two (2) pages long. It will not be shorter nor longer than those two pages. Check your syllabus for proper formatting of the paper. In the paper, you will draw on at least three (3) of the 8-10 sources your group found on your topic. Your Reference (Works Cited) page should be on a third page. Document your sources by following the guidelines of MLA or APA style manuals.

Place your paper in a three-hole paper binder. Behind your paper, place all drafts and invention and arrangement documents. Behind the invention material, place the photocopies of the articles you actually cited (not all those you collected) in your papers.

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