research writing paper


This longer essay cycle focuses on refining your abilities to create a narrowed research question you develop around an ongoing academic conversation in relation to our readings, exercises and discussions from Culture of Science we’ll undertake the second half of the term in these broad topic areas:

Animal Minds (animals feelings and cognitions )


Write a formal research essay (*10-12 pages) in an academic field that argues a position and/or proposes a solution in response to a research question that you will develop within the course theme of the Culture of Science. (science = a process of inquiry to expand knowledge in the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities). The formal argument essay will answer a specific question at issue that you generate in response to our readings and class discussion on the Culture of Science the second half of the term. This argument may support, refute, develop and/or challenge the ideas that you’ve encountered in the assigned readings. Regardless, you should contribute to the scholarly conversations you’ve encountered in the assigned articles in a meaningful way. Your logically sound thesis must be written in the form of an enthymeme (claim + best reason), it must be supported by specific evidence from at least 2 sources from The Culture of Science bibliography and at least 8, but no more than 10, peer-reviewed supplemental research sources, and it should address at least one major counterargument.

Learning Outcomes

  1. frame and assess research questions in a discipline-appropriate manner, remaining open to exploration throughout the process;
  2. critically evaluate and synthesize multiple topic and genre-appropriate sources, then articulate your findings in a genre-appropriate manner;
  3. develop audience awareness through a process of collaborative review and revision of your writing based on the feedback of peers and instructors;
  4. describe and practice a critical research process, including finding and gaining familiarity with scholarly sources;
  5. identify and critically apply style conventions for writing in an academic context.

Criteria for Completion

To meet the above goals and earn a Complete for essays 2.1 & 2.2, your essays must:

  • cite peer-reviewed academic sources (library research)
  • identify a significant problem/question in a specific field
  • make a claim (in the form of an enthymeme)
  • acknowledge multiple points of view
  • analyze and synthesize sources
  • develop supporting evidence with research
  • anticipate counterarguments
  • Smoothly and correctly integrate source support into your argument
  • document all sources using MLA format
  • See the Essay Evaluation Rubric posted on Canvas Files for more details

Research projects evolve from combining your personal interests and assignment goals. Questions to ask yourself moving forward:

  • What issues are you aware of that might lead to interesting research questions?
  • Which of these spark intense academic debates?
  • How might exploring one of these questions allow you to contribute to the conversation?
  • Who would be interested in reading about one of these issues and learning about your answer?