he First-Year Writing sequence is practice in writing, but it is also a study about writing as a subject. Just as you would study psychology in Psych 101, or biology in Biology 101, so you’ll be developing a researched perspective on the subject of writing in Project 2 of English 101. In line with one of the FWP Outcomes—“use writing and reading for inquiry, thinking, and communicating” (see the Outcomes at the end of this syllabus)—you’ll start with a specific question about your own writing, or about writing in a larger context. Using exploratory writing and research, you’ll gather and examine your sources, describing what you find while narrating your process in first-person voice (using “I”). Though you may have an idea about the answer to your question, you won’t be sure until you’ve read, analyzed, and synthesized your sources. Even then, you still may not find an answer. That’s okay. Research is a process that doesn’t always lead to a clear answer. Instead, we might find at the end that we have more questions—and sometimes questions can be as fascinating as answers! In this project, here are important steps to take:
1. Choose a topic. Some possibilities:
writing and conflict
resistance to writing
learning to write
writing and art
writing and humor
2. Develop a research question. Narrow it down. Use specific terms. Expect an answer more complex than “yes” or “no.” Examples:
“Why do I love to blog, but struggle to write in an academic setting?”
“How do our childhood experiences with writing shape how we write now?”
“What are the inspirations behind graffiti?”
“What does the professional world expect from a cover letter and resumé? And why?”
3. Write a proposal.
Articulate your research question, explain why you’re asking the question, and describe the intended audience for your exploration.
Explain in detail a research plan that includes the types of sources you intend to explore, where you expect to find them, and a schedule for the completion of your project.
4. Gather sources and compose an annotated bibliography.
Sources must include two scholarly sources, one form of primary research, and one visual (e.g., graph, photo, drawing). You may use additional sources as needed.
Completing the annotated bibliography, in which you write short, evaluative summaries for the sources you have gathered, will enhance your critical attention to citation, evaluation of sources, and explication of source information (see Praxis 220-223).
5. Choose a form for your project and begin composing.
Articulate your question and its purpose, discuss how each source helps you to develop an understanding about your question, and explain how you reached your conclusion.
Think about what kind of media would best suit your audience: essay, video, audio, speech, blog? If you decide to produce a product that is not written, accompany your project with a rhetorical analysis that explains your research question and purpose, audience, methods of research, and decision to use media other than written form.