This assignment will involve three related assignments: a prospectus, an annotated bibliography, and a persuasive or informative research essay.  In the prospectus, you will propose your topic, assert a possible thesis, and summarize what research you need to do.  The annotated bibliography will provide a brief summary of each source that you examine, whether or not you plan on using it in your final paper.  It will start with your question or thesis, and will cite sources in MLA format.  The final part, the research essay, will showcase the results of this work, produced in an academic style, with a clear thesis supported by valid reasons for your position as well as responses to opposing views.

You should have already chosen a question, problem, or issue that you have an opinion about or an interest in at this point since you’ve done a prospectus and bibliography.  You may not write about marijuana, abortion, gun control, the death penalty, animal rights, religion (or anything connected to these topics, like political positions), or the same topic you used in any previous essay.  In fact, I’d prefer that you pick a “local” topic, something that you have a personal connection to.  I’ve added a few suggestions at the end of this assignment description.)

You may not use Wikipedia or Opposing Viewpoints as sources in your paper (or any other encyclopedia-type source).  Like many professors, I have grave concerns with Wikipedia.  Theoretically, anyone could go and write some nonsensical or completely wrong entry on this site. Yes, the site is monitored to some extent, but not enough people work for Wikipedia to update/correct/remove wrong or stupid stuff to allow this site to be considered as credible as so many students would like to believe it is.  So anything you find through Wikipedia that you want to use in your essay, you’ll need to find a reliable, credible source for the information.  Emphasis on “reliable” and “credible.”  Wikipedia may have links to other web sites, some of which fit the criteria of being trusted, reliable, etc.  Instead, spend some time browsing the article databases from the library’s website (EbscoHost searches multiple databases).  [By the way, I absolutely hate the Opposing Viewpoints series, not because they don’t provide reliable, logical arguments on interesting issues. However, too often students seem to think that this series will provide everything they need for their research, so they basically stop thinking, even if they continue researching.  In other words, don’t use it.]

Your annotated bibliography should have at least ten sources, but you may only use a maximum of eight sources for the final product, essay 4 (minimum three).  Of those sources used in your final essay, I expect the majority to be credible sources that you found using the library’s resources, such as EbscoHost or one of the many article databases available.

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