Essay 4—Expository Research Essay

Essay 4—Expository Research Essay

Rationale: I want you to move outside of your comfort zone and research something unexpected. Through synchronicity and luck, a book will find you in the stacks, like a wand finds a wizard. It is your mission to decipher this text, to investigate its hallways, to uncover a hidden meaning, to support it with another source (using at least one other library resource), and to articulately and creatively present an argument based upon your discovery,

Assignment: We shall return to the dusty stacks on the second floor of the SCC library where you shall once again feel the spines of ancient tomes, fingering the rigid vertebrates, until a book calls to you, like a siren does a lonely ship at sea. Then you shall turn to page 111 and locate the 11th line. This will be the first line of your paper (if this page/line does not exist than choose numbers that are lucky to you). This text will serve as a jumping off point to inspire the topic and angle of your approach. Your subject and discussion are completely up to you. However, you must use the text a reference (including quotes and citations). You must also find at least one other source using the library resources (either another book or an online resource) to relate to this text and support your investigation. This will also appear in your citation. There are two parts to this assignment:

1) The Expository Essay – is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea, evaluate evidence, expound on the idea, and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. This can be accomplished through several different formats: comparison and contrast, definition, example, analysis of cause and effect, etc. The format is up to you. This must be in 3rd person perspective, most likely to an audience of your peers. 800-1000 words total for this first part.

2) The Endnotes – endnotes appear as referential numbers in the essay itself, which refer to the notes provided on a separate page at the end of the paper, like a Work Cited page. These endnotes will be written in first person and your audience will be me, your professor. These notes can include citations and commentary / explanation which refer to brief additional information that might be too digressive for the main text, such as reference to a certain idea, definition, allusion, metaphor, etc. Also, I would like for you to use these to address certain tactics/approaches you take in the paper and explain to me why you do so. You must provide at least 10 endnotes, and they must be at least 500 words total.

Getting Started: Today we will find our mysterious text and begin plotting its interpretation. Try to keep an open mind – don’t immediately despair if you find yourself face to face with something unfamiliar or tedious. Be creative and approach whatever you find with ingenuity and craftiness. If you are curious about a particular topic, be sure to discern which aisle of the stacks you want to explore. Once you locate your text, perform all the activities of pre-writing and brainstorming. List everything you think you know about this topic and consider multiple ways of perceiving it. Does it relate to a certain theme, to society, to another text? If it’s scientific can it be disproven or elaborated on? If it’s historical is it accurate and without bias? If it is literary does it have a significant theme relevant to contemporary society? Keep an open mind while simultaneously maintaining skepticism. You are a detective, an explorer, a treasure hunter. Watch out for misleading evidence, quick sand, and booby traps.

Writing: Keep in mind I do not want a summary of what you found. Repeat. I DON’T WANT A SUMMARY. Explore your discovered text. Research the topic. Investigate the idea. Evaluate the evidence. Set forth an interesting and compelling argument about that idea in a clear and concise manner. Basic Setup: Introduction, thesis statement, body paragraphs with logical transitions, and a conclusion. Include an interesting title as well.

Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. For example, in a discussion about how written communication has regressed, such as from personal letters to text messages, we can deduce the result of that regression: that we are less proficient with language today, and this adversely affects our ability to communicate with one another. In this discussion there would be a beginning, middle, and end to the conversation. If you were to end the exposition in the middle of the second point, questions would arise. Therefore, the expository essay must be complete, and logically so, leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument.

Part One – Expository Essay – 3rd person perspective. This should be more formal, presenting your ideas to an intelligent audience, convincing them that your topic is important and worth reading about. This mean developing a compelling thesis statement (as usual) and supporting that thesis statement throughout the essay with examples and analysis. Use examples from the book, your additional resources, life, literature, and your own brilliant brain (just don’t say “I” “me” “my” “we” and so forth).

Part Two – Endnotes – 1st person perspective. This can be less formal, more conversational, discussing various aspects of the paper with me, such as your different techniques, any interesting allusions, weird definitions, whatever kind of aside you want to include.

Length, Format, and Evaluation: Essay 4 must be 800-1000 words (PLUS 500-600 words for the endnotes. So total = 1300-1600 words) in double-spaced Times New Roman 12 pt. font. Please adjust your margins to 1” all the way around and use the appropriate MLA heading and page numbering system (see Canvas for an example and template). I will be using the Holistic Rubric to assess this project. Together, Essay 2 first and final drafts are worth 15% of your final grade: 2% for the first draft, 13% for the final draft.



1. First draft: Wednesday, November 29th at the beginning of class.

The day the first draft is due, bring one printed and stapled copy. You are also required to submit your first draft to Turnitin.

2. Final draft: Monday, December 11th at the beginning of class.

The day the final draft is due, bring one printed and stapled copy in a double-pocketed folder along with any previous drafts. You are also required to submit your final draft to Turnitin. Remember, I don’t accept late work!

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