Writing to Inform

Before I delve into this week’s post, I want to start by discussing some changes to our course schedule. Due to the days we’ve missed, I am revising our schedule drastically. I know we were scheduled to start discussing historical speeches this week, but I will be moving that discussion to a bit later this month. Be sure to download the new course schedule here English 1102 Course Schedule (pt. 1).

This week we will start working on writing to inform. You’ve chosen a topic to focus on this semester, and now it’s time to start actually writing and research. Your first essay for this project will be an exploratory essay. You can download the full handout here Exploratory Essay.

Assignment Summary:
The exploratory paper is one in which you examine various sides to a particular issue, but you do not side with one particular perspective at this stage in the process. This exercise exposes you to the varied perspectives that inform a particular issue and gives you the opportunity to weigh each side’s strengths and weaknesses. Ultimately, you will be choosing a side and arguing that side in your final research paper, but this paper does not have to, and indeed should not, include a clear argument one way or another. In many ways it is a research paper, in that you will be looking at outside sources to explore the different perspectives, but it is also very much a personal paper, in that you will be writing through what you think you know and/or think you think about a topic based on what you have been reading. I use the terms “think you know” and “think you think” not to make you feel like your opinions are worthless, but rather to emphasize that the exploratory paper’s intention is to think through an issue by writing. All of this is not to say that you do not need a thesis, but remember that your thesis will be less an argument about a position and more a statement about the range of positions you have found on your topic.

Think of this paper as part of the foundation for your final research paper. Remember this is NOT an argument paper.

For this week come prepared to discuss the following:
Guide Chapter 4 “Research and Documentation”
Everything’s an Argument Chapter 17

I do know that there is a chance of inclement weather this week, so if the university cancels classes please keep up with the reading and I will open a blog post that allows for questions on the upcoming essay. Everyone is still responsible for this material and getting started because I can not push the schedule back anymore than I already have at this point.

P.S. Don’t forget to start working on your blogs 🙂


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