Get Started on Week 5:

Return to and review my comments on Essay 1 before you draft Essay 2. Those were not just assignments but teaching/learning opportunities. Excellent students learn from feedback and make improvements in composing Essay 2. Make sure you see 1) the comments in the blue bubble, 2) the mark-up comments on your paper, and 3) the comments on the grading rubric.

Just as we did for Essay 1, your rough draft will be submitted to your peers for comment on the paragraphing, content, and organization of your draft. They are struggling with the same assignment, and can really help you connect to the assignment and get ideas for responding effectively. MY feedback to you will be focused on the documentation and formatting skills, which really need some experienced guidance to master. The documentation exercises give you the opportunity to check your understanding before you turn in Essay 2. Excellent students adjust their writing based on instructor and peer feedback. Be excellent!

Reach out to me, Martha Schwer, your instructor, if you are overwhelmed and can't get started drafting. Email me with a time that would be convenient for you to talk to me, and I'll do my best to make that happen. There's no need to come to campus, either; we can talk on the phone or visit via SKYPE. Make your appointment at schwer@madisoncollege.edu (preferred) or phone 608-246-6172. If you have computer problems or need help with Word, phone the computer help desk at 608-243-4444 or toll-free 1-866-277-4445.

Recap of Week 4 Learning:

Last week, we focused on finding some preliminary resources and diving deep into how to document the sources of our information.

Researching for college writing demands that you keep track of where you got pieces of info AND requires you to verify information that you think is true. That's a lot of record-keeping, and your readers will expect very specific formats in the text of your papers to communicate complex info about where you got your info.

At this point, you should understand how to research, what records you need to keep, and how to incorporate sources ethically into your writing.

Overview and Goals for Week 5:

This week, we move into actual drafting of your research paper.

As a reminder, Essay 2 is an exploratory research essay. It's open-form, not closed form. An exploratory essay is, in essence, a retrospective of your writing and thinking process as you work through a problem. It describes when, how, and why you completed certain types of research. This kind of writing is about how you work through problems that require writing and research. You will have to be introspective and think about your thinking process in order for your essay to turn out well.

We'll continue to focus on applying MLA documentation format, and analyze an example of an exploratory essay. The bulk of your research and writing will happen this week, too. By the end of the week, a first draft of Essay 2 is due.

Learning Objectives for Week 5:

Use the following as a checklist of skills you'll need this week. By the end of this week you will be able to:

  • identify strategies and characteristics of an exploratory research essay
  • execute a research plan
  • Identify the parts and purpose of an MLA Works Cited page and MLA documentation.
  • apply the writing process to researched writing
  • use attributive tags to separate your ideas from the ideas in sources
  • use parenthetical citation to connect sources to the Works Cited page
  • Use Word to set up formatting for an MLA research essay.
  • apply principles of documentation to recognize accidental plagiarism.

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”~ Zora Neale Hurston