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Assignment #9: Complex Inquiry Essay #3
We are embarking on a project that offers you a chance to develop an inquiry in your own area of interest. We’ve
looked at how Sacks and Wideman employ multiple perspectives, examine context, overturn assumptions, ask difficult
questions, and provide clear and meaningful explanations that address their central question.
YOUR ASSIGNMENT: Now it’s time to think about how to develop an inquiry of your own in a way that is just
as meaningful and compelling as what you’ve been reading. Write a 4-page essay about the following:
Think of someone who puzzles or intrigues you that you would like to understand in a more complex way than you
do right now.
Or think of something difficult or confusing or amazing that has happened to you or someone you know well that
you want to investigate thoroughly. Unlike Sacks or Wideman, you do not have to choose a sad or painful subject;
you might offer a portrait or analysis of cause that looks at a remarkable person or event.
Come up with a central question that will frame your inquiry. The information you gather as a result of your
inquiry will be your essay.
ESSAY #3 PLANNING LETTER: For next class, please begin this process by writing a 1-page planning letter in
which you address these matters:
What is the question that will frame your inquiry? (Even if you’re not sure yet, play with a possibility here;
you’re not obligated to stick with this subject.)
Why are you interested in pursuing this question? What do you want to find out more about?
What are some of the methods you think you can use to research your question?
Include the Planning Letter
Include all your drafts with your final draft. Label each draft (draft 1, draft 2, Final draft).
Include the in-class worksheets and peer review sheets.
Participate in drafting and revising in a timely manner. Hand in drafts and final revision on time.
Follow academic standards for formatting: typed, double-spaced and in Times New Roman font size 12.
margins must be 1” on each side. DO NOT include a title page. INCLUDE the following on the left side upper
corner (each entry one line): Your Name, Course Number and Section, Prof. Earley, Assignment, date. STAPLE
everything together (or use a clip). Follow academic standards for documenting and citing your sources. For
example, when you begin talking about a source, introduce the full name and the title of the reading. Thereafter,
just include page number in parenthesis, or last name and page number if you do not include the author’s name in
the signal phrase: (778) or (Wideman 778).
Include a Works Cited page at the end of your essay listing your sources in alphabetical order by last
name. Follow MLA guidelines.
Print and Proofread BEFORE you hand it in. Your revision will not be perfect, but I expect you to
correct what you can in terms of grammar, punctuation, formatting errors, and avoidable typos. I do not
want sloppy work.
Include the COVER LETTER FOR ESSAY#3. (See handout with Instructions).
Make substantial conceptual changes (rather than just lexical changes) during the revision process (we’ll
discuss what this means in class, so do not miss class on revision days). This can include (but it is not
limited to) adding details, adding evidence, using different evidence, adding examples, using different
examples, expanding on an idea, introducing a new idea, deleting parts, changing focus, rethinking a point.
Have a central question for your inquiry.
Employ multiple perspectives, examine different contexts, overturn assumptions, ask difficult questions,
and provide clear and meaningful explanations that address the central question.
Address the central question throughout your essay. Organize your essay following a logical order.
Paragraphs need to have the purpose of addressing the central question. Develop each paragraph with a
controlling idea, logical reasoning and explanations, examples, and supporting evidence. Follow the MEAL
plan (from handout).
When using evidence, introduce the source and set the context. Connect the evidence to your point.
Analyze the significance of evidence in relation to your central question.
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