Research Essay: Internet sources

This post provides information about the credible Internet article requirement of the Research Essay, specific to my ENG 1002 course.  Students are expected to use

General Suggestion: print the article(s) you believe you will use as evidence in your essay. Saving a link is fine, but having the printed copy will allow you to trouble-shoot Internet access issues and the event that a free sites moves to paid accounts.

Choosing Credible Sources

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Research Essay: Library Sources

This post provides information about the library database article requirement of the Research Essay, specific to my ENG 1002 course. Students are expected to use

General Suggestion: 1) copy/paste the permalink or document URL for each article you believe you will use as evidence in your essay 2) download/email yourself the PDF (when available) and 3) print the article. This will allow you to troubleshoot Internet access issues.

List of Commonly Used Library Databases 

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Body Paragraph Development: ENG 1002

This post includes information about developing body paragraphs for analytical writing. It first discusses body paragraph development and then provides expectation for how to incorporate and use citation. I consider this a foundation skill-set involved in writing successful academic evidence-based claims.

PART 1: Paragraph Development.

In order to develop/write strong, logical body paragraphs, each one needs to include 3 parts:

  1. Topic sentence: one sentence that lets readers know the paragraph’s main point.
    • Doesn’t provide depth or example.
  2. Developing Sentences: 4-6 sentences, excluding citation.
    • Provides the description, example, or depth that explains your paragraph’s point to readers.
  3. Wrap-up (with optional transition): 1-3 sentences that end your point; may begin to transition to your next topic.

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Writing with Academic Authority: ENG 1002

This post overviews the information in the Research Essay Writing with Academic Authority PowerPoint and class discussion. It will move through the ways in which you can provide academic authority in your writing by means of fully utilized signal phrases, removing “fluff” language, and avoiding problematic language.

Academic Authority

Authoritative language = word choice and tone that implies knowledge and confidence from the author.

  1. Consistently show the relevance and credibility of your sources.
  2. Remove “fluff” and filler language.
  3. Avoid problematic and absolute language.
  4. Revise for distracting and repetitive language.

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Research Essay Library Resources

For most students, being tasked with a research essay is always a daunting and scary task. Research can be tricky if you’re new to the expectation, so please be sure to use the resources I’m providing and reach out for assistance when needed.

NOTE: students who use these resources spend much less time worrying about, generally freaking out about, or completely redoing research, even though the video feels like a time commitment. Every semester I read student reflections about their research essays that mention they should have spent more time using the provided resources; some of them even discover them a few days before the essay due date and end up reworking their entire paper as a result.

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Citation Sandwich Expectations

This can be used as an example for my ENG 1001 and ENG 1002 essays. And while I’ll be specifically grading for citation sandwiches, sandwiching your evidence within your body paragraphs in the way I’ve outlined below will bring a couple key things to your academic writing:

  1. Academic Authority: providing appropriate signal phrases and explanation will show readers that you’re using credible and relevant sources that fit within the context of your argument.
  2. Organization: preparing readers for what is coming with a topic sentence, signal phrase, and helping them see the connections that you’ve just made with your citation examples and wrap-up sentences will help them understand the content that you’re providing them. It’s like a little mini 5-paragraph essay within your body paragraphs.
  3. Grading: while my grading expectations include citation sandwich structure specifically, I’ve simply named a common grading expectation the “citation sandwich” to make things more clear for students. Additionally, most IVCC English instructors use the department grading guidelines that look for strong organization, thesis and support within student writing, something use of citation sandwiches will generally provide your essay.

Citation Sandwich Expectations

Every body paragraph needs to contain the following elements. These will add academic authority to your writing, showcase the relevance/credibility of the sources you’ve chosen as evidence of your claims, and help readers see the context of your evidence within your paragraph and essay claims.

  • Body Paragraph Topic Sentence
  • 2-3 sentences that state your claim
  • Evidence: signal phrase with citation
  • 2-3 sentences that explain (1) how the quote supports your claim or (2) context for the quote
  • Repeat “claim, evidence, explain” steps, as needed (at least once is suggested)
  • 1-3 sentences that wrap up the paragraph’s point and may transition to the next paragraph.

Here’s an Example Direct Quote

Topic sentence of body paragraph. 2-3 sentences that set-up or build the paragraph’s point. The article “Generation X Defined” from Slate Magazine makes the claim “The great drawback to becoming a celebrated voice of a generation is that it encourages writers to believe that whatever idle thoughts drift through their minds … are automatically of interest (Pond et al. 455). While those in previous generations were taught that children should be seen, not heard, the up-and-coming Generation X has generally been encouraged for individual opinions. Repeat steps 2-4 as needed. 1-3 wrap-up and transitional sentence (remember that your transitions can be at the end of this paragraph, the beginning of the next paragraph, or combination of the two via connecting language/words.

Things to note about this example:

  1. The parenthetical documentation formatting of this source tells readers this article includes an author name (and the page number of the citation, when known–often this is not known on Internet source). On the Works Cited page, this entry would begin with the last name of Pond.
  2. The use of the introductory signal phrase as well as the continued reference back to the source while including additional information helps show readers the credibility of your source while reminding them that you’re using borrowed information.
  3. The explanation or context provided by you the student is nearly as long as the paraphrase citation, making your voice be just as strong (or stronger) than the voice of the citation. 

Additional Resources:

And here’s a link to transitional language post if you’re looking for ways to provide more transition within and between your paragraphs.

Accessing IVCC Library Databases from Home

When researching from a home for computer or one that is not using IVCC’s wifi while on campus, you’ll need to “log in” before you can access the library’s research databases. Here’s the process:

  1. pull up the IVCC library homepage
  2. click on the database in which you’d like to research
  3. it’ll redirect you to a log in screen, you’ll enter 24611 + your student number + 01, and then enter your last name.
  4. you will then have access to research
  5. log in again if your computer remains idle for a long period of time or you navigate away from the library page
  6. NOTE: if it’s still not working, try a different web browser (Chrome instead of Firefox or Firefox instead of Internet Explorer) and make sure your computer is allowing “pop-ups” from the IVCC website.