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RESEARCH

PAPER
McLaughlin / WR 13300 / Spring 2017

Paper Requirements

Address a topic of interest to you,


while also engaging a concept or
scholarly conversation relevant to
the course "happiness" theme.

Present a clearly articulated, well-


reasoned, focused argument to a
specific, persuadable audience

Develop key points with


examples, evidence, and analysis

Anticipate and respond to possible


counterarguments
Over the past several weeks, You may choose any topic
you have developed a variety you like that somehow Integrate at least six credible
of critical thinking and writing engages our course theme sources
skills. Youve learned how to (we will spend some time
write with specificity, how to exploring topic ideas in Follow MLA format and citation
read, analyze, integrate, and class). Be sure to stay guidelines
cite sources, and how to craft focused on what arguments
an organized, focused, you can make to particular Be 7-9 pages in length.
developed argument framed by stakeholders, rather than
academic concepts. simply "reporting" or
Throughout these tasks, you've summarizing the existing
examined a variety of debate. You could, for PAPER DUE: April 7
arguments about the concept example, consider (by 11:55 p.m., via Sakai)
of "happiness," including some
proposing a solution to a
emerging from psychology,
problem. Another option
brain science, religion,
would be to offer a rebuttal
government, education, and
popular culture. This essay will to a prevalent perspective.
draw from all of the knowledge Yet another option would be Other Required Work
capacities and skills listed to critique an existing policy
above and will also orient you or practice in light of To support your research and drafting,
to the realm of independent something you learn. You you will be asked to complete several
research. You will gain a could offer a causal smaller tasks. Most importantly, you will
deeper understanding of a analysis of a trend/ be required to turn in a research
subtopic related to our course phenomenon you identify; proposal and exploratory draft early
theme and will make a focused and, of course, you could in your research process. You will also
argument to a specific perform a rhetorical compile an annotated bibliography to
audience that draws from your analysis of a text or artifact organize your research. We will talk
research and analysis. that relates to our theme. more about these in class.
INVENTING A TOPIC
There are many strategies for finding a viable topic, but one of the best approaches is to ask questions
about communities and texts that are of interest to you and how those interests might relate to some of
the discussions we've had this semester. Here are some examples (not exhaustive!):

Education/Campus
What steps could the University of Notre Dame take to increase the well-being of first-year
students?
To what extent might meditation be valuable as part of the training for student athletes?
In what ways does education promote (or combat) hedonism?
Are home-schooled students "happier" than their public school counterparts? Why or why not?

Identity/Community
In what ways do current conversations about "happiness" reflect problematic assumptions about
race, class, gender, sexuality, or ability?
Under what conditions is a person more likely to practice altruism? To what extent can those
conditions be recreated within a community that needs more unity?

Popular Culture/Entertainment
What might the rise in "anti-hero" television shows reflect about societal happiness and well-being?
What does the organic food industry want us to believe about the connection between food and
happiness? To what extent are those claims sound, problematic, or incomplete?

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

AUDIENCE/PURPOSE (40 points): The paper makes a clear, focused argument to a specific,
persuadable audience. The paper reflects what's at stake for readers and avoids drifting away
from its intended purpose. The paper keeps an argumentative stance, avoiding mere research
"reporting" or summarizing of what's already known. The paper adopts an appropriate tone for
academic readers.

ORGANIZATION (40 points): The paper offers a clear "road map" for readers, signaling what
readers can expect from the essay. Paragraphs are organized around distinct main ideas and
are arranged in a way that reflects a progression of logical thought. Smooth transitions guide
readers seamlessly through the logic of the argument.

DEVELOPMENT (40 points): The paper addresses all necessary pieces of the argument,
providing relevant context and points of debate to frame the thesis. All claims are supported with
relevant evidence and analysis, with an effective balance between source material and the
writer's independent thought.

CLARITY (40 points): The sentence-level prose is generally free of mechanical errors and typos.
Sentences are varied in structure and length, with attention to precise word choice. The language
is easy to follow, with all important terms and concepts clearly defined.

CONVENTIONS (40 points): The paper follows the current MLA 2016 format and citation
guidelines, using appropriate in-text citations and a properly formatted Works Cited page. Source
material is integrated responsibly and seamlessly throughout, taking into account the
expectations of academic audiences.