Assignment: Choose a topic of or relating to a practical subject that is organized according to scientific principles. For this class you will be asked to complete: 1) writing assignments in response to the assigned course texts, 2) writing tasks related to your formal report, and, of course, 3) a minimum 2100 word formal report/research paper. The word count for your formal report applies to body text only (not your Works Cited pages nor front matter nor back matter).
For your formal report topic you must choose a “technically focused topic.” You will craft a persuasive/argumentative article that poses solutions to the issue under discussion.
I’m often asked what “technically focused” means. Following are the definitions for the word “technical” that should guide your topic choice:
• of or relating to a practical subject that is organized according to scientific principles
• work requiring the practical application of scientific, engineering, mathematical or design principles
• Of or pertaining to the useful in mechanical arts, or to any science, business, or the like
Check with me if you have an idea that doesn’t fit those definitions of “technical.” Also, it’s very
important to be genuinely interested in your topic because you are going to spend a lot of
time on your formal report this quarter.
Passing work for the formal report must:
1. demonstrate understanding of the purposes and processes of academic research, especially as
it is practiced in western cultures;
2. demonstrate ability to access and use the appropriate research tools available in college
3. demonstrate ability to select and read critically books and materials that are related to your
specific research topic and to incorporate appropriate information in your formal report.
Your formal report must meet the following source requirements.
A minimum of eight required sources:
Four academic/scholarly sources, at least two of which must be from a current—within the past
five years—peer-reviewed scholarly journal, and
Four credible/popular secondary sources (most magazines and newspapers would fall into this
Four of the eight sources must be from the [I will get 4 sources once you picked topic] database.
Additional information about your sources:
• The above are the minimum requirements: feel free to use more than eight sources
• You can get all your sources from the [ ]
• Some students use only academic/scholarly sources and skip the popular sources. I’m fine
• You are welcome to include primary sources in your paper, and many scholarly articles
based on the author’s own research are primary sources. You can also include the first
person “I.” Keep in mind, however, that if you use first person, use it sparingly as
evidence for your arguments, not as informal personal opinion. You must maintain a
formal tone, which means that most of your paper will be in third person (“we”).
Note: For the purposes of this course, Wikipedia does NOT meet any of the above requirements.
Also, please note that religious texts—Bible, Koran, etc.—are classified as sacred texts and are
neither secondary nor academic/scholarly sources. Finally, our class textbooks will not count towards
your eight required sources; in other words, you can use our textbooks as sources, but you’ll need eight
Other important requirements for the formal report
● an appropriate and well-reasoned thesis that is clearly stated and quickly identifiable;
● personal understanding of and engagement with the topic;
● language which reflects your genuine engagement with the research while still being precise and
formal in tone and style;
● correct use of MLA for documentation of the sources you cite
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