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ENG 1A I Search Paper Fall 2020

English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
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The I-Search paper is designed to teach the writer and the
reader something valuable about a chosen topic and about
the nature of searching and discovery. As opposed to the
standard research paper where the writer usually assumes a
detached and objective stance, the I-Search paper allows you
to take an active role in your search, to experience some of
the hunt for facts and truths first-hand, and to provide a stepby-step record of the discovery.
English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
The first rule of the I-Search paper is to select a topic that genuinely interests you and
that you need to know more about. In this case, you will be researching some aspect of
Identity (Race, Class, Gender) that you are interested in or most concerned about
The I-Search paper will be written in four integrated sections:
Part I: Introduction (1-2 Pages)
Part II: What I know, Assume, or Imagine (1-2 Pages)
Part III: The Search -Two Parts (2-3 Pages)
Part IV: What I Discovered- Two Parts (4-5 pages)
Part V: References Page (1-2 pages)
I. INTRODUCTION: The introduction of your essay should give your reader some
indication of why you have chosen to write about this particular topic. Keep in mind that
your essay needs to have some point. What message do you want to communicate to
your reader? The message needs to be something more than "I believe…I think…I
feel…." The purpose of this essay will be to inform your reader of your (1) original
assumptions, (2) the information you found on your search, and (3) your discoveries.
II. What I Want to Know, What I Assume or Imagine: Before conducting any
formal research, write a section in which you explain to the reader what you think you
know, what you assume, or what you imagine about your topic. There are no wrong
answers here. You are basically establishing your hypothesis. For this research
project, it is most effective for your hypothesis or thesis to be presented as a
series of three or four questions you plan to explore answers to in the following
III. The Search: Test your knowledge, assumptions, or conjectures by researching
your paper topic thoroughly. Conducting a phone or face to face interview with someone
who is a KEY PLAYER: one who may be able to change or improve the problem you
are addressing. If your Identity Topic involves researching is a cultural concern, perhaps
you can interview a family or community member who is working towards positive
change. A second requirement will be to visit Merritt’s Online Library and investigate the
abundant books and Internet resources available. Other first-hand activities that may
provide valuable information include writing letters, and/ or making telephone calls.
Also, consult useful second-hand sources such as books, magazines, newspapers, and
documentaries. Be sure to record all the information you gather.
Write up your search in a narrative form, relating the steps of the discovery process (this
means that you are going to tell the story of what you did to research this topic and what
you learned in the process). Do not feel obligated to tell everything (you don't have to
tell us the boring stuff but highlight the happenings and facts you uncovered that were
crucial to your hunt and contributed to your understanding of the information.
English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
Your Hunt for Information: This is the story of your hunt for information. For this
section, you will rely on your Journal entries. Summarize your journey from Day One of
your I-Search to the finish line. Make sure to summarize how you began your research.
What process did you use to conduct your research? What types of searches did you try
and how did they turn out? Include your opinion on sources and the information you
discovered. Show the steps you took in your thinking/brainstorming. What challenges
did you experience along the way? How did you handle these challenges?
IV: What I Discovered: This section will be divided into two parts.
1) This section must be written in an objective tone which means that you should
avoid using personal statements such as “I think”, “I believe”, or “I feel.” Save
your opinions for your reflection. Where were each of the sources found? What did each
source reveal? Did the sources effectively answer any of your questions? How?
Describe each source as it relates to your original research questions (listed at the end
of Part II: What I Want to Know).
2) Your Reflection: What did you learn about yourself as a researcher? Did anything
about this research process surprise you? Include your opinion on sources and the
information you discovered. For example, did you realize you had a bigger interest in
this social issue than you originally anticipated? Reflect upon the entire search
experience, not only what you got out of it, not only what you have learned, but how this
search has changed your life. What do you now know about searching for information
that you didn’t know before? To answer this question, you will describe those findings
that meant the most to you. What are the implications of your findings? How might your
newly found knowledge affect your future?
After concluding your search, compare what you thought you knew, assumed, or
imagined with what you discovered, assess your overall learning experience, and offer
some personal commentary about the value of your discoveries and/or draw some
conclusions. Some questions that you might consider at this stage:
How accurate were your original assumptions?
What new information did you acquire?
What did you learn that surprised you?
Overall, what value did you derive from the process of searching and discovery?
Don’t just do a question/answer conclusion. Go back to the main point you want to
make with this essay. What final message do you want to leave with your readers?
English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
You will be required to attach a formal bibliography, following the APA format,
listing the sources you consulted to write your I-Search paper. You will need to
use a minimum of six different sources. One of your sources has been chosen for
you which is “The Banking Concept of Education” by Paulo Freire. Your research
requires you to find five more sources: 1 – interview or survey (for extra credit), 1book or e-book, 1-magazine, journal, or newspaper article, and 3- Internet
sources. (This means that you will have at least 6 sources in your bibliography,
and I would expect to see these sources cited in the body of your paper.) There
are also Internet resources that can assist you with APA Documentation and
other aspects of writing a research paper.
Keeping your audience firmly in mind will be an important key to success with this
assignment. You don’t want to write this up as if it is simply a long journal entry. Think of
your audience as freshmen in college or university transfer students who might also be
interested in the information you have collected. Remember, writing is a form of
communication, and you need to be clear in your own mind who you are trying to
communicate with and what you want to communicate to those people. Your I-Search
will need to be a MINIMUM of 8 FULL pages. Note: The 8 pages do NOT include
Title Page, Cover Letter, Abstract, References Page, or Appendices.
When you turn in your final draft you will need to include the following
1. The final draft of the essay (I will grade whatever is uploaded to Canvas). Your
essay must follow the format outlined above. Essays that are not typed in the
prescribed format and do not follow APA standards when citing sources will lose
10 points (one full letter grade) off the essay grade.
2. (Required) A LETTER to me in which you discuss what interested you about this
topic. Describe any difficulties you had with the assignment and how you
attempted to overcome those difficulties. Discuss the responses you received
from your peers. Did you find their feedback useful? If yes, what information did
you find particularly helpful? If no, what information do you wish you had received
and what could you have done differently to get the feedback you needed?
Finally, what do you think the strengths of your essay are, and what would you
still like to work on? Keep in mind that this last question is not simply an
opportunity for you to "sell" your work. I want your honest assessment. Your
letter should be one page, typed in Business Letter Format. Don’t try to write the
letter in the five minutes before class.
3. One Graphic (a photo, political cartoon, or an advertisement)
4. Interview OR Survey Questions (*EXTRA CREDIT)
English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
When you submit your I-Search Paper make sure that it is the correct, revised draft. I
can only grade the document you submit and you will NOT be able to resubmit it after
December 18th.
A Helpful Hint
* There may be sample I-Search papers on reserve in the library. I would strongly
encourage you to take a few minutes to find them. The format for the I-Search
paper is different than the format for a standard research paper, and if you do not
complete the assignment correctly, it will hurt your grade.
● Choose a topic related to our class discussion and reading focus on
Identity. As you create your Inquiry Questions also consider how your
topic relates to our class discussion: How does race, class, gender and /or
sexuality impact identity?
● EDUCATION: Bilingual Education, Cultural Assimilation
● EDUCATION: Public versus Private Schools (Inequity)
● EDUCATION: ADHD Diagnosis / Learning Disabilities
● EDUCATION: The Digital Divide during COVID-19 Pandemic
● GENDER: Female Inequality / Bias (school, career, family gender roles),
Patriarchy, Teen Moms / Single Parenting
● CLASS & RACE: Mass Incarceration / Prison Industrial Complex (PIC)
● RACE: Stereotypes / Racial Profiling
● RACE: Internalized Racism / Colorism
*Please keep in mind that the sample topics above are very
broad which means it is imperative that you create at least
three specific, inquiry questions to anchor your research. The
questions you create will also serve as your Thesis.
English 1A Fall 2020 The I-Search Paper A. Henderson -MERRITT COLLEGE
Parts I & II: Introduction , and What I Want to Know: Due on Monday, November 16th 2020
Your Complete FINAL DRAFT is due : Friday, December 18th 2020
in our online Canvas classroom.
Your I-Search Paper must be uploaded to Canvas by 11:59 on Friday, December 18th