I-Search Paper PROCESS - NWACC

Or how I learned to love writing research papers.
I-Search Journal (15% of course grade)
A dated, weekly list of all you write in and out of
class all semester (see separate handout on my web
site under “Assignments”
The middle column records notes from class or from
outside class reading.
The final column records your thoughts, comments,
questions, reactions or any ideas about the material
you listed in the middle column.
Reflective Essay (5% of course grade)
This paper is your first foray into the process.
In it you write about what you want to be when you
grow up and why.
Telling a story is paramount. Tell the story of when
and where and why you first knew you wanted to
pursue a certain occupation/career.
Answering the questions from the handout helps.
Generating material you can use to keep the “I” in
your I-search paper is required!
Observation Essay (10% of course grade)
This paper becomes the first outside source for your
I-search paper.
Think of it as field research, a chance to create a
source instead of retrieving it from the Library or
the Internet.
Think of it as a chance to learn from a professional
who is doing as close to what you want to do as you
can find.
HOW to look for ADDITIONAL Sources
Develop a Research Question similar to the one in the
“How to Write an I-search Paper” handout.
e.g. How do I become an Architect?
Develop sub-questions to help you determine definable
tasks and goals. (Take Education as an example.)
What type of schooling will it take for me to become an
 What training or certification will I need?
 What kind of ongoing training or qualifications will I need
to remain an architect?
PLACES to look for ADDITIONAL Sources
Library (NWACC or other physical library)
 Reference
texts (non-circulating)
 Books (circulating)
 Periodicals (magazines, newspapers or journals)
 Databases (subscription services paid for through our
library and accessed through the library portal.
 CD-ROM, VHS or DVD (Audio-Visual Sources)
Virtual Libraries
 NetLibrary
(See Ackerman handout)
 Ebrary (See Ackerman handout)
Places to look for Sources (cont.)
 Occupation
Outlook Handbook.
 Blogs by individuals in the profession with clear
experience and credentials.
 Professional organization web sites.
 Personal web sites, as long as the professional
qualifications and experience are listed.
 Articles in online magazines, newspapers or journals.
Places to look for Sources (cont.)
 Interview
a professional.
 Talk to teachers in the equivalent program here at
NWACC or any college or university.
 Find program brochures, flyers or newsletters that
describe a program you wish to enter.
 Use class lecture notes from a course in your major.
 Look for government documents in your local public
 Look for TV shows, Films or podcasts on your topic.
I-Search Paper Writing Suggestions
Keep track of the “I” in your paper.
Avoid the implied “you.”
Avoid the general set of instructions for anyone to
become an architect, doctor, etc.
Remember to blend your sources with YOUR
thoughts, ideas, comments and reactions.
The FINISHED I-search paper
(20% of your course grade!)
Reflective Essay +
Observation +
Other Sources
Completed I-Search paper