Portfolio 3: The I-Search Paper (Part 2 – 5) Sample

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What is I-Search?

The term I-Search was coined in 1988 by Ken Macrorie, who proposed a type of research that more personally involved the writer than a traditional research paper.

For this paper, you will be choosing a topic to which you have an immediate and personal connection. For example, let’s say that your brother has just been diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. You want to find out everything you can about the disease and how it will impact his life and that of your family.

Each step of the I-Search paper is outlined below. Please be sure to ask if you have questions along the way!

Parts of the I-Search Paper

(Click on the link to take you to each section of the paper)

Part 1: The Research Question

Part 2: The Lead

Part 3: The Quest

Part 4: The Search

Part 5: What I Learned

Part 6: The Works Cited Page

Part 7: Putting it All Together

Formatting Your Paper

Due Dates

Grading

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Part 1: The Research Question

Before you get started, you will formulate a research question based on the topic you have chosen. To get from topic to research question, you will be required to answer the following questions:

                What is my topic? Example: Crohn’s disease

Why am I interested in this topic? Example: We recently learned that my younger brother, Ted, has Crohn’s disease. The whole family has a direct stake in his care and the outcome.

What do I hope to learn from studying this topic? Example: I hope to learn as much as I can about the disease and its impact on Ted and our family.

Research question: Example: Can my brother, Ted, lead a healthy, active life despite his diagnosis with Crohn’s disease?

The assignment for Part 1: Select three topics and formulate a research question for each. A proper research question will be formatted as above and will answer the above four questions used in the example. Within 24 hours, I will let you know which of the topics, if any, has been approved, and you may then proceed to Part 2.

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Part 2: The Lead

The lead of the I-Search paper should be no fewer than two full pages long. In this first part of the paper, which you write before you conduct your research, you will explore the following:

  1. What do I want to know about my subject?
  2. What do I already know about my subject?

Your lead, like the introduction to any essay, must first catch the readers’ attention and give them a sense of the direction in which you plan to focus your paper. It must also establish a clear goal for your research.

The assignment for Part 2: Write no fewer than two full pages in which you capture the interest of your readers through an effective introduction, thoroughly explain what you already know about the topic, and establish goals for a clear and manageable topic.

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Part 3: The Quest

In Part 3, you will explore the purpose of your research and the questions to which you seek answers. For example, using our scenario of a brother with Crohn’s disease, you might want to find out the following:

What can my brother do to keep exercising and playing sports?

                Are there any foods he will need to avoid?

                What are the different kinds of treatment for Crohn’s disease?

What kinds of medications might he need to take as part of that treatment and what are their side effects?

What emotional or psychological impact might his disease have on him and the entire family?

In this section, you will explore the following:

  1. What is/are the question(s) I seek to answer through my research?
  2. What subject(s) related to my topic do I need to investigate?

The assignment for Part 3: In no less than one full page, discuss the questions you want to answer through your research, also giving some explanation or sense of why you chose those particular questions and what kinds of sources/perspectives you might use.

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Part 4: The Search

For this portion of the I-Search paper, you will conduct your actual research, and you will write about what you find as well as your perspective/opinion about the material you locate. This constitutes the “body” of your I-Search paper.

The assignment for Part 4: Using the NetLibrary, Internet, electronic databases, and personal interview(s), research the topic you have chosen. You are required to use a MINIMUM of :

  • one book,
  • two magazine/journal articles found on the College’s online e-databases,
  • one Internet sources, and
  • one personal interview.

For each source, write a minimum of one full page in which you (1) summarize the information you found in that source and (2) give your reaction/response to the information (five full pages total, minimum). No, you may not substitute a different kind of source for another (i.e., an Internet article for an online database article).

You must properly document any in-text quotations, paraphrases, or summaries with parenthetical citations. You will create a works cited page as a separate assignment. Unlike some research papers, you will be writing in first person (hence the name “I-Search”); however, your language must still be formal (no slang, colloquial expressions, or jargon). Please see the appendices at the end of this assignment for the grading rubrics for this section of the assignment.

NOTE: Along the way, you will find and discard sources you decide not to use. That’s ok. This section is just for the four sources you decided to keep.

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Part 5: What I Learned

Part 5 of the I-Search paper is the summary/conclusion of your research. What did you learn? How will this knowledge impact your life? Reflect on the overall process of the I-Search paper and draw some conclusions about what you learned.

The assignment for Part 5: Write a minimum of two well-developed paragraphs in which you conclude your I-Search experience.

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Part 6: The Works Cited Page

The assignment for Part 6: For this assignment, create a properly formatted list of the works you actually used for the body (Part 4B) of this paper. Follow proper MLA citation rules to create the Works Cited page.

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Part 7: Putting it All Together: The “Package”

Once you have completed all of the steps outlined above, put the entire project together. You will “package” the project as a single file that consists of the six previously mentioned parts, properly formatted. You will not be allowed to submit multiple documents. Turn in the entire project by the assigned due date listed on the course calendar.

The assignment for Part 7: Your final product must contain the following, in the following order, with each part properly labeled:

  • Your research question (on a separate page)
  • The lead (two pages, minimum)
  • The quest (one page, minimum)
  • The search (five pages, minimum – one page for each required source)
  • Your conclusion (“What I Learned”) (two paragraph minimum)
  • Your works cited page (generally one page)

Formatting your paper

You will use MLA style to format your paper. This means that you will use the following guidelines:

  • 12-point Times New Roman type
  • one-inch margins
  • your last name and the page number in the upper right-hand corner of each page
  • double-spacing
  • on the first page of your paper, you will include an MLA heading, like so:

Your name

Professor Dorhauer

ENGL 101

The date, formatted like this: 28 November 2011

  • You also will subhead each individual section, like this: Part 5: What I Learned

For additional information about MLA style, you can visit this website: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01//

For an image of a properly formatted first page of a paper, follow this link: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/media/jpeg/20060509041652_557.jpg

If you want to include page dividers or title pages as part of the design of your total project package, that will be up to you.

Grading

Your paper is worth 200 points total, and will be graded in the following manner:

Part 1: The Question (10 points)

Turned in all three questions on time, formatted as required = 10 points.

Part 2: The Lead (30 points)

10-9 points 8-7 points 6 points and below
This lead has an excellent opening that uses a clear introductory strategy to truly “hook” the reader. This lead has a mediocre opening. Though an introductory strategy is suggested at the opening, it is not well developed enough to be extremely effective. Needs development. It is not clear that any introductory strategy was used in this lead. Needs a new introduction with an effective “hook.”
This lead clearly explains what the writer already knows about the subject. The writer acknowledges pre-existing stereotypes and assumptions and is careful to point out the limitations of her/his knowledge of the subject. This lead explains what the writer already knows about the subject, but not in enough detail so as to acknowledge pre-existing stereotypes and assumptions or point out the limitations of her/his knowledge of the subject. This lead scarcely (or does not) explain what the writer already knows about the subject. The writer does not acknowledge pre-existing stereotypes and assumptions and does not point out the limitations of her/his knowledge of the subject.
This lead establishes a clear and manageable topic that the writer wishes to research and the specific goal(s) of that research. This lead establishes a topic that the writer wishes to research, but it is not specific or manageable; the goal of the research needs to be clearly established. This lead does not establish a clear and manageable topic that the writer wishes to research. The goal(s) of the research are unclear.

 

Part 3: The Quest (20 points)

Quest papers in this category will receive 18-20 points Quest papers in this category will receive 16-17 points Quest papers in this category will receive 14-15 points Quest papers in this category will receive 13 points or fewer
Thoroughly establishes separate and specific questions that connect to the research goal Partially establishes separate and specific questions that connect to the research goal Minimally establishes separate and specific questions that connect to the research goal Does not establish or poorly establishes separate and specific questions that connect to the research goal
Thoroughly introduces any controversies, problems, or issues that may surround the subject Partially introduces any controversies, problems, or issues that may surround the subject Minimally introduces any controversies, problems, or issues that may surround the subject Does not introduce or poorly introduces any controversies, problems, or issues that may surround the subject
Thoroughly suggests interview sources or establishes that sources will come from different perspectives so as to make the research as well-rounded as possible Partially suggests interview sources or establishes that sources will come from different perspectives so as to make the research as well-rounded as possible Minimally suggests interview sources or establishes that sources will come from different perspectives so as to make the research as well-rounded as possible Does not suggest or poorly suggests interview sources or establishes that sources will come from different perspectives so as to make the research as well-rounded as possible

Part 4B: The Search (50 points)

Each item is worth 10 points apiece, for a total of 30 points (10 points x 5 sources). If the item accomplishes the task listed below, it earns a point, and if not, a zero is awarded in that category.

These entries cite all appropriate source information. These entries clearly connect summarized sections to the researcher’s “quest.” Summaries are pertinent to researcher’s original questions.

 

Direct quotations, paraphrases, and summaries are parenthetically cited (that is, page numbers follow the cited section in parentheses).

 

These entries conclude with a systematic indication of what exactly the researcher learned from each source and how this information connects to the researcher’s quest(ions). The conclusion, moreover, offers an interesting overall opinion about the source.

 

 

Part 5: What I Learned (20 points)

18-20 points 16-17 points 14-15 points 13 points and below
Intelligent and interesting discussion of further questions and research. Much self-evaluation and self-reflection provided.

Presents conclusions, recommendations, and predictions, fully explaining reasoning

Provides a full and clear explanation of what impact this information will have on thinking, beliefs, and actions

Provides a full and clear explanation of why this information is significant, providing examples

Notes further questions and research. Some self-evaluation and self-reflection provided.

Presents some conclusions, recommendations, and predictions, supported with some explanation

Provides some explanation of impact on thinking, beliefs, and actions

Provides some explanation about significance

Shows little awareness of new questions and research. Very little self-evaluation or self-reflection provided.

Presents very brief conclusions, recommendations, and predictions; no explanation of reasoning

Provides very brief explanation of impact on thinking, beliefs, and actions

Provides scanty explanation about significance

Little or no evidence of awareness of further questions or research. Little or no self-evaluation or self-reflection.

No conclusions, recommendations, or predictions provided

No explanation of impact

No explanation of why information is significant

 

Part 6: Works Cited (20 points)

Turned in past deadline: Zero (0) points

Works Cited title is centered, in the correct font style and size (not underlined, italicized, a bigger font, etc.) 2 points
Entries are alphabetized by author’s last name (if there is an author) 2 points
Entries are double-spaced 2 points
Entries use hanging indent (every line after the first line of each entry is indented) 2 points
Entries include all necessary information (author’s name, publication information, etc.), using proper citation format (minus one point for each error/missing piece of information) 10 points
Page is properly formatted (one-inch margins, 12-point Times New Roman, last name and page number in upper right-hand corner) 2 points

Part 7A: The “Package” (50 points)

10 = Excellent; 8 = Proficient; 6 = Developing; 4 = Emerging; 2 = Not yet

Ideas and content

(10 points)

Question and Hypotheses:

Question is debatable and significant and controls the content of the paper

Sophisticated hypotheses are thorough and reflect effort to understand the issue

Evidence/Sources:

Well-chosen/Significant background information provides a context for understanding the issue

Relevant, accurate evidence and citations support each hypothesis

Minimum number of required sources cited; each source is credible and appropriate

Analysis:

Explication and evaluation of readings demonstrates depth of understanding

Focus remains on question and hypotheses; paper does not drift into tangents

Implication section clearly and specifically explains the impact of the theories

Organization

(10 points)

Required components of the   I-Search format are evident and correct

Question provides direction for the paper

Sequence and structure of ideas and information are clear, focused, and logical

Topic sentences control the content of paragraphs; internal structure of each paragraph is logical

Effective transitions tie ideas together

Style

(10 points)

Tone, voice, and point of view are always appropriate to the purpose and audience

Active verbs and precise nouns add clarity

Subject-specific, striking words enhance meaning

Sentences vary in length and structure with no awkward constructions

Creative and appropriate transition words and phrases improve rhythm

Quotations/evidence are seamlessly integrated into the text

Conventions/Presentation

(20 points)

Spelling, punctuation and capitalization are correct

Grammar and usage are correct

Presentation is appropriate to the task

Appropriate fonts and font sizes are used

Citations and bibliography are done correctly in MLA style

Spacing, indentations, and margins are correct

Titles, headings, and page numbers are used correctly

Due dates

A complete list of due dates is available on your course calendar and within the I-Search unit module.

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A Note on Plagiarism

PLAGIARISM OR ANY OTHER DISHONEST SCHOLARSHIP IN THIS COURSE WILL RESULT IN THE HIGHEST PENALTY ALLOWED BY BRCC’S ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY; IN MOST CASES THIS MEANS FAILING THE COURSE. In accordance with school policy, I also reserve the right to initiate proceedings to EXPEL YOU FROM THE COLLEGE. Any time you borrow a phrase, sentence, paragraph or idea from any outside source – printed material, lecture, friend, television show, etc. – without giving that source credit, you have plagiarized. Careful documentation of your sources is the most effective way to avoid plagiarism. If you have questions, check a style manual or ask me.

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