The Assignment:

The Revision. Having reviewed your peer reviewers' comments and having considered my comments on your draft and in conference, you should revise your research draft into a polished, well-written source-based argument.

The Letter. After you have finished revising your paper, write your research project letter, which is composed of two parts.

Part one: Revised abstract. The goal of this assignment is to have you synthesize the main points of your argument and, by printing it on the same page as your original abstract, to have you reflect on the changes your project has undergone over the course of the quarter.
First, review Booth's handout on abstracts, distributed earlier in the quarter.
Now, write an abstract for your research paper that approximates the "Context + Problem + Summary + Results/Main Point" model. In other words, your abstract first should state the context for your discussion, then articulate the problem, then summarize the main components of your argument, and then, finally, report your results or conclusions.
Your revised abstract may be simply an expansion of the original abstract you handed in earlier in the quarter, or it may be completely different (whether in terms of content, structure, or style). What is most important is that it accurately reflects the information contained in your paper. Don't forget that metadiscourse is quite appropriate, if not recommended, for this assignment.
Having written your revised abstract, print it at the top of your letter. Then cut and paste a copy of your original abstract. Label them appropriately (original - revision). Juxtaposing them in this way will help you (and me) conceptualize the development of this paper over the quarter.
Part Two: The Letter. Now, underneath the two abstracts, write a one-page letter in which you reflect on both
  1. your stylistic and rhetorical decisions in writing the research paper -- i.e. what voice did you decide to use? Where did you use logos, ethos, and pathos? Which did you prioritize in your writing? what creative risks did you take in your writing? how do you see your form and content as related? what strategies of development did you use? how did you decide to organize your paper -- logically and formally? Please also reflect on the success of these decisions.
  2. your progress through the research project. You may want to discuss how the project changed over the weeks you worked on it, what was most fulfilling or frustrating about the research or writing process, whether or not you found the topic as engaging as you anticipated, what you would research further, the strongest or weakest part of your argument, how the paper changed as you drafted it, whether peer feedback was valuable, how you have changed as a writer, etc. Although I don't expect the letter to be a formal essay, I do expect it to be a thoughtful and articulate evaluation of your experience with the research project.


Turn it in. Having revised your paper and written your letter, turn your letter, your revision, and your peer review forms at the beginning of class on the 24th. Also be sure to post all these documents in your Panfora personal work folder as well -- this includes your bibliography.

Due Date

Monday, November 24th - Turn in a folder containing your revision, your letter, and the peer reviews you received; also post your letter and revision (including your bibliography) on Panfora under your Personal Work.


Preliminary Reading
  • Envision ch. 6
  • Student models (from Envision and from the Boothe essays)
The Research Project Letter. The letter should be one page, single or double spaced as appropriate, machine-generated, and should contain your name. One copy should be placed in your project portfolio, and one copy should be posted on Panfora.

The Research Paper. Your Research Paper should represent a thorough revision of your drafts. It should include

  1. a title page: Be sure to use as effective a title as possible (look at Craft of Research p. 212 for ideas).
  2. page numbers: All pages should be numbered, the only exceptions being the cover title page and the first page if you so desire.
  3. a staple or clip: All papers must be stapled or clipped in the upper left hand corner. A possible exception would be if you preferred to bind it in a term paper cover, but please don't use a clear plastic sheath with the type of plastic binding that simply slides on.
  4. no grammatical, punctuation or spelling mistakes: Use a grammar book if necessary to get rid of grammatical or punctuation mistakes. Use your computer's spell-check, a dictionary, or your best friend to eliminate spelling mistakes.
  5. 10 to 15 pages of writing: This page limit does not include the bibliography/works cited page, notes, appendices, or integrated visuals. Exceeding the page limit is okay, but turning in a paper below it is unacceptable. If you are having real problems meeting the page requirement, let me know.
  6. a persuasive thesis statement & convincing development of ideas: This thesis statement should be proven using concrete evidence, concise & precise language, and an organic underlying structure that includes a well-written, effective introduction, conclusion and appropriate strategies of development.
  7. effective use of visual rhetoric: Include those pictures, graphs, or charts that are relevant to your discussion. Make sure you are an effective practitioner of visual rhetoric: do not forget to refer to and analyze them appropriately in your argument, to include captions, and to document the sources from which you took them. Remember: the decision between integrating your images and appending them at the end of your paper must be based on the overall rhetorical effectiveness of your argument.
  8. relevant, integrated quotes: You should use direct quotations to support your argument, taken from either primary or secondary sources. Be sure, however, only to quote relevant material; paraphrase where appropriate. And also be sure to integrate the quotes into your prose rather than simply inserting them into the text.
  9. off-set quotes: If you quote passages four lines long or longer, they should be off-set from the rest of the text. You may single-space them and/or justify them, but be sure to indent the margins at least .5 inches. Remember, parenthetical documentation for off-set quotes is different from that for integrated quotes.
  10. correct documentation: All quotations and paraphrasing from other people's texts should be documented appropriately using parenthetical documentation, including page numbers for print texts and paragraph numbers (you'll have to count them yourself) for electronic texts. You may include informational footnotes if you desire.
  11. bibliography/works cited page: You may include a bibliography OR a works cited page. A bibliography lists all the sources you used in researching your paper, whether you cited them or not. A works cited page lists only those texts that you cited in your paper. In either case, you should include a minimum of 8 sources, formatted according to the MLA guidelines. Your bibliography/works cited should be located at the very end of your paper. You do not need to include annotations or distinguish between primary and secondary sources in this final bibliography/works cited.

The Research Paper is worth 40% of your overall grade for the class.