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Exploratory Essay

Exploratory Essay


· Research and analyze a significant problem or issue

· Explore the problem and narrate your thinking process in an exploratory essay

· Examine the problem dialectically, find relevant sources, and build an effective research


Compose an exploratory essay (at least three full pages in length) where you examine a local, state or national problem or issue of current public controversy from a variety of perspectives, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different positions and points of view.

At the beginning of your essay, explain:

· Why you are interested in this problem,

· Why you think it is significant (tells the audience why you care and why they should care), and

· Why you have been unable to reach a satisfactory answer.

Then, write a chronologically organized (the order in which you started and completed the research steps) narrative account of your thinking process as you investigate the selected problem or issue.

Point of View in Exploratory Writing:

· Use the first person (I, me, and mine) point of view when discussing your actions.

· Then, use the third-person point of view when you introduce and discuss information collected from various research articles.


Use a combination of

· personal experience (limit to 1-2 examples in the essay),

· field research (interviews with family, friends, coworkers, and so on), and

· library/Internet research to build your article. No less than three research articles and no more than five. Use current research articles that are within no older than 5-7 years. For historical context, you may use an article that was published earlier than 7 years ago, but the majority of your articles must be current and relevant to the issue.

· Please note that you are not to use websites such as Wikipedia, and other such commercial websites as research sources. Doing so will earn you a zero-grade on the essay. Newspaper websites such as New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Dallas Morning and so on are more reliable.

Provide in-text citations and Works Cited page for field research and library/Internet articles used in the essay.

YouTube Video “Evaluating Sources for Credibility”:

Posing Your Problem:

A valuable kind of problem to explore for this assignment is a current public controversy (local or domestic). Often such issues involve disagreements about facts and values that merit open-ended exploration. This assignment invites you to explore and clarify where you stand on such public issues such as health care reform, energy policies, government response to terrorism, public concerns about candidates running for local, state, or national elections, and so forth.

Topics that you CANNOT select for this essay:

· Abortion, gay marriage, death penalty, stem-cell research, illegal immigration, DREAM Act, and global warming. These are broad topics that will require more than three pages in order to be discussed well and therefore, beyond the scope of our assignment.


This assignment calls for a multi-paragraph essay which should include an introduction (with a research question at the end of the paragraph), multiple body paragraphs, and conclusion. Use the framework for exploratory essay in order to organize your essay in a cohesive manner.


Sample research questions from chapter 7, A& B textbook:

· Why on average are males more attracted to video games than females? Are these games harmful to males?

· Have online social networks such as Facebook improved or harmed the lives of participants? Why?

· The most popular magazine sold on college campuses are women’s fashion and lifestyle magazines such as GlamourElle, and Cosmopolitan. Why do women buy these magazines? Are these magazines harmful?

In this essay, your goal is NOT to argue for or against an identified problem or issue, rather focus on understanding where the different perspectives arise from and to form a holistic understanding of the issue.


· Kent Ansen, “Should the United States Establish Mandatory Public Service for Young Adults?”, pgs. 160-64.

· Example with annotations provided in Step 1 of Unit 3 in eCampus.


In this unit, along with draft development, you will practice and improve on the writing skills identified in Chapter 17, namely 17.5, 17.6, 17.7, and 17.8.

Apply the following writing skills as you compose the rough draft:

· Introduction: Underline the research question at the end of the introduction.

· Body Paragraphs (skill 17.5): For each body paragraph, underline the topic sentence of that paragraph that highlights a specific point that you plan to discuss in that paragraph.

· Content Development: Apply the MEAL paragraph format strategy in conjunction with skill 17.8, pgs. 462-66)

· Transition Words (skill 17.6): Select any one of your body paragraphs and highlight all the transition words used to move smoothly from one sentence to the next.

· Old/New Contract (skill 17.7): Using a different body paragraph (do not use the one you used to highlight transitions), identify the use of the old/new contract in each sentence of that paragraph:

· Bracket] the old information in the sentence.

· Italicize the new information in the sentence.


1. Show how you chose sources purposefully and reflectively rather than randomly.

2. Give your draft both open-form and closed-form features.

3. Show yourself wrestling with the ideas and perspectives.


1. Typed (Times New Roman, 12 point font) 2. Double-spaced 3. MLA Heading (in the upper left hand corner): your full name, instructor’s full name, course and section number, and date [dd/month/yyyy]. 4. Main title for the assignment should be centered [no bold or underline]. 5. Page header (upper right hand corner): last name [space] page number.

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