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Purpose: To reflect upon your research process, your search results, and your fu

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Purpose: To reflect upon your research process, your search results, and your future research needs. NOTE: For this assignment, you can use any of your writing that is relevant to this assignment from the Week 1 and Week 2 Discussions. Additionally, while you will need to find at least four sources for this assignment, at least two sources *must* be from the Macomb Library website.
What is an I-Search Essay?
This essay is designed to teach your readers something valuable about your research topic and your research process. As opposed to the standard research paper in which a writer asserts a specific thesis about an issue, the “I-Search” paper asks you to narrate your experience of choosing a topic, developing research questions, conducting research, and finding sources. Once you are finished with the narrative portion, you will report what information you found and reflect upon the research process overall. You will provide a step-by-step, first-person account of your research process and offer insights that are explicitly reflective.
It is important to understand that this essay is NOT about making a specific argument. Rather, it is about telling your readers the process you went through to choose a topic, develop research questions, locate sources, find answers, and draw conclusions about your topic. Be sure to pay close attention to those processes as you work through them in order to give ample detail in your essay. Ultimately, the end of the essay will explain whether or not your research challenged or confirmed your original assumptions, as well as identify gaps in your research or knowledge that still need to be filled.
How to Structure the I-Search Essay
Your essay should have at least three distinct and equally-weighted (which is to say approximately equally long) sections:
The Story
In this section, you are going to explain how you came to be interested in your topic prior to conducting any additional research for this class. Describe what you knew or thought you knew about the topic, what you assumed, what you imagined, and/or what you have experienced in relation to the topic. The purpose of the section is to establish your own credibility by explaining why/how the topic became important to you. Ultimately, you are trying to show that you didn’t pick your topic randomly, but rather, that you choose it after careful consideration.
The Search
This section will narrate the process of your research. You will begin this section by stating and explaining your research questions. Next, you will describe your research process in first-person narrative style. Explain whether you consulted Macomb’s library databases, went to the library, read relevant and credible books, magazines, newspapers, websites, or watched documentary films for information. (If you are unsure about whether or not a source is credible, please ask me). You may have even interviewed a person who is an expert about your topic, or perhaps you did an informal survey of peers. You would narrate all of these processes in your “Search” section.
You can write both “The Story” and “The Search” sections in narrative form (using “I,” detailing events chronologically and with specific details) to record the steps of the research process. Do not feel obligated to tell every minute detail, but definitely explain the major steps of how you conducted your research. Feel free to explain which sources and information contributed to a deeper understanding of your topic, but do not explain every fact or piece of information you found. Of course, be sure to cite your sources carefully and correctly.
The Reflection
Once you’ve finished narrating your story and your search, explain the most significant research findings. Discuss how your knowledge and assumptions were either challenged or confirmed by your research. Compare/contrast what you thought you knew, assumed, or imagined to what you actually learned. Offer some personal commentary and/or insight about your topic, draw some conclusions about the answers you found, and identify any areas of research that might still be necessary.
Works Cited and In-text Citations
Your essay should use a minimum of four sources, two of which should be from the Macomb Library website. From those sources, you should include quotes, paraphrases, and/or summaries, all documented in MLA style. All sources used *MUST* be included on the Works Cited page, and for *EVERY SINGLE* source on the Works Cited page, you need to include in-text citations that indicate where in your paper you used each source. I always recommend articles and essays from the Macomb Library databases (where you will find the most credible information). That said, if you find credible sources through an internet search, that works, too. Again, please ask if you are unsure about sources, credibility, or documentation.
Guidelines
Strive to meet all the goals described above
Submission in .doc, .docx, or .pdf formats
Minimum 1,300 words (Not including the Works Cited page!)
Minimum of four sources; two from the Macomb Library website
Correct MLA formatting
MLA heading in upper left corner
Include original title
Double-spaced lines
Times New Roman, 12 pt font
1″ margins
Left justified text (Title in center)
MLA in-text and Works Cited citations

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