CO150 Portfolio Two, Part B: Illustrating Your Process of Inquiry
Overview: An Inquiry Essay differs from other traditional academic essays. Its purpose is not to argue for a specific idea. Rather, an Inquiry Essay illustrates your research and thinking process so that readers can see how you came to discover your position on an issue. Since it tends to focus more on your thinking process and less on developing a response, this essay will differ in style and form from our previous essays. It will not begin with a thesis claim that you seek to prove. Instead, your Inquiry Essay will start with a discussion of your research interest. It will explain why you chose this issue and what your position was before you researched it. Then, your essay will trace your inquiry process by summarizing and responding to at least three of the most influential articles you encountered during your research. At the end of your Inquiry Essay, you will explain where you currently stand on the issue by stating the claim you are likely to argue in Portfolio 3.
Purpose: The purpose of this essay is to illustrate how you came to discover the position you hope to argue for in Portfolio 3.
Audience: Your audience for this essay is yourself, your instructor and your peers.
Requirements: Your Inquiry Essay should:
- State your chosen issue and explain how and why you chose this issue. This first section of your essay will explain your initial response to your issue by articulating the questions you had about and your tentative position on the issue (where you stood before you began your research). You might address the following questions in the first section of your essay:
- What aspects of your issue were you curious about?
- How did you narrow your research to focus on one specific aspect of the issue?
- Where did you stand on the issue before you researched it?
- Why did you initially respond to the question this way?
- What contextual factors may have influenced your thinking?
- You will use primarily personal experience or previous knowledge of your issue to support and explain your choice of issue and initial position.
- Once you have explained your choice of issue and initial position, you need to use the information that you found through your research to "test" that initial position further explore the issue. In doing so, you will not only keep the richness of each source's position and the complexity of your issue (and avoid reducing the issue to a simple "pro/con" debate), but you also provide yourself with an opportunity to further explore your position with the intent of revising your position into a claim for your Portfolio 3 arguments. This section of your essay will:
- Summarize at least three articles that influenced or tested your thinking on this issue. What is each author's purpose? What is their main argument? Which of their main ideas did you find most influential? Your three articles MUST represent a range of views on your issue.
- Respond to the ideas from the three articles you've summarized using specific examples and passages from the texts to show readers how the articles reinforced, challenged, or otherwise "tested" your own thinking. How did these ideas support or challenge your thinking? Did you find the ideas in these articles to be credible and reliable? Why or why not?
- Finally, your essay will conclude with a discussion of what you've learned from your research. What do you currently think about your issue? How have your views changed? State your tentative thesis claim.
- Your final essay must include a bibliography that lists all 6 of the sources you read about your issue.
A thorough Inquiry Essay will likely be 5-6 pages in length.
20% of your overall course grade
See Syllabus for due dates for TR and MWF