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This is the entire research project sequence that I assign in my English 101 college level writing course. Although I teach the final research project in three parts and as a culmination of the music and media theme, teachers at the 11th grade, 12th grade, and introductory college level can easily adapt all components and rubrics, either separately or collectively, to meet curricular needs. I usually assign the first installment of the research project toward the middle of the semester (around week 8) and all three parts take until semester’s end to complete. It is possible to take between 5 – 8 weeks to complete this entire research project sequence.
I assign the Part 1/3 of the final research project, “Finding Common Ground,” after the “Research Proposal” and “Evaluating an Argument” assignments. When assigning the final research project of the semester, I typically first ask students to research the side of their argument with which they most closely agree or identify, within 3 pages and using roughly 4 academic sources. Then I ask students to play devil’s advocate with their idea, meaning to research for the side with which they disagree or do not identify (“Acknowledging the Opposition” – Part 5), using a similar page length and source requirement. The third part of the final research project, “Presenting a Holistic Argument” – Part 6, asks students to combine both sides and add research of a gray area between the two sides. Many students build research questions from topics they explored in the “Identifying Current Issues in Music and Media” assignment.
My entire English 101 course is out of 1,000 points total (easy math for me and my students to track) and “Finding Common Ground” and “Acknowledging the Opposition” are both worth 100 points or 10% each of the overall course grade; the third and final part, “Presenting a Holistic Argument” is worth 150 points or 15% of the overall course grade.
The rubrics at the end of the prompts allow my students to see the value of each component of the assignment and makes the proposal easier to grade. As explained in the assignment prompts below, I evaluate the first two parts of students’ research papers looking only at certain facets of their writing; this allows students to process the feedback they receive as well as makes grading multiple iterations of research projects less time consuming. I grade the third and final part of the sequence evaluating all writing and research skills necessary to measure success on the full completed project. You can adapt the rubric to match whatever point distribution you prefer and you are also welcome to add components to the rubric as you desire.
If you are interested in maintaining my order of assignment sequence, then check out the other assignment prompts on my page:
Part 1 of 6 – Identifying Current Issues in Music and Media
Part 2 of 6 – Evaluating an Argument
Part 3 of 6 – Research Proposal
Part 4 of 6 – Finding Common Ground (Part 1 of Research Project)
Part 5 of 6 – Acknowledging the Opposition (Part 2 of Research Project)
Part 6 of 6 – Presenting a Holistic Argument (Part 3 of Research Project)