After teaching the junior research paper for ten years and never feeling entirely good about it, I finally found the solution: documentaries. This year I had my students choose an award-winning documentary for a list I provided (all on Netflix but also available for free online; links included). They viewed the documentary, took Cornell notes, and then formulated a thesis based on the issue the documentary presents. Ultimately, this research project will involve them synthesizing at least six sources to write a college-level research argumentative essay.
Included for sale are the directions for this essay, the rubric, the documentary list with descriptions and links.