Through the research inquiry assignment, students will:
- Use composing and reading for inquiry, learning, critical thinking, and communicating in various rhetorical contexts
- Use strategies – such as interpretation, synthesis, response, critique, and design/redesign – to compose texts that integrate their ideas with those from appropriate sources
- Locate and evaluate (for credibility, sufficiency, accuracy, timeliness, bias and so on) primary and secondary research materials, including journal articles and essays, books, scholarly and professionally established and maintained databases or archives, and informal electronic networks and internet sources
Things to keep in mind about research inquiry:Research inquiry can take any number of forms, follow any number of paths, and be undertaken in a multitude of ways. Similar to the argument anchor assignment (in CPN 100,) the research inquiry anchor assignment asks you to work with sources and present some arguments. However, in building from the argument anchor assignment, the research inquiry anchor assignment pushes you to develop research questions, find and evaluate multiple sources, and ultimately take up a nuanced perspective. This process demands a greater amount of time, effort, persistence, and patience. The point of research inquiry is not to provide the final word on particular topic, but to offer a new viewpoint that stands on the shoulders of other participants in that discussion. Most of all, research is a social undertaking. When we interact with sources, we are taking our place in a vast and ongoing conversation whose aim is to enrich and improve society.
In this research inquiry, Burm synthesizes many legal and legislative sources to demonstrate the disenfranchisement and systemic racism against African Americans attempting to exercise their right to vote. In particular, Burm presents specific examples from Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. However, Burm concludes the essay with the reminder that unless we are vigilant and strict bills are passed to counteract voter suppression, this is an issue that will continue and become even more prevalent. The outcome is that African American voters will have the impact of their votes even further diminished.
In this research inquiry, Cawley examines the film, Rocky Horror Picture Show, as an example of a “perfect camp film.” He arrives at this conclusion based on his interpretation of the film itself as the main source and by synthesizing other sources on film theory, film analysis, and theories of camp, such as Susan Sontag’s Notes on Camp.
In this research inquiry example, Croote analyzes a later film in the Rocky franchise in order to argue for its understanding as a groundbreaking film. His argument takes up three major points—that Rocky IV is an effective reflection of Cold War events of the time, that Rocky IV deftly uses sport as a vehicle for its narrative, and that Rocky IV maintains its main message and cohesion within the franchise by entertaining audiences. Within the research and sources cited in this piece, Croote unpacks visual representations of characters, stereotypes and possible propaganda, and the metaphors of training to explore Cold War tensions. Ultimately, Croote also acknowledges but argues against the idea of the film as purely propaganda, but instead a popular film exerting its influence in delivering a slightly different message ahead of Cold War de-escalation.
Examining Conspiracy Theories: Reevaluating the Assumption that Their Supporters are Paranoid (2023-2024)
Soren C. Jung
In this research inquiry, Jung examines the definition and history of conspiracy theories in order to explore new reasons why they may remain so popular, while so commonly being denounced. In his essay, Jung reviews past histories of corporations acting only in favor of maximizing profits, such as the notorious Big Tobacco companies’ “Operation Berkshire.” Jung then juxtaposes knowledge of that history with various contemporary conspiracy theories related to the dangers, risk, or surveillance-related intent of Covid-19 vaccines. Jung concludes his piece with a reminder about the very real consequences of immediate infection and long-term health consequences of Covid-19, and that these are not speculative. However, he cautions that it does a disservice to dismiss believers in vaccine conspiracy theories as “simply paranoid” or uneducated when this belief most likely stems from anxiety of the unknown and fear of past corporate corruption.
In this research inquiry Greenidge uses Claudia Rankine’s work and a reading of the Rodney King video to question and argue against the sharing of viral videos (such as that of George Floyd or Eric Garner) that depict suffering, brutality, and the murder of Black people. Greenidge’s claim is that while some may share these images in the hopes of supporting movements, such as Black Lives Matter, or creating justice through awareness, the actual sharing of these videos creates desensitization and normalizes acts of violence toward Black victims. Instead of focusing on Black suffering, Greenidge calls for media and the public to focus more on countering white supremacy and the perpetrators of these violent acts.
In this research inquiry essay Lardaro uses the literary trope of the tragic hero to make a case for why Revenge of the Sith is an especially compelling film. Lardaro presents sources that help him to analyze how the downfall of Anakin Skywalker becomes an example of a tragic hero. His argument maintains that the treatment of Anakin Skywalker as a tragic hero is what allows the Star Wars prequels to offer emotional complexity and the potential for misinterpretation to the audience. This is in turn what makes these films compelling.
Miranda R. Cobo
This example of a research inquiry investigates issues of representation in the comic, Black Panther. Cobo writes: “In the 1960s, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby introduced T’Challa, famously known as the Black Panther. He was the first black superhero to be introduced in the Marvel Universe and into popular American comics. The world that Black Panther lived in is very advanced and breaks the stereotype of the view that many Americans have on Africa. However, that is only one stereotype that it has worked against. There have been many other stereotypes that writers use in T’Challa’s storyline that can be detrimental to making progress against racism. When creating black characters, many times they were not able to amount to the status that white characters have because of the lack of representation. Many authors have written about this topic trying to analyze why misrepresentation keeps happening and how it can be fixed. Through analysis and research, it is clear that there is still a long way to go in order for minorities to be properly portrayed in the media.”
This research inquiry introduces a timely conversation on racism, cultural appropriation, and white supremacy. Ives’ argument is that the root cause of cultural appropriation and racism can be traced to a negative and false history of white supremacy. In other words, white culture has been founded and perpetuated based on power-seeking behavior, of which racism is more a symptom. Ives asserts that it is important to acknowledge that white culture is based on false assumptions of supremacy and to address that more systematically rather than addressing only individual events or instances of racism.
This research inquiry example details the developmental consequences for children removed from their biological homes by Children’s Services. Jackson uses sources to discuss physical, mental, and emotional implications for removing children from their homes or parents in their future development as both children and adults. Not only does Jackson present an alternative perspective thinking about negative consequences and how the process of removal puts parents at odds with regaining custody, but he also proposes an alternative solution in the conclusion.
In this example of a research inquiry, Jean-Baptiste focuses on the use of cameras and mirrors to create doubles, or “doppelgangers” for the character of Nina in the film, Black Swan. In thinking about the “doppelganger effect,” Jean-Baptiste moves through an argument for how doubling fulfills not only one purpose or message within the film, but three. Her claim in synthesizing multiple sources of film analysis is that the doppelganger allows Aronofsky to comment on mental disorders, sexism within the community of ballet, and the overall mood for the film as a thriller as opposed to only a drama.
Pratt’s research inquiry essay focuses on the medical ethics issues involved in the case of Henrietta Lacks and her cancer cells (known as HeLa,) which have been used and reused in medical research without hers or her family’s consent. Throughout this essay, Pratt moves between several areas for concern including medical agency and patients’ rights to their own bodies, financial implications, legal definitions, and issues for privacy. Pratt concludes with a call for future regulations and focus on medical ethics.
In this student example, Robinson addresses wrongful convictions, falsified evidence, and other major problems in the American justice system. Relying heavily on source material, Robinson confronts systemic problems by detailing the work of a particular nonprofit organization and highlighting the evidence for the necessity of that organization.
This example of a research inquiry involves moving through various historical developments and statistics related to climate change (such as rising global temperatures, sea levels, ice sheets, and carbon dioxide emissions) in order to then contextualize global efforts to reduce climate change damage, such as the Paris Agreement. Throughout the research inquiry Soule uses an objective stance in presenting findings and developments ranging from the 1700s to present times, and supporting a conclusion that global devastation may be as close as 2100.
In this research inquiry, Tyler uses a metacognitive style of reflection walking the reader through her personal connections to topic selection and research process before presenting what she discovered in medical journal articles on the topic of using vaccines for Alzheimer’s treatment and prevention. In closely reviewing journal articles and their findings, Tyler is able to make comments about the challenges of developing a vaccine appropriate to humans (as opposed to the mice trials she reads about,) and the complexity of high failure rates in the past. Finally, Tyler comments on the financial issues involved in this treatment plan and her own growth as a researcher.