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.
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.