Homework from Tuesday

Start thinking about possible topics for your term paper. Try to come up with something that interests you and that you would like to learn more about. This is your chance to put your readings and new knowledge gained from your NWWK textbook readings into practice.

It might help to refresh yourself (re-read) Concept 1.1: "Writing is a Knowledge-Making Activity" and set your mind into the mode of writing as a form of discovery.

To stay on-track for your term paper development, you'll need to have a pretty solid idea of your subject and topic by next Tuesday. Your term paper will be organized as an academic essay, which you might be more familiar with under the term "argumentative" paper. You will need to develop an academic "claim" and then conduct research to find academic support for your claim.

Broad Guidelines

  • Choose an academic topic that you can support with academically credible evidence
  • You have been doing research into your chosen academic field (discipline) so consider choosing to research something in your field of interest
  • Take care to choose a topic you can argue for, not just a subject. For example, don't just choose a subject like "crime."

Instead, figure out something to "claim" about your subject, like "White collar crime poses a greater danger to the economy than more visible forms of street crime." (White 11) This claim can then be supported (or refuted by opponents) with academic research.


To help you get started, we'll be working in groups today.

Let's focus on the following basic preparatory steps:

  • Choosing a subject/topic
  • Creating a Research Question
  • Writing a Thesis sentence

Links for today's in-class PowerPoint and TED talk


This presentation introduces and explains the process of creating Research Questions and offers strategies for the early stages of your Research paper

TED Talk - Driverless Cars

This excellent presentation gives you an example of how following your research questions might lead you to make connections (synthesize) information from different disciplinary fields (here it's engineering and biology) to get answers to your research questions.


  • Read the remainder of Concept 4 and be prepared for class discussion and a Chapter Quiz.
  • Submit your tentative/working topic and thesis to Blackboard by next Tuesday (at midnight).

White, Edward M. Assigning, Responding Evaluating: A Writing Teacher's Guide. Bedford, St. Martin's. Boston. 1999. Print.