I Search for Solutions: Name, Reflect, Act

Term Paper II

Term Paper II (Photo credit: SBellavance)

One of the key components of any college composition class is THE RESEARCH PAPER.

Learning how to do college level research, to write an essay where there’s an argument and not just a report or summary on the topic, is critical to student success. That’s because most students will be required to write one or more papers for almost every upper-division class they have as they strive to reach their degree goals. There is also a presentation aspect–sharing your research with the class and on your blog.

Why name, reflect, act?

Pedagogy of the Oppressed

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb

Why volunteer? Here’s one author’s take on the rewards of volunteering: https://whisperdownthewritealley.wordpress.com/2008/05/02/on-the-rewards-of-volunteering/

Where can you do research and/or take action? The United Way website lists various opportunities and offers a way to search according to your interests. Here’s an example of a posting that a student found to see if it would work for this project:

Seeking young, upbeat people to volunteer for a fun
community project
Be a part of the Prize Posse!

“Be the DD and Win” is a campaign intended to bring awareness to the
importance of designated drivers in a fun and positive way.

We’re looking for outgoing males and females (ages 21-30) for members of the
Prize Posse. Teams will travel to several downtown Ventura nightlife
establishments on several scheduled nights to interact with the crowds and
give away prizes. The “Be the DD” campaign has been a huge success, and we
need you to continue making it. . .

–> Sponsored by Straight Up

For more information, please visit:

Here’s the assignment:

English Composition
Ventura College Fall 2012
gwendolynalley AT yahoo.com

The Research Essay: Name, Reflect, Act—A Problem/Solution Essay

In chapter two of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire proposes teachers bring “problem posing” into the classroom. Freire argues that students have real questions for which they want answers, real problems they want to solve, real ideas they want to explore about their world. He encourages teachers to move from a transmission style of teaching to a transformative one, one that provides students with opportunities to transform their world. To do so, he suggests a process of naming, reflecting, and acting on the real world problems we face today.

For your final paper, I want you to write a problem/solution essay focusing on a problem, researching possible solutions, taking (or proposing) an action, you will take, then reflecting on that action.  I am confident that your own experiences provide you with a wealth of opportunities to transform the world and to do research into a real problem that is part of your life.

1) Brainstorm possible problems to solve. Do some research into possible problems and solutions.
2) In class, we’ll develop a research proposal. To prepare, consider the following: What do you propose to research? Why does this topic interest you? What is the problem you want to learn more about? What do you think you want to do about this problem? What is your research question? What is your thesis? Begin a work consulted; include possible resources for your paper. If you can, name the problem, propose possible solution/s and discuss actions you can or could take.
3) Research and draft your works consulted.
4) Draft, research, draft, revise. Repeat.
5) Turn your works consulted into a work cited. Annotate your works consulted.
6) Write a process analysis—1-2 pages typed describing the journey you took to get your paper on the page.
7) Turn in your final with your drafts, comments from readers, process analysis etc.

SOURCES. Your final paper must have at least two primary sources and at least one of the following: web, academic, and print (as in a book or periodical that you don’t read online). Be wary of advocacy sites; you may use them but not rely on them.

Consider this STRUCTURE: For your intro, NAME the problem. Describe the problem. Provide background using research to support why it is a problem. Discuss why are you interested in this problem, what led you to know about it. Try to show us the problem by painting a picture with words or by telling a story of a personal experience. You can start on this NOW; play with ideas. Save them for your portfolio. Body: REFLECT on possible solutions using research to determine your ACTION. Take ACTION; evaluate for your conclusion. This paper can use personal narrative as a rhetorical device or a strategy to develop your argument.

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