For the research essay, you should already have a fairly good idea what youâ€™re writing about, given your annotated bibliography due this week. After finishing essay 3, it will be time to write the first draft.
For this essay, you are joining an ongoing academic conversation. From your research, you have learned about what scholars and professionals think about your chosen topic, how they view it, and how they respond to what others have to say about it. Sometimes these sources respond to each other directly, other times they simply offer different thoughts and opinions, but regardless, they are in conversation with one another. In this essay, you are contributing to this conversation by offering your own argument and perspective on it, based on the research youâ€™ve already done.
Your main question, then, is what do you have to add to this discussion? You donâ€™t have to come up with something that has never been thought of before or find something no other person has said. Instead, you are adding to the conversation by offering your own interpretation and analysis of the topic and research.
This is a huge jumping off point, so consider these more focused starting points. Your addition to the discussion surrounding your chosen topic might be:
- You propose a solution to a problem you write extensively about
- You identify a perspective about your topic that you agree with and add to it
- You identify a perspective about your topic that you disagree with and challenge and correct it
- Your topic is poorly understood by a general audience and you seek to explain it and why it matters to them
- You identify more than one perspective about your topic that you think work well together, and write to combine them
- You have a perspective or opinion on the topic you feel is underrepresented, and write an essay asserting it and its value
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but a starting part. You might also find that you do several of these things in your essay, which is perfectly fine.