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ENGWR 300 (Abbott)

ENGWR 300 (Abbott)


Research Paper: A Problem in Your Community (And Its Solution)


One of the main requirements that Sac City sets for English Writing 300 is a research paper. However, in addition to fulfilling this requirement of course, I hope that you will also benefit personally from researching and writing about your topic! As you know, I also like all essays to have an opinion-based take, and that even includes this research paper. What is that supposed to mean? Read on....


Below, you will find the prompt and instructions for the paper. Be sure to review our this guide for the in-class librarian discussion. This site was created just for you!!

Research Paper: A Problem in Your Community (and Its Solution)

Project Requirements

1750-2000 words (7-8 pages, not including Works Cited page, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 pt)

Final draft due on Canvas by Wed. 12/14. The final draft is worth 20% of the overall course grade.

There will be required smaller assignments due along the way to help you toward the final draft. And, this semester, I am also planning for essay #2 (cause/effect) and essay #3 (compare/contrast) to help you with the research paper, too! (It's a process, remember?)

These smaller mini-assignments for the research paper belong to a category in the 108 gradebook for "Research Paper Prewriting," worth 15% of the course grade for 108. Those assignments are:

  • RP Assign #1: Brainstorming and topic idea, due by Sun. 10/23
  • RP Assign #2: Annotated sources list, due Sun. 10/30
  • RP Assign #3: Outline and thesis statement, due Wed. 11/23

The Prompt

So, what is this assignment about?

Identify a meaningful problem faced by people in your community, investigate the background and causes of the problem, and compare potential solutions in order to advocate for what you determine is the best solution. Your topic and, later, your thesis must be approved by me in advance as being appropriate for the project.

You must define the problem, show your readers the scope of the problem, and explain who/what is affected by the problem, how they are affected, and why they are affected. You must ultimately say, based on your research, how you think the problem should be solved and why it’s the best solution. (This is where you're asserting your opinion.) To do this, you must cite evidence from quality sources to convince your readers why the problem is serious and worthy of their attention.

For the purpose of this project, you are free to interpret “your community” in any way you wish. For example, you might choose to explore a problem faced by students in our campus community (Sacramento City College or the community college system in general), your geographic community (your neighborhood or city), or your cultural community (LGBTQ+, Latinx, people with your same profession or interests, etc.).

It might seem a bit overwhelming right now, but we're going to work slowly together each step of the way! That's why I'm giving you this assignment now, in week 9 of the semester--you'll have lots of time for each part of the process. You’ll also have a unit devoted to teaching you how to research effectively. And you'll have the mini-assignments and the two essays to help you make progress on the paper! You've got this.