Our first major paper (1800-2500 words) asks you to put your thinking about some aspect of your identity into conversation with other writers who also take up this topic. Your paper should incorporate at least three sources from your Public and Academic Research work (at least one public source and at least one academic source) and should thus include APA in-text citations and a References page. In terms of the main goals of the paper, we want to reach a better understanding of what others have said about this aspect of identity, and we want to put our own thinking into conversation with theirs in order to generate new ideas and insights. The main substance of your paper will come from analyzing your sources as you did in the Public and Academic Analysis assignments, and you are welcome to draw on that work here. You do not necessarily need to address each of your sources in great detail; you are welcome to focus on the aspects of these sources you find most relevant. It could also work to develop a thorough analysis of one or two sources while using the other sources as points of comparison. In addition to those analysis prompts from the Public Analysis, you should also address some combination of the following:
- How would you compare these sources in terms of their understanding of and approach to this aspect of identity? How are they similar and different? Where do they agree and disagree? To what extent do they share a similar orientation? How are they similar or different in terms of their methods and types of evidence? In terms of how they use sources and citations? In terms of structure and style?
- Which source(s) do you find most helpful in coming to terms with this aspect of identity? Least helpful? How so?
- How does the public conversation compare to the academic conversation on the topic? How do academics look at this topic in different ways than the general public or mainstream media? How does the academic conversation help us look at things in a new or different way? Does it challenge any assumptions or stereotypes in our society?
- What do you want to add to the conversation? How does your understanding of this aspect of identity compare to what others have said? What has been left out of the conversation? What could be emphasized or developed further?
Through your work, you should arrive at a larger argument, conclusion, or insight about this aspect of identity and the conversation around it. Your argument should be supported by and emerge out of your analysis and comparison of the sources, and it should add to our thinking about the conversation, helping us see things in a new way. In terms of organization and formatting, your work should follow the expectations for an APA paper (see The Little Seagull Handbook for more information):
- Your paper should start with a title page (p. 204).
- The second page of your paper should be an abstract page (p. 205).
- The body of your paper should be organized into different sections: an introduction, a section analyzing the first source, a section analyzing the second source, a section analyzing the third source, a section comparing your academic sources and putting them into conversation with one another (see the first two prompts above), and a conclusion that considers this academic conversation in the context of our broader social thinking about this topic (see the third prompt above).
- At the end of your paper, you should include a References page with full APA citations for all sources cited in your paper (p. 207).