Analytical research project

will be completed in stages that span the entire semester

The goal of the Analytical Research Project is to give you the opportunity to produce a piece of academic writing on a topic of your choice that fits within the scope of our course theme. Furthermore, the process of planning and writing this researched, academic analysis will enable you to further develop interests that will guide you through the assignments during the rest of the semester.
The authors of Writing Analytically suggest that researched writing is a process that requires time, energy, and patience. Accordingly, the Analytical Research Project contains five steps, each building on the previous step. Collectively, the steps of this project constitute nearly half of your final course grade and will be the driving focus of the semester.
Though maintaining friendships may look a bit different in the 21st century when compared to previous eras, it is a timeless pursuit that drives our lives. For this assignment, you’ll need to think about the different ways we establish and maintain our friendships, and always think about the underlying question behind it all: Why do friendships matter so much? Your task here will be to shed light on how and why we pursue non-familial relationships and their small and large scale impacts.
As we have discussed, analysis is a key intellectual skill. It requires careful attention to detail and patient and methodical investigation. When we analyze something we take it apart and examine the pieces. Often we don’t know what conclusions we’ll come to until we have completed this process and put the pieces back together again. That putting-back-together process is called interpretation. Thus, in writing an analytical essay, you probably won’t know what your thesis is until you have spent a lot of time developing your analysis. You would be well advised to start on this project as soon as possible.

Your overall goal is to use your primary sources to enter a thoughtful investigation of a reality that allows your readers to consider it in a new way, to understand it more, or to understand it differently than they might originally have done. Your job is to convince your audience of the validity of your way of seeing things, using your analysis of the details and context to support your thesis.


Primary Source Descriptions (10 points)

Begin the research process by looking for potential sources that illustrate your point of focus. Using strategies from our class discussion as guides, write one-paragraph descriptions (don’t interpret during this step) of two different primary sources that you might analyze for your Analytical Research Project. Following each description, write at least three open-ended questions that you might ask about each primary source. Make sure you include working urls.
Primary Source Descriptions will be collected at the start of class on Thursday 9/12
Primary Source Analysis (20 points)

You will craft an analysis of one of your primary sources in the same way as we have done in class. Use this writing to investigate the meanings within the source. Be sure you’re not just describing again.
The Primary Source Analysis will be collected at the start of class on Thursday 9/19
Secondary Source Annotations (20 points)

Next, using the research skills you learned from our library database instruction, locate secondary source materials that will inform and enhance your understanding of your research topic. Then, write annotations for two secondary sources. Each annotation should consist of three parts:
1. A paragraph that summarizes the author’s argument. You can find information about writing effective summaries at

2. A paragraph that evaluates the source’s usefulness within the larger context of the course. In the evaluation paragraph, explain how this source fits into the conversation you are developing around your research topic. Also, explain how this secondary source helps to answer your research questions.

3. Correct MLA Works Cited citations.
Secondary Source Annotations will be collected at the start of class on Thursday 10/3
Secondary Source Integration (20 points)

This component asks you to revisit your work in the Primary Source Analysis by asking you to extend or rethink your analytical claims. The primary objectives of this assignment are (1) to find timely, useful, compelling, and credible secondary sources and (2) to integrate this secondary evidence seamlessly and effectively into your own writing.

From your secondary sources, select at least one direct quotation and one paraphrase and correctly integrate them. Make sure you completely introduce the sources, correctly quote and paraphrase from them, and then follow up with the needed explanations.

Secondary Source Integrations will be collected at the start of class on Thursday 10/17

The Research Conference (10 points)
You must prepare for and attend a required, scheduled Research Conference where you will meet with me in my office (Founders 2049) to discuss your plans to extend, revise, and finalize your work up to this point.
The purpose of this Research Conference is not to check your work. Instead, think of it as a working conference where together we can carefully examine your research questions and thesis statement for your paper. The more prepared you are for the conference, the more productive it will be.

Please bring TWO printed copies of this document to your Research Conference. Showing up to the conference late or without the assigned materials will not earn you any points.
The Analytical Research Paper (150 points)

Finally, write a 6 to 8 page Analytical Research Paper that directly builds on the research you have completed and contributes to the academic conversations that address your topic. In this paper, develop a complex thesis that makes a claim about the ways that messages are conveyed to audiences through your primary source material. Support your claims with evidence from your primary and secondary sources. Include a Works Cited page and follow MLA format.
The successful Analytical Research Paper will …

• Contain a title on the first page that reflects the complexity of the paper’s general purposes.

• Identify primary sources and analyze their messages.

• Include a complex thesis that makes a thoughtful and insightful claim about how the primary sources reveal something interesting about the role of friendships in our lives.

• Integrate at least 3 secondary sources in ways that account for aspects of the academic conversation that are relevant to the paper’s thesis.

• Include an appropriately formatted (MLA) Works Cited page that cites all primary and secondary sources as well as other references discussed in the paper. In addition, all URLs to primary and secondary sources must work properly and authors/creators of sites, images, and video or audio clips must be identified in the Works Cited list.

• Contain few sentence-level errors and few lapses in tone. Paper follows academic conventions discussed in class.
The Analytical Research Paper will be collected at the start of class on Tuesday 12/3


ENG 110 – Analytical Essay
weak Needs
Work Basic Strong
Topic Development
1. The essay offers an introduction that effectively introduces the primary source to be analyzed and the paper’s thesis.
2. The essay shows a thorough understanding of the conversation surrounding the issue.
3. The writing demonstrates an awareness of audience and task.
4. The conclusion is relevant without getting repetitive or beginning a new thread of discussion.

5. The essay presents ideas in a logical manner that avoids repetition.
6. The essay has a plan, a logical structure that leads the reader to an understanding of what you have to say without backtracking or guessing.
7. Par