WRT 205: Reach-Search

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Projects: An Inventory of Effects | Rhetoric of Data Visualization| Reach-Search

WRT 205-SPRING 2005 | Unit 3-Reach-Search

Unit Readings
The Tipping Point, Gladwell, c. 3, "The Stickiness Factor," pp. 89-132
The Social Life of Information, Brown and Duguid, "Reading the Background," pp. 173-20

Many of the devices we've been working with early in the term push us to conceive of research and writing in a new light. If you have been keeping up with your Bloglines account, for example, reading for patterns and interest in the aggregate of entries collecting via RSS, you have been engaging in a kind of research. Our collective readings of McLuhan and Barabasi constitute aspects of research, as well: the close, inquisitive reading of texts, the asking of questions and the composition of carefully wrought texts that finds its genesis in more provisional writing, close reading, conversation, and curiosity.

For Unit Three, you will undertake a sustained reach-search project. The title of the assignment riffs on "research," deliberately urging you to push past common conceptions you hold about research methods and processes. How do you gather information in the interest of forming ways of exploring and engaging with research questions? In the weeks ahead, we will answer this question in a couple of different ways. We will start by coming up with viable research questions, we will revisit methods for conducting research--locating and working with textual sources as well as non-text-based resources, and we will devote a share of class time to the generative dimensions of developing an annotated bibliography and other kinds of research notes toward the essay you will write.

Writing Assignment
Unit 3 lasts six weeks and culminates in a 10-12 page researched essay extending the conversations we've already taken up related to media and networks. As you prepare for the project, you should expect to do a fair amount of provisional, exploratory writing, finding the possibilities and tuning your first thoughts toward a viable project.

Your essay should seek to make claims, complicate an issue or illustrate a point while achieving a reasonable, responsible balance between contextualizing your work and exploring its limits. Intermediary deadlines for increments of the project can be found at the course schedule.

Source Requirements
Your completed project must integrate at least five textual sources, not limited to newspaper and periodical articles, scholarly sources such as journals or academic texts, and weblogs, web sites or other digital sources. Your project should be typed and double-spaced, carefully edited, and it should include accurate and consistent MLA or APA citations.

WRT 205: Grading Cues Essay #3 Reach-Search Essay

[1] How has the writer integrated sources as a way of introducing complicating factors to the research project?

[2] How effectively does the writer moderate between the sources, and analytical or reflective writing that seeks to account for what has been researched, what it means, and why it is interesting or important to understand?

[3] How well does the writer develop specific claims about a particular issue or set of issues related to our considerations of media and network studies?

[4] How well does the writer make things explicit (e.g., details, not generalizations; claims, not clichés)?

[5] How well did the writer address surface level matters related to grammar, style, and usage?