For the Self-Designed Research assignment, I am asking you to embark upon an academic research project. Your research paper and topic should appeal to your personal major or fields of study as much as possible. If you are interested in literary studies, you might look at a particular theme (or discourse) in a variety of texts by your favorite author or across a particular historical period; if you are interested in feminist politics, you might look at the way women have historically defended their right to choose what happens to their body in abortion debates; if you are interested in social media or political science, you might look at the role memes play in shaping presidential elections or political attitudes, and the list goes on. You may also rely on or extend your discussion posts and assignments if you so wish.

The possibilities for approaches to this topic are wide open, but I recommend starting with an inquiry question. This question, will ultimately drive your research and your arguments. Just make sure that whatever you choose, the topic is one that is particularly interesting to you, since you will be stuck with it for the next few weeks. You should also make sure that the topic is broad enough to span the length of your paper, but not so broad that you have too much information.

Once you have chosen your topic, you will conduct research using whatever methods fit with your chosen fieldbe as creative as your topic requires; consider the creative methods discussed in Flaggs Why Writers Relish Research. You should also use the librarys resources to help you find academic journal articles on your topic. This research should inform your arguments; however, you should also do your own analysis, whether that be through looking carefully at different materials about your topic, conducting interviews, or through an actual literary analysis.

The most important thing that I am looking for in this paper is that you have an interesting and unique thesis that you are answering throughout your paper, and that you use your work to argue for the importance of your topic. The thesis should not have an obvious answer, or be clearly taken from anyone elses work, but rather should be of your own devising, and carefully worked out in your paper. Moreover, you want to put yourself and your ideas on your topic in conversation with other sources that address it. In other words, you want to join and participate in the discourse community surrounding your research topic and inquiry question.

The final paper should be roughly 2000 words and include a works cited page in MLA format.

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