Exploratory Research Essay

  Exploratory Research Essay

Our final unit for this course will be an open-topic MLA Researched Essay. The goals of this essay are to get you writing in a research-based environment without a lot of restrictions on topic, type of research, or formality. Let’s look at the basic requirements of the essay:

  • 6-8 pages,      typed, double-spaced, 12-point Times New Roman font
  • Utilizes a      minimum of five sources of at least two kinds (basic internet, magazine,      newspaper, academic journal, book, interview, etc).
  • Follows MLA      guidelines for format, in-text citations, and Works Cited page.
  • Addresses a      topic of interest to the student and narrow enough for a relatively short      essay.
  • Should be an      “exploratory” essay rather than an argumentative one. While it may suggest      a solution or viewpoint, its point is not to persuade but to answer a      question of some sort. The Curious      Researcher regularly distinguishes between these two types of essay,      so read with the distinction in mind. It’s important that your essay      s

While it may be tempting to pick a large or controversial topic for a paper (these often seem “easy” to find sources for and write on for several pages), it’s actually difficult to do justice to such topics (global warming, death penalty) in only a few pages. It’s better to pick something that really engages you—whether that be exploring Star Trek‘s influence on the development of a particular piece of technology or researching how the state decided to work on your road at the least convenient time possible. If you are legitimately interested in a large topic, think about ways of narrowing it, perhaps by tying it to a local issue. If you’re interested in environmental issues, for example, you might look into issues of emissions testing in Ada County or something along those lines. 

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