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The key to this assignment is examination of the topic from different perspectives, actively seeking opposing or alternate points of view to analyze, compare, contrast, synthesize and evaluate. This is the dialectic process. Remember, you do not need to come to a conclusion or take a stand; in fact, you must avoid taking a firm position. You can and should say if you find one position more logical, easier to believe, or in some way more desirable than another, just don’t declare that position to be the right or best one. Instead, keep your mind open to additional questions, contradictions and complexities that may arise in the course of your research.

Your research log should includes dates and all the necessary reference information for each source, an annotation of the information you found in that source, and your thoughts and reflections, showing how your thinking was influenced by what you learned and what you did next.

Exploratory Research Log and Paper

These are the requirements:

  1. Keep a research log.
    1. Your research log must show at least 10 sources including at least two articles from one or more databases and at least one scholarly article. (The scholarly article can be from a database, thus also fulfilling one database source requirement.)
    2. Each source must be properly cited according to APA documentation style. The log will be turned in with your paper.
  2. Do research to examine your question, problem or issue from a variety of perspectives.
  3. Write an exploratory paper of 850-1000 words and present it according to the format guidelines in your syllabus.
  4. In your paper explain your chosen question, problem or issue and why you are interested in it and have not, as yet, reached a satisfactory answer or position (your starting point).
  5. Write a first-person, chronologically organized, narrative account of your thinking process as you did your research. Do not simply report on what you found, but show evidence of a dialectic process in which you think about what you are learning. Analyze what you are learning, compare and contrast new information with previously learned information, question discrepancies, notice new questions that arise, synthesize ideas by reflecting on information learned from various sources, assess the relative strengths and weaknesses of various points of view, ‘talk back’ to your sources, decide what you need to do next. It is not necessary to arrive at a satisfactory answer, but you must show how your thinking has evolved.
  6. Use appropriate APA documentation style for in-text citations.
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