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Prof. Becker - English 101: Your Assignment

Welcome! This guide was created to help students in Professor Sarah Becker's ENG101 class.

Your Assignment

For this sequence, you should choose a topic within the field of education or technology or guns and incarceration You should then craft a “how,” “why,” or “to what extent” question that can be answered in an essay of approximately 5-8 pages. 

While preparing for the essay, you will explore topics and craft a question in the form of a Research Proposal.  You will then uncover credible and relevant sources for your question, summarize and respond to them in the form of an Annotated Bibliography.  Thereafter, you will learn to synthesize and organize these sources into your own argument essay. This essay must include in-line citations, a Works Cited page and a cover letter.  During exam week, you will create a final project that will take the form of a five-minute TED talk in front of the class.

Overview of the Second Sequence

Step 1:  The Research Proposal (which begins today)

Step 2: The Annotated Bibliography (AB) – with a cover letter

Step 3: The Outline

Step 4:  Research Article with works cited, in-line citations and cover letter

Step 5: The TED talk (Exam week)

Influential Sources for Your Research Proposal

1.) Pick a topic and propose a thesis to create your research question. Ask yourself:

  • What are your assumptions about this topic?
  • What do you wish to discover?
  • Why is this topic important enough to study?

2.) Locate an introductory, influential source. Some ways to locate influential sources include:  

  • A reputable encyclopedia.
  • Searching within a major newspaper, magazine, or journal such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Scientific American, NPR News, The Washington Post, Time, The Los Angeles Times, WIRED or Education Week.
  • Find a relevant TED talk.


  • If you get stuck, you can also ask your teacher or a librarian, who might know of recent research, controversies, or the name of an expert/ organization studying this issue.
  • Note that experts may be authors OR they may be people referenced or interviewed in articles you find.
  • Learn to look for clues and breadcrumbs to further, more in-depth research!

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