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Then write a first-person, chronologically organized, narrative account of your thinking process as you investigate your question through research, talking with others, and doing your own reflective thinking.

by | Sep 21, 2022 | Other

 

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How many sources do you need? 4 sources.
How many pages long should it be? 4-5 pages (shorter means you didn’t dig deep and longer means you’re not being selective and focused enough).
MORE INFO:
Choose a question, problem or issue that genuinely perplexes you.
At the beginning of your exploratory essay, explain why you are interested in this chosen problem and why you have been unable to reach a satisfactory answer so far.
Then write a first-person, chronologically organized, narrative account of your thinking process as you investigate your question through research, talking with others, and doing your own reflective thinking.
Your research should include a mix of journal articles, library sources, online articles in respected newspapers and magazines, and excerpts from interviews/podcasts/videos with experts in the field. The credibility of your sources is important as it impacts the overall quality of your essay.
As you reflect on your research, you can draw on your own experiences and memories, but make sure the bulk of your reflection is based on logic and reasoning.
Your goal is to examine your question, problem, or issue from a variety of perspectives and points of view.
By the end of your essay, you may or may not have reach a satisfactory answer…but you will be rewarded for the caliber of your exploration and thinking process. In other words, the goal is the “journey” (the research and thought-process) and not rushing to a simple answer.
Just a few tips about your exploratory essay:
Make sure the question you are asking truly interests you since you are “marrying” this topic for most of the semester.
If you already know the answer to your question or already have a strong view/stand/side/opinion on a topic, then you’re going about things wrong and run the risk of having a standard argumentative essay or expository essay rather than an exploratory essay. Plus, the more cliched your topic, the more bland and uninteresting your essay will be.
An exploratory essay is an objective open-minded journey of discovery. It involves surrendering yourself to the unknown and hunting down possible answers to a question you truly haven’t been able to figure out. It should include “aha” moments, information you didn’t know before, viewpoints you hadn’t considered before, and a genuine attempt to try to answer your specific question from as many perspectives as possible. It’s like Alice going down the rabbit hole and discovering Wonderland in all its perplexity.
While you use “I” when reflecting on each source and describing how you found each source, the sources themselves need to be selected in a way that showcases as many diverse “discourse community discussions” within your topic as possible (i.e. they should not be selected in a way that supports an argument or imposes a foregone conclusion) and the information and opinions in the sources must be discussed in an objective manner and presented objectively when you are summarizing, paraphrasing, and quoting them.
***
TIPS FOR INTRO:
Don’t do what you would usually do in an essay introduction. Instead follow the step by step instructions below:
1. Start by clearly stating your specific question.
2. Show your reader that your question is complex and worth trying to answer.
3. Tell your personal story about why you are interested in this question.
4. Provide key background information. Please do not include pointless info like common knowledge or definitions everyone already knows.
***
TIPS FOR ENTIRE ESSAY:
1. Remember to use APA citation for everything you summarize, paraphrase or quote from any source you use here (articles from AUS’s wealth of databases, encyclopedia Britannica, credible newspapers and magazines, credible websites…).
2. Remember that the quality of your sources matters so no Wikipedia or random websites or outdated sources.
***
TIPS FOR BODY PARAGRAPHS:
The most widely accepted general structure for the body paragraphs of exploratory papers is as follows:
1. Start your paragraph by explaining what source was used (title, author, genre, how you found it, WHY it was chosen, why this source in particular, and its relevance) and HOW it is credible (very important).
2. Then discuss the source by intelligently paraphrasing, summarizing and quoting only the information relevant to your topic and that specifically addresses your problem. Remember to include proper APA in-text citation and to add an APA References entry at the very end.
3. After discussing the source, you then must add commentary, explaining how the information answers your main question and reflecting on the information. You can bring up sub-questions that arose because of this source and which direction your thinking is heading as a result of the information you have so far.
The Exploratory Essay PDF has a great (and more detailed) step by step break down of an exploratory essay on P10 (162). Don’t mix information from several sources together. Discuss each source one at a time.
***
TIPS TO GET A GREAT GRADE:
If you have a look at the rubric, you’ll notice that the following are important:
· Analysis
· Synthesis
· Evaluation
· Interpretation
· Insight
· Details, nuances, and subtleties in use of evidence
· Balance of content and process
· Voice
· Style
· Tone
· Degree of formality
· Complexity of problem or questions posed
· Fluency
· Organization
· Resolution of conflicting ideas or information
· APA style formatting and citation
· Grammar, mechanics, and usage

 

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