ENG 123: College Research Paper

Spring 2017| Sec 015

Dr. Marc C. Santos
Ross Hall 1180D
Office Hours: Monday / Wednesday 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

Course Introduction

This semester I’ve decided to structure this course around 3 pieces of research in Rhetoric and Composition.

First and foremost, this course approaches research in terms of the “worknets” introduced by Derek Mueller in his 2015 piece “Mapping the Resourcefulness of Sources: A Worknet Pedagogy.” Mueller argues that too often research citations in student papers are merely attempts to meet a requirement and too rarely authentic engagements with scholarly work. Sources are jammed in as “evidence” of the writer’s (preexisting) belief. Instead, Mueller articulates a project in which student research is on the research and researcher. We will read, discuss, and use Mueller’s 4 pronged method for analyzing sources in the coming weeks.

This leads to the second influence on this class, Jennifer Rice’s work in Distant Publics. Rice challenges the age-old notion that writing classes should begin by urging students to select a topic that is interesting to them or is relevant to their lives. Rice argues that preparing citizens to participate in the more tedious dimensions of democracy means showing them that there is joy to be found in scrutinizing something that might seem irrelevant. An added benefit of this approach is that it allows students to throw themselves into a question toward which they might not have a preexisting, or ideologically determined, answer. Part of navigating a post-factual world is that we recognize how cognitive bias and tribal loyalty often leads us to merely confirm answers that match up with what we already believe. To counter this, we need more exercise critically engaging materials to which we do not have an intense investment. As I’ll discuss below, the course will begin by asking you to form writing groups around one of 8 articles from Scientific American. I have selected articles that show an intersection between academic science and public policy problems.

The third piece of research shaping this course is Asao B. Inoue’s Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies. Inoue demonstrates how traditional assessment practices in English (that is, “grading rubrics”) tend to overly reward white and/or middle class students and overly penalize minority and/or poor students. Furthermore, these rubrics often simply measure a writer’s current ability and do little to promote improvement. Furthermore, countless studies show that combining grades with feedback are actually counterproductive to student development–put simply, students learn more when grades and feedback are separated. Finally, Inoue argues that students show significant improvement when they assess others’ writing. This course reflects Inoue’s research in two ways: first, our writing groups will be peer review groups, in which you will be both working collaboratively to collect and share sources and assessing each other’s writing. Second, the majority of the work turned in for this class is graded quantitatively–that is, if you pass it in and it meets length requirements then you will receive full credit. Only the final paper will be evaluated according to a traditional rubric. By the time we get to the final paper, you will have extensive experience using the rubric to evaluate drafts of your own and peers’ work.

Delving into Scientific American

You will form your writing groups by selecting one of the following Scientific American articles as a launching point for your research this semester:

Most of these articles contain links/summaries contemporary research. The few that don’t have “leads” to research (references to recent studies, interviews with significant researchers, etc that are just a Google or Google Scholar search away). Following Rice, I’ll encourage you to pick a topic in which you have some measure of interest, but not one in which you are extremely invested.

The format of this course will be a different from the format of other academic research writing classes. Most classes begin by having you explore a research topic. Something that interests you. Within the first few weeks you will write a research question, and dedicate weeks to finding sources that answer that question. We will work a bit differently. Mueller writes: “research questions are oftentimes instigated by encounters with what others have written.” So rather than begin by asking you about your interests and having you articulate a question, we are going to begin by reading some existing research and mapping its relation to other research. You won’t formally propose a research question until the middle of the semester, after you’ve done a considerable bit of reading, thinking, and writing. You will then research, write, and revise a 10-15 page academic research paper. You might not believe me now–but after all the work you do this semester, it will be much easier to write a 15 page paper than a 10 page paper.

For the final project this semester, I’ll ask you to transform your research paper into a video that can be shared via social media. The videos will be under 5 minutes long, so the challenge will be condensing them and composing them in a way that is both accessible, informative, and entertaining.

Text and Materials

Required text:

Booth, Wayne C., Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams. The Craft of Research.

Hacker and Sommers, A Writer’s Reference, ISBN: 978-1457688867

Materials and assignments for this course will be found in two places. First, via Canvas.  You can find instructions on logging into and using Canvas here. Second, via the course website. I will post class notes to the course website in advance of most class sessions.

You will need to have or create a Google Drive account to complete and turn in assignments.


In-Class Activities
These include quick writes, editing and revision activities, Google Drive individual/team writing activites, Canvas quizzes, occasional discussion points, and any other minor assignment we do. Note that in-class activities are part of attendance; many cannot be made up if missed.

Note that there will be a significant amount of peer review and workshopping in this course, as well as reflective work on feedback you receive and your writing process.


Mueller’s name for his research analysis, you will conduct two of these during the first 6 weeks of the semester. These “deep dives” will form the basis for your topic proposal.


In the proposal assignment, you will articulate your research question, argue for its relevance (establish kairos), and map out the sources you will need to answer that question. You will receive feedback about the topic’s suitability, your purpose for research, your proposed audience, and your research plan.

Annotated Bibliography
The annotated bibliography is a list of sources that you will consider for your research paper. You will write an annotation for each source consisting of a brief description and evaluation of each source. You will create and employ effective keyword searches in disciplinary databases to access, identify, and evaluate reliable information from credible/scholarly sources.

Conference and Outline
Sometime after Spring Break we will meet for a conference to discuss your research progress and your outline for the final paper.

Peer Review/Workshop/Conference
You will be asked to attend at least two conferences (one for the sentence outline assignment and one for a draft of your final essay) and participate in two in-class workshops (one for a preliminary draft and one for the completed draft).

Multimedia Video
This presentation is a way for you to show your fellow classmates what you have been working on since midterm. Your purpose in the presentation is to recreate the most essential insights and messages from your essay; thus, you will explain your issue, purpose, audience, research question and thesis.
Assignment meets the following SLO’s: 1a, 1c, 2a, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b

Research Paper
Your final essay will be a 2,500-3,500 word (10-15 pages, not counting title page or references/works cited page) mechanically and stylistically coherent, argumentative researched essay on your topic that demonstrates you have gained the benefits of research, illustrates your understanding and utilization of argumentative rhetorical strategies, and demonstrates your ability to correctly incorporate outside source material as necessary for support of your claims.
Assignment meets the following SLO’s: 1a, 1b, 1c, 3a, 3b, 3c, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b


NOTE: the following is one example of a grading system. Teachers may refer to the ancillary materials for further examples.
Completion of all assignments does not guarantee a passing course grade. Students should save all papers and graded assignments.

Assignment Percentage
In–class activities 15%
Worknets 15%
Proposal 10%
Annotated Bibliography 15%
Conference/Outline 5%
Presentation 10%
Final Research Paper 30%

Weighted and averaged points for the course will be computed according to the following plus or minus grade scale:

93–100 =A 87–89 = B+ 77–79 = C+ 67–69 = D 0–66 = F.
90–92 = A– 83–86 = B 73–76 = C 80–82 = B– 70-72 = C-

Number grades that fall between two whole numbers will be rounded up if they are 0.5 or higher. (Example: 86.5= 87; 86.3 = 86)

Course Policies and Procedures


Students are expected to attend all scheduled class meetings. That said, things happen. You may miss up to 4 classes this semester without penalty. Every absence beyond the 3rd will result in a 10 point penalty. I do not excuse individual absences.

If you develop an illness or have a family situation that requires you to miss more than one class session, then please contact me as soon as possible to see if we can work something out. Note that, because this is a discussion-based and workshop-driven course, we might not be able to work something out.


We’ll spend 2/3 of our time together in a computer lab. I expect everyone to know when they should be paying attention to the computer screen, and when they should be paying attention to whomever is speaking (whether it is me or a classmate).

I encourage you to bring a laptop to class for note-taking or writing. If you take notes on a smartphone, that’s fine with me. Again, I expect you to engage discussion when appropriate and to not allow mobile devices to become a distraction.

Late Work

Due dates are included in Canvas and will be listed on the course website. It is your responsibility to complete assignments on time. I expect everyone in this class to compose using Google Drive, so there should not be any issues with computer crashes or software malfunction.

That said, I will except late work for 50% credit. It is better to put in some effort and get a 50% than to let a zero tank your grade.

Student Code of Conduct and Academic Integrity
All members of the University of Northern Colorado community are entrusted with the responsibility to uphold and promote five fundamental values: Honesty, Trust, Respect, Fairness, and Responsibility. These core elements foster an atmosphere, inside and outside of the classroom, which serves as a foundation and guides the UNC community’s academic, professional, and personal growth. Endorsement of these core elements by students, faculty, staff, administration, and trustees strengthens the integrity and value of our academic climate.

UNC’s policies and recommendations for academic misconduct will be followed. For additional information, please see the Student Code of Conduct.

Additionally, the Department of English at UNC has adopted the following policy regarding plagiarism. Pretending that another¹s work is one’s own is a serious scholarly offense known as plagiarism.
For a thorough discussion of plagiarism, see the Dean of Students website information on academic integrity:

Students who are caught plagiarizing will receive a final grade of “F” in the course. In addition, they will be reported to the Chair of the Department of English and the Dean of Students office for possible further disciplinary action.

If you need help with understanding documentation systems and avoiding plagiarism beyond the instruction given in class and as seen in the UNC Code of Conduct, speak with the instructor or visit the UNC Writing Center’s web site for a series of PowerPoint tutorials at http://www.unco.edu/english/wcenter/academicintegrityindex.html. Students can also visit the Michener library’s website for resources relating to documentation systems. Instructors use experience and a plagiarism detection service, Safe Assignment, sponsored by the University, to aid in spotting cases of plagiarism. Plagiarism will not be tolerated.

Double Dipping

Some but not all UNC instructors regard double or repeat submissions of one’s own work as a form of plagiarism. If you intend to use in this course written material that you produced for another course, you must consult with me before doing so for each individual assignment. I have no problem with you working on material that will benefit you in another course so long as we discuss the matter prior to submission.By policy, double submission of work requires the approval of both instructors.

Disability Accommodations

Any student requesting disability accommodation for this class must inform the instructor giving appropriate notice.  Students are encouraged to contact Disability Support Services (www.unco.edu/dss ) at (970) 351-2289 to certify documentation of disability and to ensure appropriate accommodations are implemented in a timely manner.

UNC Course Catalog Description

English 123: Instruction in diction, style, logical analysis, research techniques and organization of college level research papers. (LAC, 1b gtP)

Prerequisite: Successful completion of ENG 122, an ACT score of 30.0 or higher in English, or an SAT verbal score of 630 or higher. In ENG 123, students are expected to be in control of grammar and mechanics and to be competent essay writers.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education has approved English 123 for inclusion in the Guaranteed Transfer (GT) Pathways program in the gt-CO2 category.  For transferring students, successful completion with a minimum C‒ grade guarantees transfer and application of credit in this GT Pathways category.  For more information on the GT Pathways program, go to http://highered.colorado.gov/academics/transfers/gtpathways/curriculum.html
Liberal Arts Core Student Learning Outcomes for Area 1 (Composition)
The general education requirement in Written Communication is designed to help students develop the ability to use the English language effectively, read and listen critically, and write with thoughtfulness, clarity, coherence, and persuasiveness. Each course in the Written Communication sequence assumes that writing is a recursive process. Thus the intermediate and advanced writing courses reinforce, deepen, and extend the content of their prerequisite courses.

Students who successfully complete the Area 1 requirement in Composition will have acquired a good foundation for writing clearly at the college level. After successfully completing two courses in composition, students will be able to:

  • Read, analyze, summarize, and reflect on texts written in several genres for specific discourse communities.
  • Use voice, tone, format, and structure appropriately in written communication.
  • Use recursive strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and proofreading for extensive, in-depth, and/or collaborative projects.
  • Use sources and evidence effectively, applying appropriate documentation.
  • Critique their own work and the work of others.
  • Identify and evaluate the relevance of context.
  • Synthesize other points of view within their own position.
  • Reflect on the implications and consequences of the stated conclusion.

gtPathways Content Criteria, Competencies, and Student Learning Outcomes (SLO’s): Written Communication.

Competency: Employ Rhetorical Knowledge (GT-CO1, GT-CO2)

Exhibit a thorough understanding of audience, purpose, genre, and context that is responsive to the situation.

Criterion 1: Deepen Rhetorical Knowledge
Student Learning Outcomes:

  • a. Focus on rhetorical situation, audience, and purpose.
  • b. Use voice, tone, format, and structure appropriately, deepening
    understanding of relationships between form and content in writing.
  • c. Write and read texts written in several genres, for specified discourse
    communities. These communities may include professional or disciplinary
    discourse communities.
  • d.Practice reflective strategies.

Competency: Develop Content (GT-CO1, GT-CO2)

Create and develop ideas within the context of the situation and the assigned task(s).

Criterion 2: Deepen Experience in Writing
Student Learning Outcomes:

  • a. Develop recursive strategies for generating ideas, revising, editing, and
    proofreading for extensive, in-depth, and/or collaborative projects.
  • b.Critique one’s own and others’ work.

Criterion 3: Deepen Critical and Creative Thinking
Student Learning Outcomes:

  • a.Evaluate the relevance of context.
  • b.Synthesize other points of view within the student writer’s own position.
  • c.Reflect on the implications and consequences of the stated conclusion.
  • Competency: Use Sources and Evidence (GT-CO1, GT-CO2)

    Critically read, evaluate, apply, and synthesize evidence and/or sources in support of a claim.

    Criterion 4: Use Sources and Evidence
    Student Learning Outcomes:

    • a. Select and evaluate appropriate sources and evidence.
    • b. Evaluate the relevance of sources to the research question.

    Competency: Apply Genre and Disciplinary Conventions (GT-CO1, GT-CO2)

    Apply formal and informal conventions of writing, including organization, content, presentation, formatting, and stylistic choices, in particular forms and/or fields.

    Competency: Control Syntax and Mechanics (GT-CO1, GT-CO2)

    Follow an appropriate documentation system. Demonstrate proficiency with conventions, including spellings, grammar, mechanics, and word choice appropriate to the writing task.

    Criterion 5: Deepen Application of Composing Conventions
    Student Learning Outcomes:

    • a. Apply genre conventions including structure, paragraphing, tone, mechanics,
      syntax, and style to more extensive or in-depth writing projects.
    • b. Use specialized vocabulary, format, and documentation appropriately.


    Week One January 8/10/12


    Class: Course Introduction / Scientific American articles

    Home: Read one article. Write and post a 200 word summary to Canvas discussion forum.


    Class: Ross 1240 computer lab. Scientific American discussion exercise; source analysis team exercise (take one).

    Home: Print, read, and annotate Mueller and post response to Canvas. Bring this to next Wednesday’s class.


    Class: We will be meeting in Mich 303 for the library instruction session with Stephanie Evers.

    Home: Read Mueller article. Post 350 word response to Canvas discussion forum.

    Week Two January 17/19


    Class: Ross 1240 computer lab. Discuss Mueller. Set up Google Team pages and individual pages. Team post: Source Analysis Team Exercise (take 2).

    Home: How to Summarize an Academic Article. Article Pass #1: Read and Summarize. Share link to Google Doc. Make sure Google Doc is properly formatted.


    Class: Ross 1240 computer lab. Article Pass #2: Semantic Analysis.

    Home: Complete Article Pass #2: Semantic Analysis (300-400 words in Google Doc). Bring a print copy of your analysis to class.

    Week Three January 22/24/26


    Class: Writing nuts and bolts (how to work with sources, paragraph transitions, etc). How to Peer Review/Workshop. Share Semantic Analysis. Overview of Pass #3: Bibliographic Analysis.

    Home: Work on Bibliographic analysis (add at least 225 words–75 words on 3 sources–to Google Doc).


    Class: Ross Computer Lab. Team project: Compose a Google Drawing/Work on Bibliographic Analysis.

    Home: Revise bibliographic analysis. Read two articles from the analysis and write 150 words on each.


    Class: Ross Computer Lab. Article Pass #4: Affinity Analysis.

    Home: Complete both Bibliographic and Affinity analysis (500 words to Google Doc). Print a copy of either your Bibliographic analysis or your Affinity analysis to workshop in Monday’s class.

    Week Four January 29/31 February 2


    Class: Quick Research Presentations

    Home: Catch up!


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Group Bibliographic Assignment



    Class: Research Time.

    Home: Worknet #2 Assignment. Read Booth 41-55.

    Week Five February 5/7/9


    Class: Booth topic exploration exercise.

    Home: Complete Worknet #2.


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Worknet #2 Team Workshop.

    Home: Revise and reflection.


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Annotated Bibliography assignment.

    Home: Read and annotate source #1.

    Week Six February 12/14/16


    Class: Sentence Syntax workshop #1

    Home: Read and annotate source #2.


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Ross 1240 Computer lab. Types of research.

    Home: Read and annotate source #3


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Read and annotate source #4. Writing groups. Proposal.

    Home: Complete annotated bibliography for graded check. Work on proposal.

    Week Seven February 19/21/23


    Class: Crafting surveys.

    Home: Complete Proposal Draft.


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Booth on arguments. Peer review proposals.

    Home: Submit proposal.


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Annotated source #5.

    Home: Annotated source #6

    Week Eight February 26/28 March 2


    Class: Conducting interviews.

    Home: Annotated source #6/7


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Booth on reasons vs. evidence

    Home: Annotated source #7


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Proposal feedback. Writing groups. Open date

    Home: Annotated source #8

    Week Nine March 5/7/9


    Class: Outline assignment

    Home: Annotated #9


    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. MLA and APA workshop #1



    Class: Ross 1240 Computer lab. Annotated #10

    Home: Submit final annotated bibliography. Complete outline for conferences

    Week Ten Spring Break

    Yup, spring break.

    Week Eleven March 19/21/23


    Class:Review outline assignment


    Class: Conferences


    Class: Conferences


    Week Twelve March 26/28/31


    Class: Sentence Syntax #2

    Home: Draft that paper


    Class: Draft that paper

    Home: Draft that paper


    Class: Draft that paper

    Home: Draft that paper

    Week Thirteen April 2/4/6


    Class: Draft that paper

    Home: Draft that paper


    Class: More MLA / APA




    Home: Draft due

    Week Fourteen April 9/11/13


    Class: Revise that paper



    Class: Ross computer lab. Revise that paper

    Home: Revise that paper


    Class: Learn that multimedia.

    Home: Revise that paper. Make that presentation.

    Week Fifteen April 16/18/20


    Class: Visual rhetoric and pechakucha

    Home: Final paper due


    Class: Make that presentation

    Home: Make that presentation


    Class: Make that presentation. Course evals

    Home: Make that presentation

    Week Sixteen April 23/25/27


    Class: Present that thing



    Class: Present that thing



    Class: Present that thing


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