Major Project 4: Scholarly Article

The time has come to bring it all together. All of your hard work developing your research question, familiarizing yourself with the scholarly conversation, and beginning to conduct your primary research has been leading up to this moment. The Scholarly Article will allow you to showcase your work, find out what it means, and step into the field of writing studies as an emerging scholar.

The Task

Building on everything we’ve done to this point—your Research Proposal, Annotated Bibliography + Literature Review, and your primary research findings—you will compose a Scholarly Research Article that will demonstrate, analyze, and discuss your research findings. You will share what you’ve learned with others.

The article should not only report what you have found but frame this knowledge within the conversation, seek to formulate an answer to the question that guided your research, establish the significance of your inquiry, and envision the possibilities of future study. Use the work you’ve already done this semester to research, synthesize, respond, and contextualize your findings. 

Your scholarly article should include the following components:

  • Introduction: Introduce your audience to your research question and the aims of your study. Cast a vision of what your reader will learn as they continue through your article. (This is a place where you can introduce plenty of material you’ve already created. Just be sure to revise what you’ve already written to fit this new genre and reflect how your ideas have grown.) Begin to establish the context and community in which your research and discussion of your findings will take place.
  • Enter the Conversation: Frame your research within the scholarly discussion that you have entered into. What scholarly conversations surround the ideas? Have other scholars addressed this topic before? What have they said about it? What will you contribute to the discussion? How do you respond or expand on what has been done? Here is a great place to demonstrate the gap or the niche that your work will fill in the conversation. (Your Literature Review will be useful here! Your Research Proposal too!)  
  • Methods: Describe how you conducted your research. What methodologies did you use? You can certainly draw upon the research design section from your Revised Research Proposal, but be sure to update this section of your paper to reflect what actually happened. Changes were bound to take place so make sure your discussion reflects those adjustments. Express why you chose the methods you did and why it was the best way for you to collect your data.
  • Results: What did you find? You implemented your research plan, you conducted interviews or surveys, you analyzed and created artifacts. Now demonstrate what results you have gathered from your hard work. Draw upon quotes, data, artifacts, or any other evidence you gathered (show, don’t tell). 
  • Discussion: Now take those results and examine what they mean. Write up an analysis of your primary research. Look for patterns, deviations, surprises, etc. Discuss how your results connect to your research question. Remember to make a claim. Your data means something. What is that? What have you learned? How does this new information interact with what has been done before? Does it confirm? Does it complicate? Expand?
  • Conclusion: As you wrap up your Scholarly Article, turn your gaze toward the future. What are the implications of what you’ve found? Revisit the significance of your research now informed by your results and discussion. Answer the “so what?” question. What new questions have your findings introduced? How might this discussion be continued in the future? The ideas don’t stop here. Imagine where the conversation could continue from here.
  • Works Cited: Include MLA formatted citations for each work cited within the work. (This does not count towards the minimum page count to meet the assignment requirements.)
  • Appendices: Not all papers will require an Appendix, but if you abbreviated your research data/findings in your paper it’s appropriate to include the full results for your reader to reference. Interview questions, surveys, and other similar research tools may also be included. You may also wish to include any artifacts you collected or created. Attach these in an Appendix. If you are uncertain whether something you have needs to be included in an Appendix, just ask! (This does not count towards the minimum page count to meet the assignment requirements.)

The Details

Your research paper should be approximately 10-12 pages in length plus a Works Cited page and any Appendices.

Use MLA format for in-text citations and your citation page to give a clear and accurate representation of the secondary sources that have informed your thinking and your research. You should also follow MLA guidelines for accurately citing your primary research findings, such as interviews or correspondences.

Who is your audience this time? The Scholarly Article means that your audience has certainly widened. While I will still be a member of your audience, your readers will now include fellow writing studies scholars and researchers as well as members of the discourse community that you have studied this semester.

Tips & Tricks

Ten pages may sound like a lot at first, but you’ll likely find that the page count will fill up quickly. Each of our major assignments has been building to this point. You’ve already accomplished significant portions of the task. Review what you’ve already done as a starting place. Put your research proposal, your annotated bibliography, and your literature review to work for you.

As you write, consider how each part of the paper fits together. How do you want to build your argument? Remember the rhetorical strategies and appeals you have at your disposal.

Your paper will probably feel a bit messy. That’s okay! This project will go through multiple drafts. Revision is a key part of the writing process (everyone does it whether they’re a new or seasoned writer), plus experience with revision is a key outcome of ENC 1102. The first draft of your Scholarly Article will be taken into the Peer Review setting.  We’ll work together to refine what you have to say. Plus, 

Get creative! There’s no one way for you to write this. Yes, you have certain criteria to meet and these will guide you towards making sure you have everything you need to craft a successful argument and discussion of your findings. But you can approach your article in many different ways. Let your personality come through. Make this something you can be proud to call yours. Just check out the many different approaches demonstrated in our Stylus models for evidence of how vastly different these scholarly articles can look.

How Will You Know It’s Good?

What makes it good will look a little different for everyone because each project is unique. That’s great! I look forward to reading your creative take on your Scholarly Article. There are some basics, though. Your work will be evaluated for completeness, organization, a clear claim, and thoughtful presentation of your research. Try to make this paper as polished as you can (but you will be revising for your Final Portfolio later on so there’s no need to get caught up in the polishing stage). 

Ask the following questions of your Scholarly Article before you turn it in:

  • Have you developed an argument? Does your article make a claim and support that claim with evidence and analysis? Have you considered counterarguments and worked to answer responses?
  • Have you used both secondary and primary research in your argument? Are you contributing something to the conversation and interacting with other researchers (instead of simply restating what has already been said)?
  • Have you established why your research and your argument matters? Does the article communicate significance?
  • Does your writing take your audience into consideration? Have you made conscious choices about how your tone, syntax, word choice, organization, etc.?
  • What moves have you made throughout the paper? (Check out Stylus models to help you think through the choices you’ve made!)
  • Does your paper fill 10-12 pages plus a Works Cited page and any appropriate Appendix material?
  • Have you used MLA format?