Writing Situation: One of the most entertaining, yet most productive ways to write is by doing an I-Search essay. By way of increased freedom over content and subject matter, the I-Search lets the author choose how to present and write her or his paper. It usually involves first-hand research of whatever topic the author--you--chooses. Also, the I-Search lets you write in the first-person. For example, if you wanted to research scuba diving, you would conduct first-hand research and present your findings in a formal manner; yet, it would be fun because the essay allows you to tell a story. The fundamental goal of the I-Search is to get the writer to build on the more basic elements of good writing: grammar, presentation, story-telling, and research; however, it does not dwell on the formalities that many other forms of writing, such as the traditional research paper, do.
Directions for Writing: Choose a topic that you don't know very much about but arouses your curiosity and research it on the Internet according to the guidelines below. Your essay must be written from the first person point of view, exploring what you already know or interests you about the subject and will be guided by a controlling question at the end of the introduction. Your body paragraphs will explore the methods you used to do your research and what you learned during the process. Lastly, you will write a conclusion that reflects about what you now know about searching for information that you didn’t know before, and how this knowledge will affect the way you think or act in the future about researching a topic.
Basic Requirements • Select a topic: You’ll need to do some brainstorming and web research to help you choose a topic, but don't freak out. Choose a topic early on and stick with it. • Write a specific research question. Of course, you'll need to revise it and narrow this question further as you do your research. • Use Cornell Notes to keep track of your own research process. Once your narrowed research begins, you’ll need to keep track of your own research process. That means to take Cornell Notes on all the false leads you may follow, as well as on the more helpful searches. In addition, you’ll need to write about this information in one of the sections of your I-Search essay. • Find at least six useful sources for your essay. Your sources will include the Internet, an interview, and a print source. You will need to present these sources in MLA format. • Organize your paper into four sections: o The Search Question (Introduction ) ¾ to 1 Page o The Search Process (Body Paragraphs) 1 ½ to 2 Pages o What I Learned (Body Paragraphs) 1 ½ to 2 ¼ Pages o What This Means to Me (Conclusion) ½ to 1 Page • The length of the essay must be at least four-and-a-quarter pages and no longer than six-and-a-quarter pages. If it is shorter or longer than these parameters, it will only receive half-credit. • Class presentation: You will have to do a five to seven minute, multi-media class presentation of your essay. Two minutes of your presentation will be allowed for questions and answers.
Step 1: Pick a Topic. Choose something that you want to know more about. Make sure it’s something that matters to you, whether it's a serious topic or a topic that just amuses you. Some students may use it as a way to learn about things they've always been curious about. For instance, have you ever wondered about how eggs are graded or how a person becomes a foley artist (that’s the person who uses pots and pans and everything in between to make the booms, bangs, and whizzes you hear in movies)? Maybe you’d like to research how to buy a house or how Big Foot or Chupacabre legends got started. The only limit is your imagination.
Brainstorming Your Topic: To help you get a handle on what