B. Informative Essay

Informative Assignment sheet A
created by:
Sarah Cash
Michelle Munroe
Amanda Hosey
Veronica Suarez

Essay 2 Assignment Sheet
The Informative Essay

Purpose – The purpose of your assignment is to write an essay that educates, interests, and surprises the reader about a specific place in South Florida. Your essay should present your reader with first hand observation and description of your location – this is known as primary research. Your essay will also require secondary research in order to obtain background and/or historical information about your location.

In the first essay, you were asked to explore yourself through a literacy narrative. You used rhetorical contexts, such as audience, purpose, and genre, and rhetorical appeals, such as ethos, pathos, and logos, to compose your essay. In the second essay, you will be using these same contexts and appeals, but you will be writing with the aim to inform or educate the audience on a given location.

Topic – A place in South Florida

Since you will be required to observe this place, the location you choose should be accessible and close enough to visit.

Your location should be small enough for a focused essay. For example, do not choose an entire city or large area. Your location should be specific. Some examples of specific locations include, but are not limited to: a part of a beach, a restaurant, a house of worship, or any other interesting and significant location. You may choose a location at FIU, but make sure that your location is small and focused.

Your essay should be interesting and surprising. For the purpose of this essay, you must make use of the “surprising reversal” technique (see The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing, Ch.7 “Writing an Informative Essay or Report”) to capture and hold your reader’s attention.

Audience – Your classmates and instructors, and the larger FIU community

Research Requirements

Primary research
● An observation log. You will use your observation log to help you record the details that you observe, and to write about your location in a descriptive, interesting, and significant way.

Secondary Research
● At least one secondary source. This may include but is not limited to local newspapers, local magazines, scholarly journals, and books. Do not use encyclopedic sources and only use Internet sources if they are credible. You will use your source to deepen your understanding of your location. You may discover new and surprising things about your location through your research. Your location may have an interesting history or cultural significance, or you may find that an interesting event takes place in your location. For example, did you know that the Bahamian Coconut Grove Cemetery is a historical location where the very first Bahamian immigrants were buried, and that it was used in Michael Jackson’s Thriller?

Developing Your Essay
After conducting your research, you will use your research and analytical skills to find the most interesting information you have uncovered, asking yourself: “What surprises me? What did I learn that I did not already know? Is there new information that may surprise my audience?”

Unit Objectives
After completing this assignment, you will learn how to:
1. Effectively observe and incorporate your observation into your essay using descriptive language
2. Compose a logically structured essay
3. Navigate successfully between open and closed forms
4. Design a surprising reversal thesis that gives shape and purpose to your informative essay
5. Understand rhetorical contexts: audience, purpose, and genre and rhetorical appeals: ethos, pathos and logos
6. Develop an understanding of style that is appropriate and effective in your informative essay.
7. Understand and incorporate primary and secondary research in the essay effectively
8. Demonstrate your writing process: drafting, revisions, editing and proofreading

Length and Format
Final Draft Length: 1500 – 2000 words (4-5 pages), 12 point Times New Roman, double-spaced.

Assignment Due Dates (tentative)
1st Draft: 2nd Draft: Final Draft:

Time Management
Please select a place for your subject as soon as possible. Selecting an interesting location takes careful planning. Give yourself enough time to complete your observation logs and collect your research.

Portfolio Requirement
You must submit your writing portfolio with your final draft. Portfolio submission includes copies of journals, homework, peer reviews and group activities from the informative essay unit, as well as your 1st and 2nd informative essay drafts with instructor comments.

Informative Essay Assignment Sheet B (Scientific)
created by:
Benjamin Augustyn
Emily Byers
Christina Ondaro
Javier Collado Isasi

ASSIGNMENT SHEET
Essay #2: The Informative Essay

In your first essay for this course, you wrote about experiences from your own life, and the lasting impact that those experiences have on you today. Your next major writing project in this class asks you to combine personal experience obtained through observation and interviews, also known as primary research, with credible secondary sources such as those found in print or online.

Your subject should be an observable natural or social phenomenon. It’s up to you to decide why the thing you choose to write about is significant. Don’t be frightened by the concept of “phenomenon.” For the purpose of this assignment we will use the term to mean “an observable event or occurrence which may be investigated through first and second-hand research.” An issue such as pollution is too broad for this assignment, so think smaller. Often the most significant occurrences in nature and society are unassuming and go unnoticed by most people. In nature, it could be an invasive species in your local environment, signs of global warming, why leaves change colors, a spider web, or something recent such as the effects of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. In society, it can be texting, skating, the investigation of different habits (such as exercise or playing video games), and hosts of other activities people engage in. Make sure you pick a topic that you will feel comfortable sharing with your peers in class and online.

Your purpose for this assignment is to inform your readers about your particular topic through a combination of your own first-hand observations and interviews (primary research), and background information provided by outside sources (secondary research).

Your audience for this assignment is your classmates and your instructors. With this in mind, your research should present new and surprising information. If you’re writing about a commonly unknown phenomenon, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you decide to write about a well-known topic such as global warming or acid rain, your topic should include more recent or surprising information.

Unlike some informative essays that you may have had to write in the past, this is not to be an encyclopedic list of facts. If someone needed a complete overview of your topic, for example, they could just find that information on Wikipedia. Your audience, however, is not in a “need-to-know” situation; they are merely uninformed and curious. You should work with their curiosity to inform them and broaden their view of your topic. Also, keep in mind that this essay is informative, not argumentative. You are not arguing a local issue; you are simply surprising your readers with focused information. If you do encounter an arguable issue in your research, you can keep it for your final argumentative essay, however.

When developing your topic, ask yourself questions such as:
-What new and interesting things about nature or society can I show my readers?
-What interests me about this phenomenon?
-What might others not know and possibly find interesting or surprising?
-What common (and possibly incorrect) views do others hold about my topic?
-What interesting or surprising claim (thesis) might I make about this my topic?
-How much background information will my audience need?

Form:

A scientific report differs from other styles of informative essay in that it is divided into the following sections: Introduction, Method, Results, Discussion, References, and Appendices. These categories are clearly marked by the aforementioned headings.

1. INTRODUCTION: Explains the phenomenon to be investigated. Why is this event or occurrence interesting? How are you empirically testing your issue? Have you found any sources where this phenomenon was tested before? What do you expect to find? (i.e. What is your hypothesis?)

2. METHOD: In this section you will describe how the study was done. Did you use questionnaires? Personal interviews? Did you go out and do field observations? Here you will clearly document each step of your research. It is an important aspect of a scientific paper that your research can be replicated in order to be considered valid.

3. RESULTS: This section explains the results of your observations. Any charts or graphs you produce about your research may be included here if they are small. Long tables of data should be attached at the end in an appendix.

4. DISCUSSION: Here you will analyze your results and draw conclusions. Did anything surprise you? What are the causes and consequences of your findings? Where could further research be done in the future?

5. REFERENCES: This is your list of primary and secondary sources, cited in APA format. For more information on APA formatting see Allyn and Bacon pages 783-784. Your sources must be in alphabetical order and include all necessary information for future researchers to locate your source.

6. APPENDIX: (at the end of the paper) This database includes all of your research materials, such as questionnaires, personal interview transcripts, or large tables of data. Any other data you collected should be attached here.

Research requirements:
-For social phenomena: Two interviews (which can be done together), and observation for context
-For natural phenomena: Detailed observations and an interview, if possible
-At least two secondary sources from the FIU Library (this includes material accessed via the Library’s online databases). After you’ve used two FIU-Library-based sources, you can use other secondary sources, such as those found on the Internet.

Essay Requirements:
Your final draft should be 1500-2000 words. As always, your essay should be typed and double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Your essay should also include a works cited page and should adhere to correct MLA style, which we will discuss throughout this unit.
Your works cited page does not count toward the 1500-word minimum word count for this essay.

Grading criteria:
A good response to this assignment will do most or all of the following:
-Focus on the rhetorical purpose of expanding the reader’s knowledge by presenting new and possibly surprising information
-Use conventions of both open- and closed-form prose as they apply within the genre of scientific research.
-Supply evidence derived from observation, interviews, and secondary research
-Incorporate evidence logically through a combination of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
-Use specific, concrete language and pay attention to word choice
-Be clearly and logically organized around a specific thesis or main idea
-Employ style and tone appropriate to the material being covered
-Be grammatically and mechanically correct
-Cite sources correctly both within the text and in a works cited page
-Show evidence of an effective writing process that includes invention, drafting, revision, and proofreading

Informative Essay Assignment Sheet C
created by:
Nick Vagnoni

Essay #2: The Informative Essay

In your first essay for this course, you wrote about experiences from your own life, and the lasting impact that those experiences have on you today. Your next major writing project in this class asks you to combine personal experience and observation, also known as primary research, with credible secondary sources such as those found in print or online.

Your subject should be a significant place in South Florida. As with the literacy narrative, however, “significant” is a relative term, and it’s up to you to decide why the place you choose to write about is significant. Similarly, the term “place” is also flexible. An entire city in South Florida is too broad for this assignment, so think smaller. Often the most significant places in communities are unassuming and go unnoticed by those who don’t know about them. They could be restaurants, schools, parks, places of worship, farms, bus stops, bars, markets, barbershops, stadiums, movie theaters, or historic sites.

Your purpose for this assignment is to bring your readers into one of these places through a combination of your own first-hand observations and interviews, as well as secondary research to supplement your own experiences by providing background information.

Your audience for this assignment is your classmates and your instructors, all of whom are residents of South Florida. With this in mind, your research should present new and surprising information. If you’re writing about a little-known place, this shouldn’t be a problem. However, if you decide to write about a well-known South Florida landmark (American Airlines Arena, for example), you’ll need to consider what your readers might already know, and what information they might find new and surprising. (For example, readers may know what it’s like to attend a game or a concert at AAA, but seeing it from the perspective of a janitor or security guard would likely be a different experience.)

Also, this essay should continue the discussion of language that began in our first essay by looking at communication, language, and literacy within the place you’re writing about. What language or languages are used? Are there other modes of communication? What does it mean to be literate here, to be attuned to the subtle and not-so-subtle ways people interact and communicate, to be aware of and fluent in the languages, rituals, and customs of this place? Communication on a soccer field is probably different than communication in a synagogue.

Unlike some informative essays that you may have had to write in the past, this is not to be an encyclopedic list of facts about a certain place. If someone needed a complete overview of Florida, for example, they could just find that information on Wikipedia. Your audience, however, is not in a “need-to-know” situation; they are merely uninformed and curious. You should work with their curiosity to inform them and broaden their view of your topic. Also, keep in mind that this essay is informative, not argumentative. You are not arguing a local issue; you are simply surprising your readers with focused information. If you do encounter an arguable issue in your research, you can keep it for your final argumentative essay, however.

When developing your topic, ask yourself questions such as:
-What new and interesting places in South Florida can I show my readers?
-What interests me about this place?
-What might others not know and possibly find interesting or surprising?
-What common (and possibly incorrect) views do others hold about this place?
-What interesting or surprising claim (thesis) might I make about this place?
-How much background information will my audience need about this place?

Research requirements:
-Two interviews,
-Detailed observations based on site visits and notes recorded in a research log, and
-At least two secondary sources from the FIU Library (this includes material accessed via the Library’s online databases) After you’ve used two FIU-Library-based sources, you can use other secondary sources, such as those found on the Internet.

Essay Requirements:
Your final draft should be 1500-2000 words. As always, your essay should be typed and double-spaced in 12-point, Times New Roman font. Your essay should also include a works cited page and should adhere to correct MLA style, which we will discuss throughout this unit. Your works cited page does not count toward the 1500-word minimum word count for this essay.

Grading criteria:
A good response to this assignment will do most or all of the following:
-Focus on the rhetorical purpose of expanding the reader’s knowledge by presenting new and possibly surprising information
-Use conventions of both open- and closed-form prose as necessary
-Show engagement with issues or language, rhetoric, literacy or culture
-Supply evidence derived from observation, interviews, and secondary research
-Incorporate evidence logically through a combination of quoting, paraphrasing, and summarizing
-Use specific, concrete language and pay attention to word choice
-Be clearly and logically organized around a specific thesis or main idea
-Employ style and tone appropriate to the material being covered
-Be grammatically and mechanically correct
-Cite sources correctly both within the text and in a works cited page
-Show evidence of an effective writing process that includes invention, drafting, revision, and proofreading

Deadlines: A rough draft will be due for peer review on Friday, October 7. A complete draft with all sources and citations will be due for peer review on Wednesday, October 12. Your final draft is due on Monday, October 17. These deadlines are subject to change based on our in-class progress. See weekly homework sheets for details on each deadline.

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