With your prospectus and annotated bibliography now complete, we can focus our attention to crafting your research essay. Below you will find the general expectations for your introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.
Your introduction should include the following:
1) A general and broad introduction to your topic, from which you will narrow your focus.
2) An overview of background information on your topic, including historical contexts, definitions, etc. (Think Background from your prospectus.)
3) A literature reviewi.e. what other scholars have said about your topic.
4) Your thesis, which clearly states what you are adding to the scholarly conversation.
5) Your methodology.
Again, the work on your prospectus should guide you through this introduction. Moreover, your introduction will take some length to complete, so do not be surprised if your introduction is around 2-3 pages.
Your body paragraphs should be dominated by your voice/argumentnot those of others. Therefore, your body paragraphs should largely be your analysis of evidence and active engagement with the arguments of other scholars in your field. Thus, you will have a mix of the following:
1) Paragraphs that are your analysis of the evidence.
a. For literary essays, your analysis of the text.
b. For non-literary essays, your engagement with raw evidence.
2) Paragraphs that are your engagement with other scholars.
a. First, state your point/argument.
b. Second, introduce and summarize the scholars who are relevant to the point you make. (Your first paragraphs from your annotated bibliography should help.)
c. Third, engage with the scholars arguments, revealing what you are adding to the scholarly conversation. (Your second paragraphs for your annotated bibliography should help. Remember, I do not want you to merely agree with every scholar.)
Since this is a longer essay (10-12 pages), you should take some time to re-cap your main points and restate what you are adding to the ongoing, scholarly conversation. Furthermore, you should relate at least one of the following:
1) The overall significance of the academic debate.
2) Why your addition is important.
3) What steps or research should be done in the future.
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