To begin, you will identify a contemporary topic or issue within your field of study that you wish to learn more about. Then, you will form a research question that will serve as the cornerstone of your investigative essay. In order to explore your research question, you will engage in a variety of research methods. Research is finding information—and there are many ways to go about finding information. You will discover, however, that some research methods are favored within your academic discourse community. For instance, while the humanities tend to prefer secondary research (consulting scholarly, popular, and professional publications), the sciences tend to prefer primary research (collecting data through interviews, surveys, first-hand observations, and experiments). To that end, it is up to you to identify what research methods are most appropriate for your project. Some options to consider include:

Primary Research


  • Interviews


  • Data/Text analysis
  • Secondary Research
  • Scholarly
  • Peer-Reviewed Articles
  • Books (Published by an Academic or Scholarly Press)

Academic Lectures/Presentations

  • Popular


  • Blog Posts
  • Magazine Articles
  • Newspaper Articles
  • Documentaries

For this assignment, you will summarize and analyze your data by annotating 6 potential secondary sources, 3 of which must be scholarly ones (namely, peer-reviewed articles). You should properly cite each of the six sources in accordance with the documentations style for your field (refer to tabs 6-8 in A Writer’s Resource for information on the various documentation styles). Below each citation, you will include an annotation that includes a combination of these elements:

  • briefly summarize the source and its main ideas,
  • explain how you would use the source in your essay,
  • offer an evaluation of the source’s credibility, and
  • tell how the source relates/does not relate to the other sources.