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Course & Self Assessment

English 127
Research Writing

Length:  1.5 - 3 double-spaced pages (500-800 words); submit online via Canvas
Follow Document Layout guidelines under Format Instructions

You all have done a lot of reading, writing, and research this quarter, both formal and informal.  In this brief and final writing exercise, assess where you are as a researcher and writer.  Look over all the work you have done this quarter—including forum postings, personal journal writing, preparatory notes, drafts of major assignments, final versions, and peer reviews—and consider where you were at different points, what you’ve learned, and how you’ve grown.  Also, look through the “Objectives” listed in the Syllabus, and see which ones you have met or at least advanced towards.

Use the questions below as pre-writing tools to help explore your self-assessment and structure your narrative.  Do not answer the questions below in numerical form.  While you may not answer all of them in equal depth, don’t ignore any of them.  Point to research methods and writing processes you used and specific examples of work you did to formulate a coherent idea about your characteristics and growth as a researcher and writer in this course. Try to make this as positive a self-assessment as possible, so that you can consciously focus on what you have in fact learned. 

1.      How have your attitudes towards social science and research evolved over the quarter?  What new insights did you gain about the ways in which scholars produce persuasive analyses, even “truth” about social issues?  What did you learn about research?  About the databases and surfing the web?  What was it like to claim the identity of scholar/researcher?

2.   How has your identity as a writer evolved this quarter?  Describe and reflect on the process of composing your writing.  What worked and what didn’t?  When did you feel most energized and enthused?  What allowed you to be productive?  Were some aspects and steps of the writing process easier than others?  How did you overcome writer’s block?

3.    What readings, assignments and exercises were most useful or provocative?  How did they lead you into new directions?  What did your personal journal writing and forum postings reveal?

4.      Describe your experience with the peer reviews, both as a reviewer and reviewee.  How did it affect your understanding of the issues, of audience, and of your own writing?

5.    What have you learned about critical reading and thinking in the social sciences?  What have you learned about arguments?  Identifying and evaluating claims, evidence, warrants, acknowledgments and responses?  About research questions, problems and disputes?

6.    What was the most important new thing that you learned or considered differently as a result of this course, and how has this affected your overall approach to social issues, knowledge, and/or writing?

7.    What are your future research and writing plans?  How do you see your future identity as a researcher and writer?  What would you like to explore further with regard to topics?  What strategies will you use to motivate yourself to keep reading, researching and writing?

8.    What recommendations do you have to improve the course?  (I place this question last because this assignment asks you to reflect on your own learning.  However, imagining improvements for the course may also allow you to identify aspects relevant to your writing experience.)