What is this page for?
GEW is not only to develop your writing skills, but more importantly, introduce you to scholarly discussion and argument. You demonstrate this by writing a paper on the topic using sources that can both support and contest your thinking. In this class, you are to select a social issue and its impact or influence on national identity (nationalism).
Papers such as these are not opinion pieces saying you liked or did not like the subject. You will describe the social issue, its background, positive and negative aspects, and future implications or solutions for national identity. How you focus the paper will be discussed by your instructor in class and in your assignment prompt.
With prompt in hand and a broad topic identified, this is where research comes in. The pages for this course guide are to help you locate the scholarly and review publications you need to include in your paper, with a page on using the proper MLA citation for the work you are incorporating into your essay.
Come to terms with...
There are some specialized terms in literature research that you should understand before starting your research.
- Scholarly publications: You need to use the best of the best for university-level research consisting of publications (books or articles) that have been written by scholars who specialize in your topic. To determine whether scholarly or not, refer to this short guide.
- Popular publications: These are written for the average reader. Sample publications include Newsweek, People, and Scientific American.
- Trade publications: These are written for employees in a particular business or industry, so may refer to your topic, but in a commercial or how to sense.
Starting your research...
1. Before searching, strategize what you need! The prompt will not only tell you how to address the topic, but tell you how many scholarly resources you need. Keep in mind that number is the MINIMUM required. Finding additional relevant books and articles will give you more to include in your writing (and help fill those pages.)
2. What are you being asked to do?
- Describe the issue. Do not assume the reader knows about or has thought about this issue.
- Provide some background--how long has this been an issue?
- Discuss who is affected by your topic.
- Have there been legal proceedings or events triggered that involve your issue?
- Is there a specific aspect to your issue especially relevant to national identity?
- Class distinction (wealth and poverty)
From the prompt(s), write down a set of keywords to use in starting your searches for books, articles and reviews. Those keywords can be used in place of the examples given in the other pages of this guide. As you work, continue to note new related terms that you see and write down questions that arise and comments that you have. You may not use everything you find in your final work, but these notes will save trying to recall what you found earlier and now do not remember where.
Also, keep in mind that computers search engines are literal. There is no correction for mispelling and the search algorithm will only match the characters you type in. If you are searching for information on gender issues in social networking, try the more specific words 'women' or 'men' as well as the term 'gender'.