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Homework answers / question archive / Preparing for the Exploratory Essay So far in Unit 3, you have completed the following steps in the research process: Identified an issue question that you are interested in answering Listed information questions whose answers will help you develop your own answer to your issue question Compiled an annotated bibliography of your five best sources

Preparing for the Exploratory Essay So far in Unit 3, you have completed the following steps in the research process: Identified an issue question that you are interested in answering Listed information questions whose answers will help you develop your own answer to your issue question Compiled an annotated bibliography of your five best sources

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Preparing for the Exploratory Essay

So far in Unit 3, you have completed the following steps in the research process:

  1. Identified an issue question that you are interested in answering

  2. Listed information questions whose answers will help you develop your own answer to your issue question

  3. Compiled an annotated bibliography of your five best sources.

In the next major assignment, the Exploratory Essay, you will consider three distinct ways of answering your issue question and trace your how your thoughts on your topic have changed or deepened through your research. The exploratory essay will help you think through your own answer to the question on which you focused, which you will then use as the central claim of your Researched Argument and support with evidence from and commentary on your sources.

The Exploratory Essay is not a rehashed Annotated Bibliography. In the Annotated Bibliography, you considered each source in isolation and evaluated its usefulness for your essay. In the Exploratory Essay, you will synthesize your sources and generate a claim based on what you have learned from your research.

The Exploratory Essay is not an argument. In the Researched Argument, you will make and defend a claim. In the Exploratory Essay, on the other hand, you will show how your sources helped you arrive at your claim and how they inform your claim.

So…what is an exploratory essay?

The main purposes of an exploratory essay are to consider different perspectives and evidence, to question your own viewpoints, and to formulate your thoughts about how to answer the issue question you chose for your topic.

Before you start writing, please view Northern Virginia Community College’s video on exploratory essays

You may also find it helpful to read "How to Write an Exploratory Essay" by Virginia Kearney.

Please see Assignment 5.2 for instructions for what to include in your Exploratory Essay and how to organize it.

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