This paper asks you to find a subject of particular interest to you personally,

This paper asks you to find a subject of particular interest to you personally, but one where you are not necessarily an expert. Find a topic that piques your interest and you are willing to spend some time investigating. It should be something you are curious about. It should be something you have lots of questions about. The key to your topic is that there is some sort of conflict or driving question to lead you further in or into more complex territory. Think like Eula Biss. There needs to be something to write up against, to lead to towards more research and exploration. Also, be careful of choosing something too big, you want to be able to go into sufficient depth in the pages you have available. Focus will help you. For example, this paper cannot be on inoculation. That is just too huge a topic. But it could be on why we inoculate against diseases that won’t kill us (like chicken pox).
This paper will require research skills from you. It asks you to utilize and foster the core skills required of a research paper:
develop real questions
find resources (3 substantial sources min)
interpret information
report your findings
In this paper you will practice habits of thinking, knowing, analyzing, of conducting a thoughtful existence in the world. Your topic should matter to you (and to society at large in some way), and you will use methods of inquiry (asking questions based on anecdote, fact, and other information you uncover) to bring your reader along with you in the above process. Biss’ book is a good example of an author braiding together multiple sources via research and personal experience to develop an idea. Wallace is another good model. Use them.

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