exploratory and informative essay

1500 Word Essay

Major Assignment: Exploratory and Informative Essay

In preparing a major project, scholars examine and explore alternative points of view prior to reaching a consensus (a position). Building up to the Classical Argumentation project, you will write an Exploratory and Informative Essay and a Research Proposal, using the same question/topic all semester.

For this assignment: “Choose a question, problem, or issues that genuinely perplexes you.” Begin by summarizing what got you interested in the topic, and then discuss alternate points of view.  At some point in your discussion, be sure to discuss your interaction with—and reactions to—sources. 

Also answer the journalist’s questions (Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?). Include at least one interview (quotations should be sprinkled throughout the report—not all in one block!). Include at least 2-3 images in the piece, along with captions explaining what each image is meant to convey.  Also, add some secondary research (facts/statistics, perhaps) and be sure to cite your sources at the end—you must include three SCHOLARLY sources. Keep in mind that your purpose is to EXPLORE AND INFORM, NOT PERSUADE.

(Note: the instructor must approve of your topic in advance: avoid overdone topics such as abortion, lowering the drinking age, legalization of marijuana, etc., unless a new wrinkle can be found. The better topic is one that lends itself to a great deal of primary research as opposed to relying solely on copying and pasting quotations from secondary sources. If you want to write about gay marriage, be prepared to interview a gay couple who wants to marry. If you want to focus on teen pregnancy, find someone who is going through this experience. Real-life stories often make an argument more compelling, vivid, and indelible. Furthermore, over-reliance on quotations from secondary sources can result in plagiarism/originality issues when using turnitin.com. Also, a local problem often leads to an effective paper, since it has a specific audience in mind. Keeping the environment clean while promoting tourism in the Bahamas; the invasion of pythons in the Everglades…these are “local” problems that students have written about successfully in the past.) (Range: 4-8 pages; that is, 1,500-2,000 words.)


  • Title and Intro make it clear what the topic is about and capture the reader’s interest?
  • Intriguing thesis or overarching main idea brings the question into focus and provides the right amount of new and interesting (or surprising) information about the question and explores the topic thoroughly.
  • Although bias/angle of vision/slant is acceptable in most informative essays, this essay is clearly designed with the rhetorical aim of EXPLORING AND INFORMING as opposed to PERSUADING?
  • The article/essay is fully developed (1,500-2,000 words)?
  • Body of the essay includes at least one original interview, with quotes cited and integrated appropriately (not just in one or more blocks)? [Note: interview may be conducted via email or IM.]
  • Essay uses quotes and facts from secondary sources, cited and integrated appropriately? Uses at least three SCHOLARLY sources.
  • Essay includes at least 2-3 well chosen, images with sources cited (unless they are images you take yourself) with captions that tell the reader what they show or teach us? Must be cited.
  • Overall language, vocabulary, and handling of grammar/mechanics achieve college-level sophistication and correctness.

The topic is on the overpopulation of traffic in Miami.

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