TOPIC: Why are school shootings on the rise in the United States? For this project, you will be writing a formal research report in which you identify a specific problem, question, or new development in your discipline. (If you are thinking about changing to a new major or exploring a new profession, you are certainly welcome to do so!) It should be addressed to a formal academic audience in a relevant discipline; it is not addressed to a group of students or a public advocacy group or a “general audience.” This report should be approximately 7-10 pages (not including the Works Cited page or bibliography) and will contain the following different sections.
An introduction of approximately 1 ½ -2 pages in which you describe the issue and its origin and development. The introduction should signal the topic and place the issue into context in a way that is significant to your intended audience. That may mean providing a sense of historical, technical, economic, social, political, or cultural background, and it should create a research space for the paper and give a sense as to why you see this issue as important to your audience, the ways in which it appeals to their professional values. The introduction should go on to give a sense of the method you will use to examine the topic, which in this case is a literature review. The introduction should conclude with a research question, one that is narrow enough to research and discuss in the space of seven to ten pages.
A literature review section of approximately 4-5 pages in which you identify the sources you will be using to research this issue. This section should give full bibliographical information on each source and must be limited to sources that would be credible to an academic audience. You are required to use three sources, and it is important that you look at your topic from a variety of perspectives so that you demonstrate your own lack of bias. Each bibliographical entry should explain the reasons why the source is credible; the professional credentials of the author or authors is certainly important, but you should also be able to identify the reasons why you consider the work unbiased and the evidence sound. This section will also summarize the findings from each of your sources, describing their main claims and any other claims that seem especially pertinent to your research question. This section should also describe in detail their specific evidence for those claims. This evidence is important because it will provide you with the evidence you will be using in your own argument. You should also consider the values and expectations of your audience in including evidence; many academic audiences expect visual representations of data, such as charts, graphs, or diagrams, and of course any academic audience is going to expect ample and specific evidence gathered in appropriate ways.
The discussion section, which should be approximately 2-3 pages long and in which you make the argument for what you see as the best solution or answer to the problem or question you have identified as your research question. This section should focus on a series of claims of your own; while it may draw on your research, as all academic reports do, it should not merely select one of the sources’ positions and repeat it. Your goal here is to craft a position of your own, which you will support from evidence gathered from your sources. You should also be sure to present a thoughtful discussion of what you see as the most important and interesting objections to your argument and a counterargument to those objections.
The Works Cited or Bibliography, which should list all the sources used to inform your research and to create the report. This should include the sources evaluated, certainly, but should also include any sources cited as background information in the introduction. It should be created in the format used in your profession or discipline so that it meets the expectations of your intended audience.
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