Topic for Discussion:
You’ve been considering the stakeholders connected to the issue you wrote about in Essay 1 and brainstorming about where to find the perspectives of those stakeholders. You’ve also been reading and writing about what it means to consider and analyze other perspectives in a thoughtful and productive manner. Share some of your thoughts on this topic with your classmates. What challenges and opportunities do you see as you work to gather multiple stakeholder perspectives for Essay 2? Which stakeholders are you considering for Essay 2? What did you find helpful or enlightening in the reading you were assigned this week?
Essay 2: Understanding the Community/Conversation
For Essay 2, you will continue to explore the place you wrote about in Essay 1. In this essay, you will
be looking more at the connections with the community surrounding your place, investigating and
analyzing the context and conversation surrounding issues regarding the place. You will use this
essay to develop a research question for your research paper.
● Where did your first essay end up? What is
● Who are the stakeholders in the issue? Which
groups/individuals are affected by it and in
● What are others saying about this issue? Look
at social media, blogs, cable news, newspaper
opinion articles, website articles, etc.
● What are some of the different unique
perspectives being shared? Be sure to review
a wide-range of opinions.
● What surprises you about the conversation?
● What don’t you understand?
● What challenges your worldview?
● What factors might be involved in the multiple angles? Why do people think what they
think? What contributes to the various perspectives?
Analyzing the Conversation
● Write a shitty first draft that attempts to show a clear snapshot of the conversation
surrounding the issue.
● Choose several sources that you believe represent a wide range of perspectives (not just
two). Remember to avoid either/or, black/white, for/against type arguments.
● Analyze these materials in terms of your experience in your community, as well as their
credibility. (Refer to the CRAAP test, the textbook, and Digital Library lessons on source
evaluation and credibility.)
● Revise your drafts using revision strategies presented in class, concentrating on eventually
coming to a working research question as you write. Your question will move the
conversation in the direction you think it needs to go and will serve as the starting point for
your research essay.
Dinner Party Organization Strategy
Think of yourself as the host of a dinner party that has been planned with the intent of discussing a
particular issue. Who would you invite to this party who has some kind of stake in the issue and
might offer various perspectives? These are the sources you need to find. Your job as the host is to
open up the discussion (ideally by telling a story or otherwise showing the scope of the problem).
Your introduction should set up your issue. Think about starting with background and/or personal
experience material from Essay 1. Use narratives, observations, background info, etc. to show your
connection to and investment in the topic (in other words, why you care about it enough to write
Then you’ll need to introduce the guests (sources),
make connections among what guests/sources are
saying, help them talk to/interact with each other,
point out where they may overlap or contradict each
other, and show how what one says may offer
valuable insight into what another says. In other
words, you are the facilitator of the conversation. As
such, you need to try to remain as impartial as
possible, avoiding presenting your own opinion on
what your guests say, and instead showing that you
have a firm grasp of the different angles from which
people approach this issue. As with the community
essay, you should be focusing on how complicated
and interconnected the issue is, avoiding any kind of
bias that risks oversimplifying a complex topic. Avoid
“chunking up” the body of the essay by sources and
instead aim to show how they might “talk to” or
“respond to” each other.
As host, you will wrap up your dinner party with a brief summary of the overall conversation and
end with a question you are left with after carefully considering what all these guests/sources have
said. Up until the conclusion, your paper should have shown that you have a fairly firm
understanding of the multiple perspectives and complexities within this issue. Your conclusion is
where you synthesize what you’ve found and arrive at where you will begin researching for your
academic conversation (research) paper. “Given what I’ve found in this conversation, this is the
question that needs to be asked.” This question will serve as your initial research question and will
get you started in the research process for your academic/scholarly research paper.
The mechanical requirements are listed below:
● A minimum of 750 words, typed and double-spaced in 12-point font.
● Formatted per APA guidelines (MLA for English majors only).
● A minimum of 4 outside sources, one of which should be an image or video, cited in the text
AND on a References page.