Ssay #3: Communicating in a Virtual World: The Research Paper

Essay #3: Communicating in a Virtual World: The Research Paper
Purpose: Human beings have always been social animals. Now that technology surrounds us, however, the nature of human interaction and community has altered. This assignment asks you to explore how communication technology (e.g., the internet and cellular phones) affects the ways in which individuals interact in social and cyber realms, and how this, in turn, changes the way we interact face-to-face. Using the analytical and interpretative skills we have been developing in this course, you are expected to move beyond the assigned readings and conduct research to support a thesis-driven research essay. You will also be expected to write a proposal that discusses the scope of your essay and mentions the research you have conducted.
Reading (These articles are from Next Text):  Growing up Online, by Bruce Bower; Bower explores how the internet offers many meeting places for teenagers to explore their identity, find important information, and make emotional connections.  R We D8ting, by Sandra Barron; Barron describes a dating relationship (from beginning to bitter end) that she had with someone mostly through text messages. She exposes the limits of text messaging by showing that it is easy to misinterpret what is being stated, yet she cannot deny that it is convenient and addictive.  Community: From Neighborhood to Network, by Barry Wellman; Wellman discusses how technology has extended social networks and modified the way we form communities.
Research: In addition to the assigned readings for this unit, you are expected to find at least three additional sources, whether they come from an article, essay, or book. The upcoming modules for this unit will explain how to conduct research, and how to determine what sources are acceptable and which are not considered valid for academic purposes.
Topic: Communication technology has dramatically changed the ways in which individuals interrelate. For example, the internet and cellular phones have made it possible to communicate with someone without ever having any physical contact with them, which can have some negative outcomes. On the other hand, experimenting with identity online can allow people safe outlets to express themselves.
Writing Task: Since it seems like there is no going back, it is up to you to evaluate the impact that all of this new technology has had on the social lives of humans. After constructing an argument that takes a stance on this issue, write a thesis driven essay of 7-10 pages (using as much of your research as possible) that addresses the following prompt:
Analyze how communication technology affects human interaction.
In thinking about this topic, consider the following tips:
” Be sure to force yourself into coming up with an argumentative thesis by converting the prompt into a yes/no question. For instance, ask yourself: Do you think communication technology has a positive impact on human interaction? Why or why not? Do you feel like humans are too reliant on communication devices? Why or why not? Do not forget the rationale!
” When discussing technology, make sure you stick to technology that relates to communication: talking about your uncle s new bagel toaster might not be fully relevant.
” Likewise, make sure you discuss how this specific type of technology affects human interaction. For instance, talking about how you are overwhelmed by all the information surrounding you might not be relevant. However, if you mention that this hurts the way you interact with people because you are continually distracted, then you will have made the connection.
” In a way, you are an expert on this issue; feel free to mention communication technologies that you are familiar with, such as iPhones, Facebook, etc. But also make sure to describe them in enough detail so that an uninitiated reader can follow along, without resorting to mere summary and description that does not support a larger argument.
Directions: Having conducted research in the library and on the internet, you should organize sufficient information and material to help develop your ideas. You should develop a clear thesis as you do your research, and you should be able to support this thesis with quotations and information from your research and the required readings. Use MLA format to cite your sources and format your paper: 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double spaced, etc. And do not forget to include a Works Cited page!

Proposal Guidelines
Instructions: This lesson will introduce you to writing a research paper propsal and give you the specific requirements for the one you will turn in for this course.

In a lot of upper division classes, before starting an essay assignment or research project, you will be expected to provide your professors with a proposal telling them what you will be writing about and how you will go about accomplishing that assignment.

Writing proposals is a vital step to undertaking any project. In fact, many jobs require that its employees layout project ideas in proposals before the company spends money on carrying out that project. Proposal help ensure that the project will be headed in the right direction and will make use of the proper materials.

In the university, what you will include in a paper proposal will differ from professor to professor, from course to course. Therefore, you should always find out what your professor wants in a proposal.

In this lesson, I will give you the exact requirements for turning in a research paper proposal specifically designed for this course, English 103.

The proposal should be one-to-two pages, and it should include the following two sections:

Proposed Argument:

1. In this section, you should spend at least a paragraph telling what you are going to write about. First of all, you want to announce what your stance on this issue will be (even though this may change while you actually write the essay). Then, you will want to give the rationale for your stance. Remember: since this is such a broad topic, the more specific you can be in your proposed argument, the more tightly focused your final essay will be. This part of the proposal, of course, is just tentative, and hopefully your position will adjust according to what you find while you research and write.

My Research:

2. Describe the research you have conducted up to this point. For this proposal, I require that you mention at least three sources that you have found. Also, give a brief description of these sources and show how they relate to your argument. Ultimately, your paper does not need to include all three of these sources because you should continue researching and looking for sources that help you develop your argument. The more research you compile, the pickier you will be able to be when choosing the right quotations and information to support your argument.


Those are the two components that you should include in your proposal. In the next lesson, I have provided a sample research proposal that I created. So that you are familiar with the topic, I created a sample proposal for the last essay we wrote (about the state of the modern family), pretending as if it were the research paper. Of course, your research paper will be on Virtual Communication (not the family); nonetheless, you should try to model your own proposal on the one I have given you, even though the subject is different.

In the final task of this Module, I will give you more details about how to submit your own research paper proposal.

Sample Proposal
Instructions: This is just a sample proposal for you to see how to format and organize your own. Once you have created your proposal for Unit 3, submit it in the Assignment tool bar.

(While reading this sample research proposal, keep in mind that this is just one possible tak