WR 121 Villa: Class Activities

Resources to support the argumentative essay assignment for Villa WR 121, Fall 2019

Research Exercise 1

You have 20 minutes to complete this activity.

Get into groups of about 5 people. Read (or scan, depending on length) the article below that matches your group number. You can read this together or you can take 5 minutes to read alone and come back to your group. You will need to decide how to make this work best for your group.

Choose one a scribe and a spokesperson for your group. Answer the following questions:

  • Who is the author? What can you find about their background? (use Google)
  • What makes this person an expert on this topic?
  • Which journal, magazine, organization, or website published this information?
  • What kind of publication is this? (Scholarly, peer reviewed, professional, popular, hobbyist, etc.)
  • Look for an about page on their website (or explore the website) and/or use Google to find information about the publication/organization/website. What kind of reputation does it have? Is it known for promoting specific points of view (bias)?
  • Can you tell where the information in the article came from? Do they share any information from other sources or does it seem like they are sharing an opinion?
  • If they used other sources, do those sources seem worth trusting?    
  • Based on your answers to these questions, would you use this source in an assignment like the one you have in this class? Why?
  • If you would not use this article, could anything from this article still be useful in an argumentative essay?

Be prepared to rejoin the larger group to continue this discussion.

Articles by Group

Research Exercise 3

Use any of the databases below to begin constructing a search related to your topic, research question, or thesis.

Take note of the kinds of content available in the results list(s).

How can you differentiate articles from peer reviewed, trade/professional, and other types of periodicals?

Email yourself a copy of the article that looks the most useful or the most interesting.

Research Exercise 2

Spend a few moments working your way through the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article tutorial at https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/tutorials/scholarly-articles/

Were there parts that you found surprising?

Research Exercise 4

Now that you've begun constructing your search strategies for scholarly and peer reviewed materials, you may discover there are gaps in the information you've been collecting. There may also be gaps in your understanding or background knowledge.

Use a source of your choosing to locate additional background information related to your topic or thesis. You might include some background research tools listed below, any of the tools listed for finding statistics and websites, or another search tool of your choosing.

Research Exercise 5

Through the end of class: Using the library website's list of Articles & databases, begin to choose databases to search for information related to your inquiry.

  • Which databases did you use?  Why did you choose these databases?
  • Did you use the same search terms you brainstormed in question 1?
  • Did you have to try new words for your search to have useful results?
  • Continue to email yourself copies of articles and citations.