Research and Autobiography Assignment


This is an 8-10-page Research and Analysis assignment. The goal of this assignment is to interrogate your own origins—to fundamentally ask yourself who you are, where you come from, and what influences shape your psyche, personality and mindset— all while engaging in meaningful research and integration of source materials into your comprehensive narrative. You might think of your thesis as your Credo—who you are today and what has shaped you. Give special attention to ethos, pathos and logos. This paper must have:


  1. Integrate at least six sources of evidence, including three of your own sources that you research and integrate into the paper
  2. Minimum 8, maximum 10-page paper, before your Works Cited page
  3. A correctly formatted MLA Works Cited Page
  4. Strong grammar and sentence boundaries
  5. Clear audience focus: Class Blog
  6. Thesis (credo)


Writing Strategies:

To write an effective, coherent and well-researched paper, take an angle. Having an angle will allow you to analyze your topic and integrate and synthesize information and sources effectively. This will help you to make your paper flow. The angle might be about gender identity or roles, a career focus, or a social movement or issue, or some topic, which you feel gives your life meaning and purpose. Some examples might be: women in politics or business, Chicano/a or African-American Civil Rights, Domestic Violence or Childcare in the US. Think creatively. You might be able to connect this project with another class or ongoing project. Use Obama’s book as a model for organization.

  • Craft and frame a good driving question from which to write your paper. Ultimately, you want to get to the question of “Who are you?” in profound and enlightened way.



You may wish to model your paper on Obama’s book. Much of his narrative is to shape our perceptions of him. How does he organize his story? What facts are important? When does he give details, and when does he summarize?



For your audience, our class blog should be your primary focus. Thinking about the blog allows you to consider your sources and focus your topic for a broader audience. Balance the paper to be an academic inquiry into identity rather than as solely personal narrative.

Note: No papers will be published without the author’s permission; however, it is critical to the assignment that you keep audience focus.



Research Component:

Find out what you don’t know: I recommend three key areas for research: 1) family history, including geographic or personal narrative or an interview, research on your neighborhood or city of origin; 2) career or cultural perspective, such as inquiry into a profession, schooling or a social movement; 3) socio-emotional analysis, which might include a educational overview, upbringing and other important psycho-dynamic event of relevance. Tie each area into research of some form. These can be articles, books, an interview of a family or community member or other documentation that can be integrated into your paper and presented in your Works Cited page.


You must cite and reference 3 of the following sources in addition to your own research as part of qualitative analysis. Remember sources can contrast your life experiences favorable. You don’t have to have experienced trauma to appreciate the quality parenting, for example. Integrate your paper in the larger context of our course and your education: Obama, Wenner, Dweck, Yosso, Perry or Unnatural Causes.


Use proper MLA citations and format throughout your entire paper. Pay attention to grammar, spelling and organization. Edit and revise your work as many times as possible. Always proofread your work before turning it in. Participate in the peer-review process.


Typed Outline:         Tuesday, Nov. 25th          30 points

Use MLA formatting guidelines.

Peer Review:            Tuesday, Dec. 2nd             20 points

            Two typed copies required for Peer Review.

Final Draft:               Tuesday, Dec. 9th               100 points

            Submit your final draft with two peer-reviewed copies.




“Whatever I do is done out of sheer joy; I drop my fruits like a ripe tree. What the general reader or critic makes of them is not my concern. ”          ~Henry Miller


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