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Writing Exercise I: Exploratory Investigation (Essay Sample)


Purpose and Description

Your objective in this assignment will be to begin familiarizing yourself with the processes of research and topic development through an exploratory Internet search. Some of you may already be familiar with your topic in a general sense; some you may even know a great deal about it. The main goal of academic inquiry, however, is not typically to reinforce what we already know or believe—it is to explore and learn from different perspectives, make discoveries, enter into a conversation of ideas, and, ultimately, contribute to the process of building new knowledge. With these foci in mind, please consider the following guidelines as you complete the assignment.

Invention & Inquiry

Consider the following as you develop your paper:

  • Start with a focused question to guide your search;
  • Research your question using a common Internet search engine (e.g., Google);
  • Identify and use at least three different genres for gathering information. (This might be news articles, blog posts, etc. One must be a scholarly essay.)
  • Take notes as you examine the various resources you find, with particular emphasis on elements of the rhetorical situation (e.g., authors, audiences, purposes, genres, contexts);
  • Identify common points of debate and/or argument based on the notes you have taken. Who is making the arguments? What problems are being discussed? What forums are people using to make and communicate their arguments? What seems to be the most pressing issues based on the information you have gathered?

The Composing Process

Even a relatively straightforward Internet search is likely to return more information than you can reasonably make use of in a single paper. Your aim in composing this paper, then, will be to distill your research findings into a few manageable points of discussion that you can communicate to your audience. Consider the following as you draft your paper:

  • Compose a paragraph that introduces your audience to the topic of your research;
  • Compose 2-3 paragraphs that identify key foci you have discovered through your research (e.g., common problems and debates, who seems to be making arguments, the consequences of adopting one point of view over another, etc.);
  • Compose a paragraph in which you identify possible issues you could imagine researching based on your exploratory investigation. Your aim here should be to focus your inquiry and develop a clear sense of how you might develop a viable research project.

Specific Requirements

Your paper should:

  • Identify general issues related to your chosen topic;
  • Start narrowing your own particular research focus;
  • Include a title that reflects the spirit and scope of the assignment;
  • Be 1-2 pages in length (single-spaced, one-inch margins, 12 point Garamond typeface);
  • Be uploaded to Canvas as a Word document by September 6 at 11:59 PM.

The spirit of this assignment is to help you initiate a semester-long inquiry and give me, your teacher, an opportunity to learn something about you as a writer and researcher. So, do your best to respond to the assignment with the idea that we are starting a productive conversation that we can carry out over the coming months. Please write or stop by my office (or both) if you have questions about this assignment or anything else related to the course.


Writing Exercise I: Exploratory Investigation
There have been increased concerns that hate crimes are a bigger problem more than ever before, but the urge to regulate the internet would unlikely address the issue completely. There are various laws on stalking, and online abuse, but further regulations would limit what people say to the extent that anyone offended would say what another individual or group of people said is hate speech. In any case, the internet service providers and social media networks have mechanisms that allow users to report questionable content. Among the EU countries, there are more limits on speech than in the US where hate speech and incitement to violence are considered crime (Eddy and Breeden). Internet regulation to deal with hate speech may do more harm and controlling what people say and write regardless of whether it results in hateful content, discrimination and violence.
While hate and discrimination pose a danger to people, calls for internet regulation would likely be so broad based such that merely being associated with certain groups would warrant sanctions. Furthermore, this would infringe on the rights of people to exercise their rights, and internet service providers restrict access to information based on their self-interests (Tusikov and Haggart). Regulations and restrictions of internet activities would limit what people say, with platforms and websites being censored. Thus, it is likely that aim to deal with discrimination and hate online may simply be a pretext to control the internet, access to information and freedom of expression. As the laws would mostly target the internet platforms or technologies, the burden is on them to try and control what the online users post, create and share.
Supporters of regulating the internet hate speech focus on the need to

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