Conclusive Rationaleexploratory Essays Explorato

Conclusive Rationaleexploratory Essays Explorato

Essay 1: Exploratory/Inquiry Essay

[3 pages]

Assignment Objectives

Students’ essays should 1) express a question or problem about a specific topic; 2) present relevant information from a source they identify; and 3) analyze the contributions of their identified source toward an answer or solution (though this need not be conclusive).


Exploratory essays pose questions or problems. Identifying articles, essays, books, film or television, or visual artwork that contribute information that may ultimately provide answers or solutions is a key part of the preparatory process for researched writing. Although the findings from a single source will rarely be conclusive, you will have engaged in this assignment in inquiry about a topic and have pulled together relevant information that can be shared with an appropriate audience.


Write an essay that presents your chosen question or problem along with an artifact (article, essay, book, etc.) that speaks to this topic. In doing so, consider the significance of your chosen artifact, how it achieves its effects, what message(s) its author may be communicating, and any comparisons you can draw from this source. [You will select one of the articles discussing the American Dream that we have read and annotated thus far in the course.]

Suggestion for Process

  1. Read and annotate the article.
  2. Identify a problem or question that arises from the author’s ideas on the American Dream.
  3. Write a two level outline for a 3 page paper exploring this problem or question.

Rhetorical Situation

The audience for this paper is someone who has lived in the United States and has some familiarity with the concept of the American Dream. Your purpose is to explore and interact with the issues and ideas of one author on the subject of the American Dream. This is an academic exercise and Standard American English should be used as well as MLA format. Academic writing should not use second person pronouns and only use first person when the rhetorical situation is personal. This paper is not personal in nature; therefore, first person pronouns should also not be used.

Do I need a works cited page?

Because you will be quoting, paraphrase, and summarizing from a source, you will need to parenthetically cite it when you use it in your essay and include an MLA works cited page with an entry for source.