Assignment 1 – Research Questions, Thesis Statement, and Rhetorical Analysis

Assignment 1 – Research Questions, Thesis Statement, and Rhetorical Analysis


The purpose of this assignment is to try to help you to see writing as it is—an important means of communication. To accomplish this, please analyze your research topic more fully by identifying your research questions and thesis statement and then carefully considering your rhetorical situation.   Remember: your challenge in the research paper is to communicate your purpose clearly to your reader.

Place your research questions and thesis statement at the top of the page, below the required heading, and answer the questions shown below. Be sure that the questions are copied to your assignment; each question should be followed by a one to two paragraph answer. The purpose of this assignment is to help direct your research and organize your thinking on the topic.   Remember that your thesis statement should be a single, complete sentence that is NOT a question.

Write three of your research questions here (remember that, if the question can be answered by YES or NO, it is a closed-ended question that does not invite discussion and so should be revised):

Question 1.

Question 2.

Question 3.

Write your thesis statement here (one complete sentence that is not a question):


Write paragraphs that respond to the questions below:

  1. What is my purpose in writing this paper?
  2. What do I already know about my topic?  What are my feelings toward this topic?
  3. What do my readers already know? What are my readers’ feelings toward the topic?
  4. What do my readers need to know to understand my point?
  5. What information do I need to research and add to my paper?

Begin by looking at the research question(s) which triggered this thesis statement.  Then explain your purpose (passing the course is not the purpose here). Your thesis statement is a good place to start, but you need to go a bit further. Are you trying to inform, entertain, persuade, or do something else?  Consider the “audience take-away.” What do you want your readers to know, feel, or believe when they finish reading your research paper? A clear understanding of your purpose will help you decide what information to include in your paper and how to organize your paper.

Next, consider your audience; in this case, your audience is your classmates. Consider how much they know about your topic and what they need to know to understand your purpose. Will you need to explain complex terminology? Will graphs help your audience? If your topic is a controversial one, think about the best way to present it to your audience. For example, think about your tone and word choice here.

Once you have an understanding of your purpose and audience, consider your subject. How much information do you already know about the topic? What information do you need to research and present to your audience in order to fulfill your purpose? Careful consideration here will help direct your research.

Here is a FAQ and answer from the APUS Library that may help you:

What is the difference between a thesis statement and a research question?

You are encouraged to review the rubric for grading criteria. COLL Thesis Statement and Rhetorical Analysis

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