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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Louise Spiegler
B CUSP 135
Bothell Campus

Research Writing

Strengthens performance of college-level argumentative writing and scholarly research, critical reading and thinking, and the critique and the creation of print and new media texts. Prerequisite: either B CUSP 101, B CUSP 114, or B CUSP 134. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

In this class we will develop research and composition skills while discovering new and active ways of considering history. History is a wonderfully flexible theme for our class: like the ocean, it contains nearly everything. What floats your boat? Food? Check. Social change? Check. The impact of technology on human experience? Check. Warfare and its intended and unintended consequences? Check. The evolving experience of women? Check. Exploration and exploitation? Adventure? Disaster? Artistic triumphs and defeats? History gives us a chance to see where we’ve come from and where we might go, for all of life and human experience is contained within the vast ocean of our past.

You should become comfortable with a number of higher level academic writing skills such as generating ideas and research questions, analyzing source materials, distinguishing between valuable resources and those of lesser merit, integrating sources, developing a thesis and organizing effective supporting material for it, as well as providing correct and accurate in–text and bibliographical citations. We will be building on the skills you developed and polished in B CUSP 134 – clarity, strong organization, summary, narrative, argumentation, rhetoric, tone and the ever-popular claims and supports.

You will be building skills and conducting research which will enable you to write a two-part project. Part I is the writing of a historical research paper, built upon the research you do in class which enables you to create your historical fiction. Part II is the writing of a piece of historical fiction, addressing a historical event or issue from the point of view of one particular character. These projects are interconnected. This project should allow you to engage with material which is of interest to you and serves a purpose: the historical fiction’s purpose is to bring the research to life, and the research paper’s purpose is to provide strong, persuasive under-girding to the historical fiction.

Student learning goals

To select and continually refine a research topic or problem using appropriate resources.

To develop and support claims with evidence in order to contribute new insights to an existing academic conversation or line of inquiry.

• To use academic library resources to develop research strategies including the ability to identify keywords and perform search queries, To To recognize relevant resources/tools, and collect and evaluate information using a variety of resources

To identify primary and secondary sources and research methods

To plan, organize, and compose a research project that integrates various research into a focused project

To quote, summarize and paraphrase from texts and to produce appropriate documentation of sources

General method of instruction

My teaching method is extremely interactive and learning-focused, so come prepared to offer insight, critique constructively and engage in critical thinking and dialogue. When we learn a skill, expect that we will practice it. You will complete a lot of short writing pieces which will develop a variety of skills, and which will lead step by step to your mastery of research writing.

Recommended preparation

Although our theme is history, I do not expect or require extensive historical knowledge. You will acquire this through research. However, students will need to be able to take responsibility for their own learning by showing up to class regularly, completing work on time and to the best of their ability, observing standards of academic integrity and making positive contributions to our interactive classroom environment.

Class assignments and grading

Read all Assigned Texts & Hand in Reading Responses • Participate in Peer Review & Required Student-Teacher Conferences • Research Proposal Extensive Academic Research • Prospectus • Bibliography and Annotated Bibliography • Preliminary Drafts of Final Project Papers • Revisions • Final Creative Project • Final Research Project

Your grades on the final projects (research paper / creative historical fiction project) will count as 50% of your grade.

All other class work, as well as class participation, peer review sessions and required conferences will count as the other 50%.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Louise Spiegler
Date: 10/14/2012