I-Search Research


I-Search Introduction and Research – Thursday, 15 October

What is this paper about?

Your research process

The I-search paper is a narrative of sorts, describing your search for answers to your research questions. In this paper, you will use first person (“I”), and will think about what vocabulary, style, and tone work best to support your development of the topic. Ken Macrorie, in his book I-Search lists four parts of the paper (What I Knew, Why I’m Writing This Paper, The Search, and What I Learned), though, as he notes, this is flexible:

Part 1: The introduction (What I Knew and Why I’m Writing the Paper)

In the introduction you will explain three things:

  • Your research question
  • What you know or think you know about the topic
  • Your motivation for finding the answers to your question(s)

The introduction may be more than one paragraph long, depending on how much prior knowledge you have. Decide in which order the content is best presented.

Student Introduction Examples:

Student Example 1:

Religion never really played an influential part in my life. Growing up Christian felt like something that was a chore and was just another phase of my life. Everyone around me- family, friends, teachers- were all Christians, if not that then Catholic. They all attended church and might have gone to catechism, but this little variation was very boring to me. Once I reached high school, there was a little more variation in the different religions and cultures but growing up in a predominately white neighborhood had its toll. I knew little to nothing about the rest of the world and the other people in it. It was not until I started to attend college that I finally saw a fully integrated world. The combination of college, my political views being sorted out, and the realization that I was agnostic helped me decide how I felt about different religions. I am a firm believer that someone is allowed to practice any religion they see fit and that connects to them personally. One thing I am not fond of is when a religious person either tries to push their ideologies on another, or when someone uses their religion to take away the rights of others. In this new global and integrated world, religion is a hot topic in the United States because of all the different ethnicities spread throughout the country. Millions of people can share the same religion just in this one country and there are thousands of religions and variations. This leads to clashes with someones beliefs and who feels they are right and who is wrong. In this country where some may refuse it happens, religious discrimination takes place and it affects many people everyday. Surely, if so many people suffer discrimination, there must be a large consequence. What are the causes and effects of this discrimination in the U.S.? In the news now, major religions are seen butting heads, so what is the largest religion that is discriminated against? (will continue)

Student Example 2:

Picture that you’re eighteen and you’re at your first college party, everyone around you is consuming alcohol. You know the drinking age is twenty-one and you know that the people around you are not of age to be drinking, does knowing this stop them from drinking? Does it stop you from having a drink or two? In most cases, knowing the drinking age is twenty-one doesn’t stop underage people from indulging in alcoholic beverages. In many cases actually, knowing that you are breaking the law makes people drink a lot of alcohol quickly, rather than just sit around and sip on a beer or two, because they don’t want to risk getting caught by having the alcohol around for a long time. My research question is; Should the drinking age be lowered, completely abolished, or left at twenty-one in the United States of America. I chose this as my research question because I am very curious as to why the United States has one of the highest drinking ages in the world. I also think it is very ironic that in the United States you have to be twenty-one  to drink legally, but if you live near the boarder you can go to Mexico to drink at eighteen or Canada to drink at nineteen.

I know that the drinking age in the United States was raised from eighteen to twenty-one in July of 1984. I never really researched this topic, but I am very curious as to why we would raise the drinking age so high when many countries in the world don’t even have a drinking age. Another thing that I already know is that before 1984 the drinking age was left up to the states. At one point, before the drinking age was raised nation wide to twenty-one you could be eighteen and be legal to drink in your own state but if you crossed the boarder into the neighboring state you may no longer be legal. I think it is best that we have a country wide drinking age, but I do not believe that it should be twenty-one. I chose this topic because since I live so close to Windsor, Ontario, I can go to Canada all I want when I am nineteen to add to their alcohol revenue, but I can’t drink legally at my own house where I know I will not be traveling and I am safe. If I go to Canada to drink, that means I will be indulging in alcoholic beverages, which can impair your judgement, in a foreign place that I have not been, and then I will either have to stay the night in a hotel, which adds more money to Canada’s revenue, or have a Designated Driver to take me home, back across the boarder. I don’t think that going to Canada to drink is the safest thing. I would much rather sit at home and enjoy a beer than to travel to a foreign country, this is one of the main reasons that I chose this as my research topic.

Research Tips:

Library Website

Popular vs. Trade vs. Scholarly

Number of sources and types required for the I-Search project:

Three sources minimum

Two can be popular, but must be relevant.

One must be scholarly.

One book (Yes, an actual book–from the actual, physical library).

Search Terms

Evaluating your sources

Using Google Scholar (through the library website–You are paying for it, so you should use it!)

Your Assignment:

Find and locate your sources.

Take notes and map out of how you find each one (Remember, this is what this paper is about!)

Don’t forget to map your process.

Have access to your popular and scholarly articles on Tuesday (Here is where you might post links to them on your blog so you can access them!)

Read your articles.

Think about how you will use them.


22 thoughts on “I-Search Research

  1. What does a job as a computer scientist entail? What kind of careers can be achieved with a masters in computer science? What is the lifestyle like for those employed as computer scientists?


  2. The topic of my I-search essay is, “Is mental stress detrimental to your mind and does it have any acute or chronic effects on your brain? How are the various emotions perceived by the mind linked to it?”


  3. My I-Search question is how can we make cars more environmentally friendly than they already are. Can we make the production of vehicles more efficient and cleaner to the environment? Is it possible to use materials that are biodegradable to the planet we call home?


  4. Questions: How is gender constructed within our society? Why do we show discrimination toward women in particular in things like pricing or advertising of products? How are femininity and masculinity portrayed differently in society’s view because of this?”


  5. My I-search project research question is, “How do concussions affect those people who played a contact sport after their career is over?”. Many people wonder about this and how the solution will turn out.


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