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ESL 25 (Leath) Immigration: Home



  • The ESL 25 research project is a chance to develop research skills to investigate a controversial issue, choose a position on that issue, and use documented evidence to support your position in an argument essay.  In order to do this, you will create three annotated bibliography entries from three separate sources (one reference source, one magazine/newspaper source, and one website source) and then write a documented research essay using the information and evidence you have accumulated. 
  • For each annotated bibliography entry, you will answer analytical questions and find quotations that could support your argument or an opposing view’s argument. When you have finished all of your entries, you will use the evidence you have gathered to argue your thesis in a research essay. This is very important:  the purpose of your research is not simply to explain something; you have to argue, or try to prove something. 
  • Your essay will be an argument/opinion essay.  You should include at least one Opposing View/Rebuttal Paragraph, but you can also include paragraphs that support only your view (without an Opposing View).  When you write your essay, you will give credit to each source with parenthetical documentation in the text and a Works Cited page at the end.

Student Learning Outcomes:  On completion of this assignment, you will be able to:

  • choose and narrow a topic
  • write a research question and working thesis
  • use the library and academic sources of information on your topic
  • prepare a correct Works Cited page using MLA style
  • evaluate, analyze, quote and paraphrase from three sources on your topic
  • report your conclusions in a documented research essay that proves your point
  • use varied and accurate language in your writing


I.  Annotated Bibliography Entries

Your three annotated bibliography entries will include your thesis statement, answers to a question about the author’s purpose, examples of evidence that you have identified in your source, and your Works Cited page. See the Annotated Bibliography Entry Guidelines below.

II.  Research Essay (750-1000 words)

Your essay should include:

 An introduction that creates interest in your topic and leads to a clear thesis statement that argues for a position on a controversial question.

  1. Three or four body paragraphs with clear topic sentences that advance the argument of your thesis. The body paragraphs should be developed with evidence from your sources, including both paraphrase and quotation, correctly cited.
  2. A conclusion that restates your main points and perhaps adds a fresh perspective.

4.   A Works Cited page with correct citations.

III.  The Complete Research Project

When you turn in your complete research project at the end of the semester, clip everything together or put it in a folder.  It should include our annotated bibliography entry for each source (3 sources) with photocopies of each source and your Research Essay including in-text MLA citations and a Works Cited page.



The schedule below should help you manage your time on this assignment.

Begin Background Reading                               April 3 

Choosing Topic/Finding Sources Presentation    April 3 (don’t miss class)

Topic and Research Question                            April 3-8

Thesis                                                              April 8

Specialized Encyclopedia Article Entry             April 10

Noodletools Workshop                                        TBD

Website Entry                                                   April 17

Database Article Entry                                      April 22

Research Essay Outline and Works Cited           April 29

Research Essay Rough Draft                             May 6

Complete Research Project Due:                        May 13


  1. 3 Annotated Bibliographies
  2. Outline and rough draft of research essay
  3. Final draft of research essay, including citations and a Works Cited page





Topic, Research Question, Thesis


Three Annotated Bibliography Entries

 300 (100 each)

Research Essay (-10% if no first draft/peer review)






Getting Started

The Research Process

Read Some Sources →Choose a General Topic →Read More Sources →Narrow Your Topic → Read More Sources →Identify a Specific Controversial Issue →Read More Sources →Identify a Research Question→Read More Sources →Identify a Thesis→Read More Sources→Complete Annotated Bibliography Entries →Read More Sources →Write the Research Essay


Choosing a Topic, Narrowing It, and Creating a Research Question

  • As we finish The Devil’s Highway, begin to think of immigration-related topics that you find interesting and that are controversial in some way (meaning that there are some differing views or opinions on the topic). 
  • The Opposing Viewpoints database is an excellent place to identify a possible topic.

Finding Sources and Gathering Information

  • As you look for information, you will need a minimum of three sources (one reference source, one magazine/newspaper source, one website source, and one additional optional source of your choice. 
  • There are two ways to go about finding information for your research:

        I. Using Opposing Viewpoints

The easiest way to find sources for your research is to begin at the appropriate Opposing Viewpoints in Context page for your “issue.”  Here you can find:

  1. The general background article to use as your reference source (and first Annotated Bibliography Entry)
  2. A magazine or newspaper article to use as your second source (and second Annotated Bibliography Entry)
  3. A website to use as your third source (and third Annotated Bibliography Entry)
  4. Any other sources to use as additional sources (optional)

II. Using Other LPC Library Resources

You may not find enough (or good enough) sources using only Opposing Viewpoints.  If you do not find sufficient sources using Opposing Viewpoints, you can use other library resources to find your sources:

  1. Credo Reference or the Gale Virtual Reference Library are good databases to find your reference source.
  2. Academic Search Ultimate, America: History & Life, Ethnic NewsWatch, MasterFile Complete, and US Major Dailies are good databases to find magazine/newspaper articles.
  3. Google searching can help you find website sources.

Research Question

The research question is the question you are wondering about…the question that you hope your thesis will answer.  Here are some example research questions:

  1. Should international adoptions be restricted?
  2. What is the best way to limit antisemitism?
  3. Is bilingual education the most effective way to educate immigrants?
  4. What can be done to stop or control child labor?
  5. Would stricter immigration laws limit drug trafficking?
  6. Do “free trade” agreements help or hurt developing countries?
  7. Does gentrification help or hurt immigrant communities and should it be controlled?


As you gather sources, use your research question to form a thesis.  It is your best guess answer to your research question, and is a complete sentence that states the argument you hope to make in your research essay. You may modify your thesis as your research progresses; however, hopefully you will not choose a thesis until you know that can be supported by the evidence.   Here are some example (partial) theses from the research questions above:

  1. International adoptions should be restricted because…
  2. Educational outreach is the best way to limit antisemitism.
  3. Bilingual education is an effective way to educate immigrants because…
  4. Strict international laws are needed to end child labor.
  5. Stricter immigration laws are not an effective way to limit drug trafficking because…
  6. Free trade agreements tend to hurt developing countries because…
  7. Gentrification hurts immigrant communities in the following ways…

Subject Guide