Choosing a Topic
For our final project for the class, you will be asked to select a subculture that you have currently chosen to be a part of or one that you will choose to connect yourself to and to investigate this subculture in a larger research paper called an autoethnography.
For this immediate assignment, I would like you to identify two subcultures that you are currently a part of and that you would find interesting to research. For each of the subcultures you identify, I would like you to give a brief description (three to four lines or more if necessary) that gives an overview of what the subculture is and your position in the subculture (how long you’ve been a part of it and how you feel about it).
From these two options, you will be choosing a topic for your final research paper. We will be sharing these ideas with the entire class. Please be as specific as possible. Your topics must fulfill the following criteria:
You must be able to do background and preliminary research on your topics. In other words, written and visual material must be readily available for analysis.
Topics must be local and accessible.
There must be a place, field site, or event space for the topic that you will be able to visit at least twice during the semester.
There must be at least two people you can interview who have different roles relevant to the topic.
Topics must be new and cannot overlap with research topics in any other course work.
The purpose of the interview is to help you gain insight into the perspective of another member of your subculture. This can be valuable on a number of levels and for a number of reasons. It can help you understand the subculture more as an outsider, offer additional information you can use to examine your own positionality, and provide interesting narrative content for the final project.
As you plan for your interview, consider what information you would like to get out of the interview, and write out your questions accordingly.
For this assignment, write up a minimum of ten questions you plan to ask your interviewee. Make sure the questions are in an order that is logical. This will allow you to know what you intend to get out of an interview and enable you to adapt when an interviewee inadvertently answers more than one question at a time or shares information you would like to ask about in greater depth.
Make sure you ask leading questions rather than questions that can be answered with one-word responses. It is helpful to incorporate phrases such as these into your interview questions: “Tell me a story about the time…”; “Can you explain in detail when…”; “Describe your favorite memory about . . “; “At length, describe….”
This kind of questioning will help your interviewee to feel comfortable and willing to share more information about which you can then ask follow-up questions.
Interviews can be conducted in various ways: through online chats, via telephone or in person. Each method has its own plusses and minuses, so be aware that they will yield different products.
In-person interviews are usually the most productive in that they allow you to take notes on the interviewee’s manner, dress and composure in addition to getting your verbal answers. The benefit on online interviews conducted in writing is that they are already written up for you, and the task of writing up in-person interviews is time-consuming. You will miss out on observation details, however, in any form that is not face-to-face.
Please bring to class at least one set of questions with a brief description of whom you will be interviewing, what you already know about that person and what you would like to learn from her or him. Ultimately, you will be picking two people to interview and writing questions for each interview.
When we engage in autoethnographic writing, it is important to try to re-create the spaces we are visiting—in other words, to explore the field sites where we are spending our time.
As part of our larger assignment, you need to identify a field site that will be relevant for your subculture. This can be a location where it meets, a place where history, event or memory is held.
For this assignment, I want you to walk into a space or event related to your subculture and spend at least twenty minutes there. You will be engaging in a stream-of-consciousness freewrite, making notes on everything you experience with your five senses. As in earlier assignments, I will then ask you to create a narrative from the details you have noted.
Rely on all five of your senses to convey not just what the space looks like but what it feels like. Sight, smell, touch, sight, sound are all important to consider as we try to re-create an environment we are experiencing for an outsider. Do not edit! Just write for the entire twenty minutes in the space without picking up your pen or pencil or relinquishing your keyboard, and see what you come up with!
As you did with earlier assignments, you should write the narrative version of your notes as close to the time of observation as possible.
Putting It All Together
When trying to incorporate your research into a final paper, it is important to realize that you will not be using all of it. As in our essays earlier in the semester, you will be drawing on important pieces of it to make your larger arguments (parts of the observation, pieces of the interview, etc.). You should not try to use all of the information you gathered in the final paper. Any kind of personal and qualitative writing is about making choices and creating narratives and subtext while maintaining your own voice as a participant-observer.
The most important thing to do is to find common threads in your research, identify your main themes and use the information you have gathered, combined with your own narrative understanding or experience, to create your final piece.
Your final paper will end up being roughly six to ten pages long, given the amount of data you have collected. It is important to ask questions as you go through this final drafting process, so please feel free to contact me at any point about concerns and ideas.
When transcribing interviews, please include only your questions and the full responses that will appear as quotes or paraphrases in your final paper. Since transcribing is time-consuming, this will be the most efficient use of your time. I ask you to attach these documents as well as the observations you completed to the final paper.
You will be asked to present your findings and read a brief piece of your project on the last day of class.
These essays went through multiple drafts at each point. Observations, interviews, and the final draft were all peer and instructor reviewed.
Adriana explores Anarchism in New York.
Tyana explores the group Student Activists Ending Dating Abuse (SAEDA).
Hannah explores the world of computer programmers.
Heather explores the world of Bronies.
Jillian explores modern artistic taxidermy.
Emma explores a religious institution for the first time.
William explores the world of Manhattan Drag.
Joomi explores National Novel Writing Month.
Justine explores the world of Manhattan-based metal band Steel Paradise.
Neziah Doe explores science culture on YouTube.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “If you would convince a man that he does wrong, do right. However, do not care to convince him. Men will believe what they see. Let them see.” In terms of academic writing, this phrase means being able to draw visual images with the help of words. What is an illustration essay? An illustration essay is what best describes a paper written to create a picture in the reader’s mind and deliver the target message more effectively. In this article, we will discuss the meaning, topic, and several examples of the illustration essay.
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Illustration Essay Definition & Usage
A student may ask, “What is an illustration essay”? It is a logical question. This genre of writing is rare compared to argumentative, persuasive, compare & contrast, or narrative papers. Illustration essay interprets specific situation/person/object by providing certain examples and different details to let the reader understand the selected topic broader. To understand different types of academic essays better, you may like the website full of free essay examples.
Here is the list of illustrative essay examples. Choose the topic without conducting research!
- Use specific sports terms to illustrate how to swim a stroke in Olympic swimming, dive, or demonstrate other abilities in the water.
- Explain how dancing/acting on the stage is different from the high school cheerleading; what is a higher art?
- Discuss why a sports team of your preference (basketball, football) is underrated; why the soccer team you dislike is overrated.
- Illustrate the stages a college applicant should take in writing a winning college entrance essay to join the target educational institution.
- Share how you managed to survive your first year in college with your readers by writing several effective tips from your experience.
- Explain how you used to flirt with the opposite gender correctly to avoid being a part of the “friendship zone.”
Work & Career
- Show the way professional scientists conduct research by describing every required step in details.
- Explain what an HR manager does; write down several examples from your personal interaction with the representatives of this profession.
- Illustrate what a chief from the prestigious restaurant downtown does to cook the dish of the day (e.g., a deer).
- List & explain the features of a good business writing (e.g., make a list of the winning professional terms/keywords, which helped you to pass a job interview).
- Write about the city, which used to survive some natural disaster (an earthquake, tsunami, tornado, hurricane, etc).
- The topic on how society can support children who became the victims of school bullying/hate crimes/home violence.
How to Write an Illustration Essay
Writing an essay is made of five basic steps. Before writing your paper, decide on the most effective title.
Step 1: Identify the object of your writing (a.k.a. the main illustrative essay topic) and write a powerful thesis statement, which will impress both the teacher and entire reading audience. Help your reader to understand your topic ahead. Pick minimum three keywords/points to explain why you believe/deny the specific idea - this sentence is your thesis statement.
Example: “Gender stereotypes exist in the professional world. Many business companies prefer having men as their CEOs.”
Step 2: You are almost done with your introduction paragraph. Keep on writing what you are going to share with the reader, and provide reasons for choosing a particular topic. Start the first paragraph with the hooking sentence. Several types of the hooks exist to consider: direct quote, poetry line, metaphor, simile, joke, fact, etc. This technique will grab the reader’s attention from the first line of the essay. [Learn here how to write an analytical essay]
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Step 3: Your illustration essay should be supported by the good outline (an essay outline serves as the action plan for your writing from cover to cover). Keep on writing a paragraph supporting each reason why you chose a specific essay topic until you get three good reasons.
Example: “Last time I attended a job interview, I have lost my place to Mr. Green, and the only ‘good’ reason the local HR told me is he believes women do not possess powerful marketing ideas to help their company”.
Step 4: It is the easiest step in the essay writing. The writer must list three points explaining why he chose the specific illustration topic/example at the beginning of each sentence, and then support it with the meaningful evidence retrieved from the research.
Step 5: After writing a conclusion, a professional writer would like to double-check the entire essay for the following mistakes:
- Grammar & spelling
- Plagiarism & other small issues
Even if you know how to write an illustration essay perfectly, do not ignore the stage of proofreading & editing, or hire professional online editors to check your final paper.
Types of Examples You May Use to Support an Illustration Essay Thesis
To answer, “what is an illustration essay,” the student must realize the importance of examples taken from personal experience. You should support an illustration essay with the vivid examples from your personal experience. Use several good methods to get inspired: personal observation, interviews, experience, & media.
A personal observation requires observing different locations related to your chosen topic. Do not forget to take notes explaining your impressions through five human senses.
An interview means having a face-to-face conversation with people who are experts in the fields connected with your topic. These people can share exciting examples so that your writing will stand out from the rest of the papers. Conduct a research to prepare a list of related questions before contacting the people of your interest.
Recall your personal experience to include in your writing. Personal memories are a good source of ideas you can share with the readers to support the main argument. Research & look at some images to jog your memory. Write every topic detail you remember from your personal life experience; do not forget to include sensory expressions & comments from other people. Let the adjectives and adverbs help you with your writing.
Media is one of the most useful sources of ideas & examples in the modern world. Spend some time on social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram) where people of all types share their experience by writing meaningful posts or publishing interesting videos. Pick the best topic examples for your illustration essay from the following sources:
We hope that after reading the article from the market specialists, you understand the answer to the questions like, “What does illustrate mean in an essay?” If you want more illustration essay examples, help with the research, or good points to catch the reader’s eye, we have a solution. Just make an order! Go to the official academic writing service’s website to get the top-notch papers at affordable prices!
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