Research Writing Process

Writing Process

First, you’ll need a photograph of a place you visit frequently, or a place that is meaningful to you. The photo can be professionally done or found online; or, you can take the photo yourself.

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Just as we did in class , you’ll start your “research”–your careful observation–by simply looking closely at the image and writing down observations. Then, start making interpretations based on your observations. At this point in the writing process (pre-writing) try not to think about what evidence or ideas might be “useful” for where you think your essay will go. Instead, gather as many ideas as possible and let them guide the focus of your essay. A great tool for this pre-writing is a Metacognitive Reading Log .

Next, begin to develop your argument and draft your thesis statement. Based on your observations and inferences, determine what point you want to argue about what the image means, or what message it conveys. We’ll get into what “argument” means with later essays. For now, if your essay answers one of these questions, then you will be making an argument: What does the photo say, or what is its argument or message? How does this photo represent your feelings about this place that is important to you, or show what is meaningful or significant about the place?

As you outline and draft your essay, develop main ideas that support the thesis, and make sure to use evidence from your observations to support these ideas. Make sure to develop your essay with effective body paragraphs ; this is where you’ll showcase your observation and inference skills with great details and your interpretation of those details, just as you practiced in the Observation and Inference assignment.


Develop an essay of 750 words or more analyzing a photo of a place that’s important to you. The essay should be an argument, so the thesis statement should answer one of these questions: What does the photo say, or what is its argument or message? How does this photo represent your feelings about this place that is important to you, or show what is meaningful or significant about the place? Support your interpretation (your argument) with evidence. “Evidence” here means specific details from the photo that help support your claims.

You can add your photo to the last page of the document.

Summary of requirements

To be considered for full credit, your essay must demonstrate the following:

· 750 to 1,000 words

· Develop an argument analyzing a photo of a place that’s important to you

· Include evidence (concrete details) from your observations of the photo along with your interpretation of those details.

Audience and Purpose:

Imagine you’re writing for a travel magazine, so your audience will be people who are interested in travel (or at least interested in reading about it). Even if you’re writing about a place as close to home as your backyard, the fact that it’s meaningful to you makes it an intriguing writing subject! Try to sell this idea to your reader. Your purpose, then, is to persuade your reader of the meaningfulness of the place, and perhaps to elicit in the reader the same feelings you have about your place. Think carefully about what details you’ll include in order to achieve those goals (purposes) with this particular audience. A note: Remember not to speak directly to your audience, so avoid using second person pronouns like “you” and “your.” Instead, write with a focus on the photo itself. A vivid argument will be more persuasive, rather than directly telling your reader what to like about the place!

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