Exploratory Essay Assignment is a way to grabble with multiple views on the
topic for your research project. It tells the story of an “intellectual journey” and promotes
critical and dialectical (meaning: concerned with opposing forces) thinking. Dialectical
thinking is the art or practice of logical discussion as employed in investigating the truth
of an issue or opinion. As you formulate your ideas for the final 3.5-4-page documented
essay, utilize this assignment to brainstorm and research differing and opposing views on
your topic. Exploratory Essay Assignment
Start off with a research question (hypothesis) on your topic. For example, if you
want to claim “that parents are primarily culpable for the obesity epidemic with
our young children,” investigate in the exploratory essay “causes for the obesity
epidemic within the youth population” or what or who else besides parents may
Stay open-minded; resist quick, off-the-top-of-your-head angles; let your thinking
evolve and your own stance grow.
Withhold your claim until you have discovered other viewpoints.
Paragraph #1: In the introduction, discuss why you’re interested in this topic;
establish that this research question is complex and problematic; discuss the
background on your issue.
Paragraph #2: introduce the first viewpoint; add the source (article, book,
database article, etc.); discuss the viewpoint.
o Here you have started finding outside sources for your essay.
o Offer your response to this source; how does it contribute to your
understanding of the issue?
o Can you find an opposing viewpoint? Later it may be helpful with the
counter-argument and rebuttal.
Paragraphs #2, #3: Second or third perspective will repeat the above points;
citing your sources and offering responses.
Paragraph #4: In your conclusion, you may present your own perspective on the
topic. Wrap up this “intellectual journey” and explain your thinking and how
your understanding of your problem has changed, if any. Exploratory Essay Assignment