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Writing Guide with Handbook

13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log

Writing Guide with Handbook13.4 Annotated Student Sample: Research Log

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to inquire, learn, think critically, and communicate when reading in varying rhetorical and cultural contexts.
  • Identify and analyze relationships between ideas, patterns of organization, and interplay between verbal and nonverbal elements in written texts.
  • Practice and apply strategies such as interpretation, synthesis, response, and critique to compose texts that integrate the writer’s ideas with those from appropriate sources.


Lily Tran created this log entry during the research process for an argumentative research paper assigned in her first-year composition class, as shown in this Annotated Student Sample.

Living by Their Own Words

Planning to Write

A National Guard soldier at the Glendale, Arizona Food Bank pushes a grocery cart filled with supplies.
Figure 13.7 National Guard soldiers at the Glendale, Arizona, food bank, 2021 (credit: “U.S. Air National Guard” by Tech. Sgt. Michael Matkin/flickr, CC BY 2.0)

public domain textFreewrite: I found this photograph in an article I was reading about food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. I copied and pasted it here as inspiration for my argumentative research paper.end public domain text

annotated textLily Tran includes a visual in the freewrite section of her research log. The visual may or may not appear in the final paper, but here, it serves to stimulate her writing and thinking about her topic and possibly connect to other information she finds.end annotated text

public domain textFor a sustainable future, food production and processing have to change. So does global distribution.end public domain text

annotated textTran begins to establish problem-and-solution reasoning, recognizing that there are different stages to food production and that all will be affected by any proposed solution.end annotated text

public domain textThe necessary changes will affect nearly all aspects of life, including world hunger, health and welfare, use of land resources, habitats, water, energy use and production, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, and economics, as well as cultural and social values.end public domain text

annotated textTran also employs cause-and-effect reasoning in beginning to think about the effects of any proposed change.end annotated text

public domain textThese needed changes may not be popular, but people will have to accept them.end public domain text

annotated textShe recognizes potential counterarguments to address if the paper is to be persuasive. end annotated text

Information Connection to Thesis/Main Points Notes/Cross-References/Synthesis

Date: 12/07/2020

Their report states, “If society continues on a ‘business-as-usual’ dietary trajectory, a 119% increase in edible crops grown will be required by 2050” (Berners-Lee).

Shows why a solution to food sustainability is needed

Create a concrete example to support this statistic. For example, if Farmer Joe grows . . .

Tie to the explanation of the problem for which I’m proposing a solution.

annotated textTran cites and quotes an alarming statistic from a secondary source.end annotated text

annotated textShe makes a connection to her thesis.end annotated text

annotated textShe anticipates that not all readers will respond to the statistic alone. To counteract this possibility, she may decide to create an original anecdotal example.end annotated text


annotated textTran then connects the information to the text structure: problem/solution.end annotated text

Source/Citation: Berners-Lee, M., et al. “Current Global Food Production Is Sufficient to Meet Human Nutritional Needs in 2050 Provided There Is Radical Societal Adaptation.” Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene, vol. 6, 2018, Accessed 7 Dec. 2020.

annotated textTran uses MLA 8th edition style guidelines to create this citation for her log entry. She includes all information needed for citing the entry in the works cited list for her paper.end annotated text

Table 13.3 Research log entry

Discussion Questions

1 .
If Lily Tran were to use the photo, what information or questions might she enter in the right-hand column of her research log?
2 .
Why do you think Tran has chosen a direct quotation instead of a summary or paraphrase?
3 .
Why is the information in the center column important to include in a research log?
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