Initiation to Research & Advanced Writing

Course Syllabus – Advanced Writing & Initiation to Research


Time: Weekly (3 hours: 16 Ws.)

Professor: Abdeslam Badre


Course Overview


The goals of this course are twofold. First, it gives students advanced instruction and practice in writing and reading essays within an academic discipline and make students aware of how disciplinary conventions and rhetorical situations call for different choices in language, structure, format, tone, citation, and documentation. Students conduct investigations into writing and reading conventions in their fields and receive advanced instruction in planning, drafting, arranging, revising, and editing discipline-specific essays. Second, students will learn all of the steps to writing a research paper. You will learn how to choose topics, where to do your research, and how to plan the research paper. You will also master your understanding of using sources and avoiding plagiarism.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Write clear and effective prose in several forms, using conventions appropriate to audience (including academic audiences), purpose, and genre.
  2. Find, analyze, evaluate, and cite pertinent primary and secondary sources, including academic databases, to prepare written texts.
  3. Identify, analyze, and evaluate statements, assumptions, and conclusions representing diverse points of view, and construct informed, sustained, and ethical arguments in response.
  4. Plan, organize, revise, practice, edit, and proofread to improve the development and clarity of ideas.
  5. Distinguish among various kinds of evidence by identifying reliable sources and valid arguments.


83 Alexander Street
Crows Nest NSW 2065

Course Requirements


To ensure inclusive, fair, and continuous assessments of students’ progress and class performance, continuous assessment through various means will be applied, as shown below:


Assignments, Attendance & Participation 

You will write several assignments that build a foundation for your final 3000+ word argumentative essay. Those assignments are listed below. Additionally, students will write frequent response or informal writings and will conduct a rhetorical analysis of the professional scholarship in their discipline. Reading assignments must be completed on time so that students can engage constructively in class discussion. There may be quizzes on the reading assignments.

Summaries: To read actively and identify the main points of selected scholarly sources (articles, chapters of books, entire books, or credible electronic/web sources); to summarize the sources concisely; to write a correct bibliographic entry for each source. The summaries will be due on different dates, not all at once. You will write three of them: The first will be for a source read by the entire class. The second and third will be on sources that are related to a debatable topic in your discipline.

Proposal + Annotated Bibliography: The purpose of this essay proposal plus annotated bibliography is to propose a topic, research question(s), focus, and tentative annotated bibliography of source material that will guide you as you draft and revise your researched argumentative essay. The annotated bibliography section of this assignment will identify and annotate (summarize) a sufficient number of credible scholarly and professional sources (articles, books, and occasional government documents or credible websites) that will provide a context and background for your research related to a current effort/issue in or related to your major/discipline/future profession. This assignment will facilitate your final researched argument essay for this course.

Synthesis Essay/Literature Review: The purpose of this assignment is to synthesize various sources about a specific debatable issue related to the subject of your larger argumentative essay (written in the second half of the semester). The broad purpose of a literature review, or synthesis essay is to identify trends and commonalities in a body of literature (journal articles, books, and other scholarship) on a particular subject. Synthesis essays usually survey a large number of scholarly texts—fifty, a hundred, or more. In this synthesis essay, you will survey a much smaller sample.

Researched Argument Essay: The purpose of this assignment is to advance an argument, evidenced by credible, current, relevant scholarly research, about a topic relevant to your major/discipline/future profession. This is a standard research-based academic argument.

Presentations: You are required to deliver one presentation (about 10 to 15 minutes long) on one of the chapter from the assigned course textbook. Each student will be assigned a chapter from the textbook during the first week of the semester.


  • Important Note: Absences will not be tolerated. If a student has a medical, legal or otherwise valid excuse for missing class (the validity of the excuse is at the discretion of the instructor), then this student is not excused for the homework due during the missed period, and must turn it in when they come back. Students are also responsible for material covered in class while they are away. THREE UNEXCUSED ABSENCES will result in an Attendance & Participation grade of “0” (30% of your evaluation!).


Final Exam:

There will be a session final exam that comprises all parts covered during the whole semester. Students will be notified about the date and format of the midterm exam ahead of time. Additionally, each student is required to submit between 5 to 7 page essay typed (double spaced) on one of the topics provided. Papers and exams are due on the dates announced in class or indicated below. Unless discussed with me IN ADVANCE.

Classroom Policy


Each student must fulfill the following requirements of the course:


  • Spend at least 3 hours per week on self-study. Self-study includes all assignments given by the instructor.
  • Conduct Internet and library research, review class notes and handouts, study the textbook, and perform all other activities as requested.
  • Please deactivate your cell phones before class and keep them off during class time. No phone calls and no text messaging are allowed during class. If cell phone use becomes a distraction in class the offending student will be penalized.
  •  Laptops are only allowed when needed for occasional class work. However, when that happens, be informed that e-mail check and web-surf are strictly prohibited
  • You are responsible of bringing all the necessary text-book materials. Students without textbook will not be allowed to the class.
  • Tardiness: Late arrivals are a distraction and interfere with the learning that is taking place in the class as a whole. Students who are more than ten minutes late for class will be counted as absent for that class.


Useful Links & References



  • For grammar reference and self-corrected exercises, irregular verbs, tenses:
  • Highly recommended. Wide selection of grammar exercises:
  • A comprehensive selection of grammar exercises from the University of Victoria, Canada. Check out the home page for some reading exercises, too:
  • A wide range of grammar quizzes at different levels. Includes some vocabulary and phrasal verbs practice.
  • ESL Blues offers interactive grammar exercises for elementary and intermediate students as well as explanations of common errors:
  • Grammar rules and exercises:



Week 1: Introduction to the course + Syllabus

Week2: Course diagnostic Essay

Week 3: Essay Structure/ Paragraph Development & Unity

Week 4: Essay Form, Unity & Coherence

Week 5:  Chronological Order & Process Essays

Week 6 : Supporting Details: Facts, Quotations and Statistics

Week 7 : Cause/Effect Essays

Week 8:  Comparison/ Contrast Essays

Week 9:  Definition/Classification and Expository Essays

Week 10:  Argumentative/Persuasive/Analytic Essays

Week 11: Paraphrase & Summary: How to avoid Plagiarism

Week 12: Process of Academic Writing (Pre-writing/Planning/ Writing/Polishing)

Week 13: Writing Process (Parallelism/Clauses/Fragments…)

Week 14: Punctuation Rules/Connecting Words/Transition Signals

Week 15: Academic Writing: Sample essays analysis

Week 16: Final Exams