Texts in Conversation Assignment

Overview: The Texts in Conversation (TIC) assignment sets the stage for the Research-Based Argument, helping students to develop a focus for their PWR research project and to move toward crafting their own source-based argument.  Students choose a research topic for their TiC that they will carry forward into their RBA.  The Texts in Conversation assignment asks students to put texts related to their topic in dialogue with each other, incorporating different perspectives on key issues.  Students examine how different writers define and frame these issues and scrutinize where the writers connect and where they conflict.  In this way, the TiC assignment offers a way for students to develop their understanding of the research focus, setting a foundation for their work in the RBA assignment.

Length: 1800-2400 words; 6-8 pages. 

Sources: Students should engage purposefully with 4-6 sources but may have a bibliography that includes a limited number of additional sources.

Student Learning Objectives:

  • Students will understand how research can be seen as a conversation and recognize the value of engaging with multiple perspectives in developing a research approach and question
  • Students will learn to select and develop a viable research topic that will give rise to a research question that is answerable in terms of their resources and timeframe
  • Students will develop an understanding of how that topic is currently understood, including identifying stakeholders, both social and intellectual, related to the issue or research question
  • Students will practice using effective search and evaluation methods as an integral part of academic research, particularly developing familiarity with Stanford’s library resources
  • Students will practice ways to represent the relationship between different perspectives on an issue, ethically, accurately, and gracefully
  • Students will explore pre-writing, drafting, rethinking based on feedback, and revising as part of the writing process

See examples of TiC assignments sheets

See examples of activities to scaffold the TiC

See examples of TIC essays