Empathy Portfolio Research Paper Assignment
Learning how to find good, useful sources is a critical part of writing successful college-level
papers. Research papers ask you about the history of a subject, yes, but they also ask you to think
about how people are writing & thinking about that topic. They establish your credibility as a
writer & give you the opportunity to present what you have discovered about a topic
Then you make the argument that this is how we should consider the overall story of that topic.
You will be writing 5 pages. The paper must describe what you think people should know about
your chosen group that could help people have more empathy for them.
● You need to have at least 6 sources for this paper. 3 of them should be scholarly,
peer-reviewed sources, meaning a book, or an article in an academic journal, a
newspaper op-ed, etc. The other three should be from the community or the group
you have chosen, what we would call a primary source or an exhibit source. That way,
you know that you are accurately representing what the group is saying about themselves,
not just what others are saying about the group.
● This will need to have an MLA-style Works Cited page at the end of the paper, which
does not count towards the page count. Be sure to include MLA in-text citations when
you use a quote, or when you paraphrase an idea or fact from a source. When in doubt,
cite it. I would much rather tell you that you don’t have to cite something than that you
really should have.
● As you present the story of your group, consider how to tell that story in a way that
also considers how or why people typically do or do not have empathy for that
group. Think about how the group talks about themselves, how scholars or people
outside of that community talk about its members, and whether either are fair
representations of them.
● Synthesize & analyze your sources. If you find a lot of message board posts, synthesize
them into general statements instead of considering each of them on their own, unless one
is a great example of a typical post. If you have a long, in-depth academic source, break
down the source’s argument, or focus on a particular passage that really encapsulates
● Look back often to your research proposal, annotated bibliography from the
research memo. Remind yourself how you said you would use each source in your
paper. If you decide to change how you use it, make sure the paper’s argument justifies
the new way you will use it (as a source of facts, to analyze specific language inside or
outside your community, etc).