Essay 2: The Personal Investigative "Hybrid" Essay ("Investigative Familiar")


Length: 7-8 pg., double-spaced.

For this assignment, you won’t be writing "straight" autobiography, but rather a personal investigative "hybrid" essay. The task is to pursue a question or explore a topic or opinion that arises from your own experience, integrating relevant material from secondary sources—academic books, articles, newspaper features, etc.

To start this assignment, you need a question or opinion that emerges from your own experience. The story of your thinking through that question / opinion will serve as the backbone of the essay. Then, research the question through outside sources. Keep in mind that the aim is not to weigh your essay down with exhaustive research but to use genuinely relevant material and integrate it gracefully. During the writing / research process (e.g., between first version and revision), students will meet with Louise Harrison Lepera to discuss their research strategies.

For example, a student writer might:

  • Begin with her experience as an immigrant from Japan and incorporate literature on the experience of immigration and the challenges of a hybrid identity, combining aspects of Japanese and American culture;
  • Narrate the experience of a sports injury and recovery and inform the reader of recent developments in sports medicine and treatments for that particular injury, using outside sources and her own experience;
  • Start with his experience of taking a "gap year" before college and then introduce the reader to arguments about the benefits and drawbacks of "gap years".


Proposal / Intro paragraph — Due Session 8

Part 1: What is the experience that inspires this essay? What is the key questions (s) or opinion that arises out of it? On a separate sheet, list five relevant outside sources.

Part 2: Write the introductory paragraphy.

Note: If this is a companion piece to Essay 1, note how it differs.

Bring five copies to class.

Draft 1 — Due between sessions 11 and 12

5–6 pages. Include a cover letter. Bring five copies to class for peer review

Workshops — Session 12 (large group) and Session 13 (small groups)

Essay 2 workshop review form (PDF)

Revision (plus revision cover letter) — Due between Sessions 21 and 22

Suggested length: 7-8 pg.

Note: For the first version, please submit a cover letter reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of the piece. With your revision, please include a new cover letter commenting on the ways in which you have responded to suggestions and the changes you have made in revision (e.g., including research). Bold any revision changes.