Identity Essay/Assignment #1
Here are the steps you will follow in constructing this essay
This will be your first experience combining both the personal and research into a coherent essay. We
have talked about what makes quality writing, and now you will have an opportunity to produce some
quality writing. This instructions sheet will cover aspects of both content and form.
1) Brainstorm different aspects of your identity (language, culture, physical characteristics, etc.)
2) Review the “Disability” essay in the textbook.
Identify the personal connections and the research connections that the author makes. Notice how
they are woven together smoothly to make her point, and how she presents writing that is organized,
coherent, and thoughtful, while also correctly follows the conventions of writing. She supports her
argument with secondary sources from media and television, which, although dated, can still help the
reader understand her ideas.
3) Identify an aspect of your identity that has both personal and researchable aspects.
Example: My Irish Heritage has a personal connection (My family on my father’s side, the O’Days
immigrated in the 1860’s during the potato famine in Ireland.) This means that personally I could tell a
story about visiting Ireland to see the O’Day castle, which still stands on land that O’Days have owned
for several hundred years, and where, every three years the current owner holds a family gathering
attended by hundreds of descendants from all over the world. But as a topic, there are several aspects
of this that would provide a research connection: the potato famine, the history of immigration in this
country, how different immigrant groups are treated (“No Irish Need Apply”), the current state of
immigration is in America, etc.
4) Prewrite (This may be brainstorming, journaling, freewriting, etc. ) (See Chapter 1) to help you
determine your thesis.
At this stage you should also make some notes about what aspects are personal and what aspects you
will research. Think also about what you will use as primary sources and what will be secondary
sources. Your prewriting might include a list of sources that you wish to consult.
5) Write your thesis statement for the paper.
Your thesis should include some reference to both types of connections (personal and research) that
you will present in your paper.
Example: Although being Irish has a ways been a source of personal pride for me, the public often sees
being Irish only as a one-day (St. Patrick’s Day) excuse to wear green, a reason to imagine leprechauns,
and a justification to party, when in reality the history of Irish immigration shows that the Irish have
made valuable contributions to the fabric of this country.
6) Gather and record research for your paper.
You should use at least one primary source (an interview, a first-person account, etc.) and at least three
secondary sources (books, journals, websites, etc.) Your primary sources may be informal and not
necessarily academic, but secondary sources MUST be acceptable academic sources—NOT from popular
sites such as Wikipedia.) As you are gathering your research you will also need to determine whether
the best way to use the information is with a direct quote, a paraphrase, or a simple reference to the
Ireland’s 1845 Potato Blight is often credited with launching the second wave of Irish immigration to
America. The fungus which decimated potato crops created a devastating famine. Starvation plagued
Ireland and within five years, a million Irish were dead while half a million had arrived in America to start
a new life. Living conditions in many parts of Ireland were very difficult long before the Potato Blight of
1845, however, and a large number of Irish left their homeland as early as the 1820s.
Direct Quote: “Ireland’s 1845 Potato Blight is often credited with launching the second wave of Irish
immigration to America.”
Paraphrase: There were two Irish immigration “waves” in this country, and the second was caused by
the potato famine.
When you list your sources on the references page, the citation would look like this:
“Irish-Catholic Immigration to America.” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov/classroom-
materials/immigration/irish/irish-catholic-immigration-to-america. Accessed 5 Aug. 2021.
We will be discussing in-text citations in class, because you MUST cite your sources both within the
paper and in the final list of sources. You should also review the MLA template that is provided in
7) Write the draft of your paper. (See Chapter 2)
It should be 3-4 pages long and should include both the personal and the research information in
support of your thesis statement.
8) Review and revise your paper, checking for both content and form.
As you revise, proofread, and edit, you should use all the resources that you have available. This includes
Chapters 3 and 4 in the textbook, as well as the MLA Template, and any exercises that we complete in