Narrative Script for Pullman Research Paper

Step 1: Choose a Topic

Make sure you understand your assignment.

Here is the assignment Kiran's teacher, Ms. Bonagura, handed out to the class.

Your assignment is to prepare an I–Search report. To begin, pick a topic that you currently don't know much about or a question that you want answers to. As you conduct research to gain an understanding of the topic or to answer the question, make notes about your process. End by telling what you learned from your research.

Include the following subheadings in your report. If you want to change their order or add subheadings, first get my approval.

  • •  I want to find out

  • •  What I already know

  • •  How I went about finding out what I want to know

  • •  What I learned

Your final paper should be 5 to 7 pages, not counting the Works Cited list. In your research and on the list, include at least two primary sources (such as a letter or diary, an interview, or some other kind of personal investigation) and at least three secondary sources (such as books, periodicals, or reliable Web sites about the topic). Make sure you give credit for every quotation or paraphrase you put into your work.


On the assignment sheet, Kiran highlighted the four headings and the number of required sources—to make sure she wouldn't forget these important details.

Choose a workable topic that meets all the requirements.

Kiran knew that the topic had to be something she was interested in. She remembered her teacher saying, "The topic for an I–Search project should choose you. You must let a genuine need or desire to know about something grab you. Then you'll figure out how to get information about the topic." Here's a sample of Kiran's freewriting, which explains how she came up with a topic:

What do I really want to learn about? I want to know how to keep my brother from bothering me, but I don't particularly want to write about him–that wouldn't be interesting. What else? Did anything over the weekend catch my attention? Did anything intrigue me? I spent most of Sunday visiting my grandmother again. I wondered why she can't visit us instead. It's such a pain going all the way from Evanston to Chicago. Plus, she's always telling me about life in Pullman, the old Chicago neighborhood where she lives. She jokes that I should take notes or use her old tape recorder, but I think she's serious. She says, "It's important for young people to know about their family's past." Wait a second. My teacher's assignment talks about getting information for the I–Search paper by interviewing somebody. If I can come up with a research question about the Pullman neighborhood, then I can use an interview with Grandma as one of my primary sources. If I do an interview, I'd have to find only one more primary source (the assignment says I have to have at least two primary sources). This is the way to go.

Word your limited topic as a research question (or questions).

Kiran wondered what research question she could come up with. She ran a few possibilities by her teacher, and they agreed on one.

What's so special about the Pullman neighborhood that my grandmother insists on living there instead of moving closer to us in Evanston?