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12.2: The Research Portfolio/Narrative Essay

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  • A “research portfolio” is a collection of writing you’ve done in the process of completing your research. Of course, the details about what is included in this portfolio will vary based on the class assignments. However, if you’ve been following through the exercises in Part Two of this textbook, chances are your portfolio will consist of some combination of these projects:

    • The topic proposal exercise
    • The critique exercise
    • The antithesis exercise
    • The categorization and evaluation exercise
    • The annotated bibliography exercise

    A research portfolio might also include your work on some of the various exercises in The Process of Research Writing and other assignments given to you from your teacher.

    The goal of the exercises in Part II of this book is to help you work through the process of research writing, and to help you write an essay along the lines of what I describe in Chapter Ten, “The Research Essay.” However, as an alternative to using this previous work to write a research essay, you could write an essay about these exercises to tell the story of researching your topic.

    This project, “The Research Portfolio/Narrative Essay” is similar to a more conventional research essay in that the writer uses cited evidence to support the point exemplified in a working thesis. However, it is different in that the writer focuses on the process of researching his topic, a narrative about how he developed and explored the working thesis.

    The Assignment

    Write a seven to ten page narrative essay about the process of working through the previously assigned exercises in the class. Be sure to explain to your audience-- your teacher, classmates, and other readers interested in your topic-- the steps you took to first develop and then work through your research project.