Problem Sources


For this discussion post you’ll be doing an initial search for sources that are relevant to the problem you wish to investigate.  Some of you have well-defined problems while others still need to do a bit of tweaking to narrow in on a problem that is original in scope and not already well-documented in reputable publications.  This assignment/post will support everyone regardless of where you are in the process.  What I’d like for you to do is to identify sources that will provide evidence and help you to build an argument that the problem you have identified is indeed a problem and that you have a unique or original angle you are investigating.  As you are searching for sources you should being doing so with a critical eye and not just haphazardly finding sources that are somewhat related to your problem.  Use the recommendations made in our text for how to skim sources and to identify their relevance and credibility.  In addition, keep in mind ways you might agree or disagree with what your sources present, also a way of strengthening your own argument and presenting your original approach to addressing the problem.   For this project/paper your sources will be primarily secondary in nature, but for some, depending on the problem, you may utilize primary sources such as quotes from experts in your problem topic (i.e. a professor, leader of a nonprofit, etc.).  The bulk of your sources, however, should be secondary sources and those published within the last 7 years.  The exception would be if you are using a seminal work in the field.


Here’s what I’m asking for this post:


  1. State your problem using the 3 step rubric.
  2. Identify 10 strong sources that can support the problem you are researching. 
  3. For each source provide
    1. the bibliographic citation… in APA or MLA (doesn’t have to be perfectly formatted at this point, but make it close)
    2. a 1 sentence description of what the source offers
    3. a 1 -2 sentence rationale for why you think the source will be helpful in your research. (This could include reasons such as: provides statistics that offer evidence of your problem or that it provides opportunities for you to creatively agree or to disagree with in order to strengthen your own problem. Use sections 6.3 – 6.5 in your text to assist you.)
    4. 1 -2 sentences that indicate that your source is a reliable (Use section 5.4.2 from your text.)


You may compose this on a separate word document and attach it to your discussion post, or you may enter the post directly into the text box on the discussion board.  Although you are not required to respond to your group members, I request that you, as a professional courtesy to your group members,  at least glance through their sources.  If you are studying similar topic you may find a source that you could use yourself.  Also, big strategy here… once you find 2 or three sources that are right on target for your research, please remember to look at the bibliographies/work cited for those pieces.  You will often find other sources that are on target as well, which may help expedite locating appropriate sources.




  • I am working on the topic of  college student retention in online learning classes in general education courses for English composition
  • Because I want to know why so many students drop out of these classes
  • In order to help my reader learn strategies for preventing drop out and ensuring student success


Source 1:

  1. Ruecker, T. (2021). Retention and Persistence in Writing Programs: A Survey of Students Repeating First-Year Writing. Composition Forum, 46, N.PAG.
  2.  This source offers research on why students drop out of first-year writing courses.
  3. In order to identify strategies for my readers to help improve drop-out of English courses, it will be important to first understand why students drop out as well as strategies for preventing drop out.
  4. The source is published in a peer-reviewed academic journal.



Add Sources 2-9


Grading Rubric


5 points possible for each source for a total of 50 points possible

  1. 1 point for the citation
  2. 1 point for the 1 sentence description
  3. 2 points for your rationale
  4. 1 point for evaluation of your sourceb

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