researching a source


  • With your essay topic in mind, go to the following locations and do some research, experimenting with different search terms.
  • Attach your article when submitting your assignment.


  • Write a one-paragraph rhetorical precis of the source you’ve found, using the precis format, below.
    • Follow the format carefully. It’s a stronger, not a weaker, exercise in critical thinking.
    • Include the author’s name, profession, and correctly formatted title (see Resources, below).
    • Assert the clear main claim or primary point the author is making.
    • Choose subclaims or supporting points that paint a crystal clear picture of the original source.
    • Use accurate in-text citations (see Resources, below).


  • Respond to the following source reflection questions:
    1. How sound is this source and why?
    2. What do you find strong or especially agree with based on your current understanding and why?
    3. What do you find weak, illogical, or especially disagree with based on your current understanding and why?
    4. Has your thinking about your chosen topic changed as a result of this source and why/why not?

To Submit

    • Attach –
      • A PDF of the original source you’ve found or a working link to it
      • Your precis and response to the reflection questions on an MLA-formatted document


Sample Topic Ideas

    • Happiness and Societal Forces like Social Media, Artificial Intelligence
    • Happiness and Identity Positions, like Race, Gender, LGBTQ+
    • Happiness and Immigration
    • Happiness and Environmental or Political Threat
    • Alternative ways to interpret happiness data
    • Climate change and happiness
    • Cultural erosion & happiness
    • Does happiness need to be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Is it embedded already without using the word, or does it not necessarily have a place there?
    • Does public engagement lead to greater happiness? Kennedy Townsend cites a study, but the link is inactive.
    • The value of GNH in countries. Is it useful? Should the US adopt one? (Has it/some group done this already?)
    • Is it the responsibility of the government to create conditions where people can pursue happiness? (Schlesinger’s Article: “The Lost Meaning of Happiness…”)

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