For this project, you will write an essay of a minimum of 1500 words (approximately 6 pages) in which you build an argument on a topic in your major or field of study. You will use sources to support your argument.
In upper level courses and on the job, you will need to demonstrate your ability to “join the conversation” in your field. In a medical field, you might be asked to recommend or implement the best possible treatment for an illness; in order to do this, you would need to be able to find, read, and understand the research from other scholars in the field, decide between the alternatives, and make an argument for your recommendation based on your research. In papers like these, you will need to state a clear claim (or thesis) and back up your claim(s) with support. Not only that, but you will need to address the larger scholarly conversation surrounding these topics. You do not want to simply report what others are saying, but engage in a dialogue with them.
I want to hear what YOU have to say. If I wanted to only read information from your sources, I would go read them. I want to hear YOUR voice and read YOUR argument.
Your thesis must make a claim. Every topic sentence should make a claim.
In other words, you must accurately and fairly present another side of the issue, without “giving up any ground.” One way to do this is to use key words such as “admittedly” or “however”:
“Admittedly, there is evidence that highlighting a text can aid visibility for those with visual impairments. Highlighter can help readers who have Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI), or those who have trouble tracking a line of print. For these students, using a ruler or other line guide in conjunction with a highlighter can increase readability. However, the vast majority of readers do not benefit from highlighting a text.”
You may not conclude that “both sides are equally true” or say “Reader, you decide” (the reader will always decide, no matter what you say!). You must take a stand on one side or the other.
* All five CAN be scholarly sources, but three MUST be.
*You may use more than five sources, but any additional sources should be scholarly.
Every source must be used in the body of the paper as a quote, paraphrase, summary, chart, or image AND you must properly cite the source on the last page, which should be a Works Cited page in MLA format. You should synthesize your sources; do not simply summarize all of your source material, but show how they are connected and respond to them.
If your topic is so recent that a scholarly source cannot be found, please 1. ask a librarian and 2. consult with the professor.
Points Possible: see syllabus for breakdown.
Each essay should: develop ideas and synthesize sources within focused academic arguments; analyze, interpret, and evaluate a variety of texts for the ethical and logical uses of evidence; write in a style that clearly communicates meaning, builds credibility, and inspires belief or action; apply the conventions of style manuals for specific academic disciplines (MLA).
Plagiarism is entirely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. Plagiarism includes failing to cite a direct quote with quotation marks and an in-text citation, borrowing someone else’s work without a correct citation, bad paraphrasing (Safe Assign will not identify a good or fair paraphrase), purchasing a paper, having someone else write your essay, or turning in the same paper to two different classes. Any paper with plagiarism, even accidental (I forgot to cite that!), will receive a zero as a final grade. The best way to avoid plagiarism is to take good notes and cite correctly. Ask your instructor, the Writing Center, the English Corner, or a librarian for help, or visit the Purdue OWL for some of the best advice online.
The rubric below will be used to grade the first and final drafts of your essays. If your paper is short of the word count, you cannot earn higher than 60%. If your paper has fewer than five sources, you cannot earn higher than 60%.
(Purpose & Audience)
|Essay demonstrates barely any understanding of purpose and audience.||Essay demonstrates moderate understanding of purpose and audience.||Essay meets the expectations of the audience and demonstrates a clear purpose for writing.|
|Thesis Statement (claim)||Essay lacks a thesis statement.||Thesis statement doesn’t make a strong claim, doesn’t contain tension, or is otherwise underdeveloped.||Essay has a clear topic idea that is written in a concise thesis statement. Thesis contains tension and is well developed.|
|Paragraph Development||Generally, paragraphs lack development and focus.||Most paragraphs are developed, but some may lack development or focus.||Each paragraph is well developed and focused. All body paragraphs contain a topic sentence, evidence supporting the thesis statement, and clear analysis.|
|Organization: Structure of Argument||Essay lacks essential paragraphs, and/or the body paragraphs are confusingly organized. Paragraphs do not begin with claims.||Some paragraphs may be misplaced or lack logical order. Some paragraphs may begin with claims, but overall structure is unclear.||Essay follows a logical organization. The body paragraphs flow well. Paragraphs begin with claims; these paragraph claims work together to form an overall argument.|
|Introduction and Conclusion||The introductory and concluding paragraphs need significant development.||Essay has introductory and concluding paragraphs, but they do not provide enough essential information about context or relevance.||Essay has interesting and informative introductory and concluding paragraphs that show the relevance of the claims.|
|Mechanics & Formatting||Mistakes in grammar and punctuation often make the essay difficult to understand. Page numbers, header, spacing, font, and title may be missing or need significant correction.||Essay has several mistakes in grammar and punctuation that sometimes hinder meaning. Page numbers, header, spacing, font, and title are not all present or need editing.||Essay shows firm grasp of standard grammar and punctuation. Page numbers, header, spacing, font, and title are correct (MLA format).|
|Language/Word Choices||Inappropriate word choices often make the essay difficult to understand.||Essay occasionally has the wrong word or form of the word but is generally understandable.||Essay uses appropriate word choices.|
|Coherence (Transitions)||The essay is not coherent between paragraphs or between sentences. Fails to use repetition of subjects, parallel phrasing, or transition words effectively for coherence.||The essay has some coherence between paragraphs and between sentences. May use repetition of subjects, parallel phrasing, or transition words at times.||The essay has strong coherence between paragraphs and between sentences. Uses repetition of subjects, parallel phrasing, and transition words with skill.|
|Sources: Integration of Evidence
& MLA formatting
|Evidence from outside sources does not seem to fit with the rest of the essay. There are several quotations not integrated into sentences.
Parenthetical citations are lacking or incorrect; Works Cited page may be missing.
|Evidence from outside sources is not carefully integrated into the essay. Quotes are incorporated into sentences, but they are sometime awkwardly integrated. Parenthetical citations are mostly correct; Works Cited page is included.||Evidence from outside sources fits seamlessly into the essay. All quotes are integrated into sentences.
Parenthetical Citations are correct; Works Cited page is included and correct in format.
|Counterargument and/or Rebuttal are unfair, missing, ineffective, or need significant development.||Counterargument is present, but not entirely fair or accurate. Rebuttal does not address Counterargument effectively.||Counterargument is fair and accurate. Rebuttal directly addresses the Counterargument and is effective and persuasive.|
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