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College Writing: Writing Project #3 Researched Essay
Draft Due Date: Tuesday, November 21
Approx. Length: 10-12 double spaced pages
Due: Friday, December 8
Through writing projects 1 and 2, we posed fruitful questions about our topics and we formed
a working thesis including complex sub-arguments. That led us to sources that helped us
better understand the conversation surrounding our topic. We have emphasized the need to
understand the topic and its surrounding conversation first, and only then write an argument
For this assignment, write an essay which in some way responds to or develops from the
research that you have completed for writing project 1 and 2. Initially, you may have chosen
a topic that you had some questions or ideas about. Now, your task is to craft a response that
is reasoned and supported based on the research that you have performed.
Through your research, you have hopefully located a conversation about this topic. Your task
here is to share that conversation with your reader as a clear they say, and then respond
with your thesis, or I say. As you respond to that conversation, your thesis should address
questions of So what? and Who cares? In this essay youll have a clear, explicit thesis,
but that thesis should involve complexity and nuance; you shouldnt merely have a yes/no
argument, or engage in polemics.
The essay will state the significance of your argument, and your goal is to persuade the
reader of the validity of your insight.
To develop this essay, you should include at least eight (8) sources in your essay. At least
three of these sources should be scholarly, academic works (journal articles, scholarly books,
research studies, etc.). You may, of course, include as many sources as you deem necessary;
however, you should always be aware of how those sources aid in the development of what
you have to say about the issues.
Whether you use eight sources or ten, you should never let the sources overwhelm your own
take on the subject, or do the speaking for you. The last thing that we want this essay to
become is an information dump: a series of quotations and facts from other sources, linked
together without a clear thesis determining their organization and use. You also should be
doing more than simply using sources to confirm your claims. Instead, they should be
helping you develop the larger conversation that surrounds your topic, and providing
complexity and nuance to what you have to add to it.
These sources should be documented with APA-style.
So What?: The Purpose of This Assignment
This is a linear, thesis-driven research essay, in which the body paragraphs develop the
validity and complexity of the thesis. Most of your academic writing in college will involve
research, analysis, and argument, and were bringing all three elements together in this paper.
Your audience in this essay is therefore primarily scholarly or academic; while you may be
addressing a topic of interest to the general public, our conversation is with readers who are
interested in thinking critically about these issues and ideas, and building knowledge through
Regardless of your topic, your goal in this essay will be to make a detailed, logical, and
carefully researched and supported argument that in some way responds to, agrees with, or
counters the research that you are including. It should consider potential counter-argument,
and develop a clear awareness of multiple perspectives, all in the development of your own
point and purpose.
I will be evaluating this essay according to the College Writing Program rubric. However, I
will be paying particular attention to the following questions:
Does the essay identify a clear, explicitly stated thesis? Does that thesis demonstrate
ambition, thoughtfulness, and appropriate specificity?
Does the argument demonstrate a clear awareness of multiple perspectives, and
provide an original response to the conversation?
Do the sources (from a variety of genres and perspectives) receive correct APA
citation and formatting (along with a works cited page)?
Does the essay develop an organization that is logical, effective, and that clearly
stems from the essays purpose and thesis?
Is it written with a clear sense of an academic audience, anticipating and addressing a
readers questions and expectations? Does it maintain a tone and style that are
effective, and consistent with audience and context?
Does it utilize other conventions of successful academic prose, including controlled
surface features such as syntax, grammar, punctuation, and spelling?
The rough draft for Writing Project 3 is due on Tuesday, November 21. On November 21,
you will sign up for individual conferences in class. The conferences will take place during
the week of November 28. Bring a hard copy of your essays to the class for workshops on
December 5 and 8.
A revised version of the essay will then be due to Blackboard on Friday, December 8. This
essay is worth 30% of your course grade.
Writing Studies Program Grading Criteria College Writing
The essays thesis demonstrates
ambition, thoughtfulness, and
appropriate specificity. The thesis
provokes readers to reflect on the
topics subtleties and complexities.
Throughout the paper, arguments
remain clear, essential, and sound.
The essay has an ambitious thesis
but does not fully deliver on its
promise, or it may have thoroughly
developed and explored a less than
demanding thesis. Supporting
arguments progress with very few
lapses in clarity, soundness, or
The essay has a thesis, although it The essays unsatisfactory thesis
The essay has virtually no
doesnt demonstrate ambition or take suffers from logical incoherency or discernible thesis or direction.
on a discernible degree of difficulty. facile aims. Argumentation generally Arguments often bear no relation to
The thesis may be too broad to lead suffers from tangential lapses and/or other sections of the essay; logical
to a focused essay. Argumentation in logical fallacies. Evidence is
fallacies may abound.
general seems lackluster or obvious; markedly insufficient or irrelevant.
some arguments might be weak due
to lapses in logic or insufficient
(perhaps irrelevant) evidence.
The essay engages a variety of
The essay uses substantive support: The essays argument is supported The essays supporting arguments The essays supporting arguments
credible perspectives, demonstrating arguments consistently follow from but would benefit from moreor
often suffer from inadequate
have virtually no evidence or rely
a sophisticated use of support: other evidence. The writer effectively
better use ofevidence; the essay evidence that is insufficient,
disproportionately on inappropriate
views have been carefully
illustrates the conversation on the
demonstrates analysis, albeit
irrelevant, or incorrect. Sources may evidence.
considered, sources have been
topic. The analysis almost always
occasionally superficially. The
not be appropriate for the
appropriately synthesized, and the offers some insights.
analysis offers a few insights.
assignment. The essay may
analysis offers readers fresh ways to
misinterpret or misrepresent its
view the source material.
Organization The essays organization develops At the global level, the essays
At the global level, the essays
At the global level, the essays
The essays paragraphs lack most
organically from an outstanding
organization reveals a logical,
unsatisfactory organization results in defining features of a traditional
thesis. At the global level, the writer rhetorically effective progression of demonstrate basic cohesion and
an essay that confounds the reader. paragraph: controlling ideas,
reveals a sophisticated awareness of the argument. On a local level,
continuity. On a local level,
Locally, paragraphs stumble from
transitions, unity, and coherence.
form; locally, paragraphs cohere,
transitions between paragraphs and transitions between paragraphs and one to the next and often lack focus The same is true of the essay as a
and the essay flows without
sentences create continuity and
sentences usually create continuity and coherence.
and coherence, with some
The essay engages the reader
The essays prose itself, not just the The essays prose is adequate and, The writings lack of precision often The writing prevents readers from
through a sophisticated control of
subject matter, interests the reader despite some awkwardness,
confuses the reader through unclear engaging with the piece on any level:
diction, syntax, and tone. The
through effectively varied sentence communicates clearly through
word choice or problematic sentence the sentences resist coherency,
language is concise, precise, and
styles and word choices. The
competent syntax and diction. There structures. The writing may also
word choices resist clarity, and
appropriate for the subject.
language is usually concise and
may be some wordiness.
demonstrate substantial wordiness. overall the prose ignores the basic
demands of an audience.
Correctness The writing has virtually no
The writing has few grammatical,
The writing has several grammatical, The writing has substantial
The essay fails to meet minimum
grammatical, mechanical, or
mechanical, or formatting errors, and mechanical, or formatting errors, and grammatical, mechanical, or
standards of correctness: errors in
formatting errors. Sources are
they do not distract the reader from some errors distract the reader from formatting errors that distract the
grammar or mechanics prevent
the content. Sources are
the content. Sources are
reader from the content. Many
readers from understanding the
documented, and cited. At this level, appropriately attributed and cited
documented and cited, though not sources are incorrectly documented essay. Sources receive incorrect or
the presentation reveals
with very few errors.
always strictly in the required format and cited.
no documentation and citation.
professionalism and attention to
and with little attribution.
While the preceding elements demonstrate a hierarchical concern, the following discussion regarding adherence or response to assignment
must be seen outside that hierarchy; fundamentally, the question comes down to whether or not an essay properly responded to its assigned goals.
Though an essay may excel at the above elements, one may view an essays success in the final element below as an equally important concern.
Assignment The essay meets every essential requirement.
The essay meets the majority of the The essay fails to meet the essential requirements of the assignment.
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