Volume of 5 pages (1375 words)
Assignment type : Essay
Stage of Completion: Auction
You will need the book Writing and Reading English 1020 & English 1050 Second edition for Terra State Community College ISBN 10: 1-269-35148-6 or ISBN 13: 978-1-269-35148-5
Topic: This paper should mainly provide an informative synthesis of content from four to six sources. No more than two of these sources can be essays from the thematic section of Writing (ch. 15-29) whereas the rest must come from another outlet, such as a library or the internet. Regardless of how these sources are found, they must share a topic that is being debated amongst the authors of these sources. For example, an informative synthesis essay on gun control must include sources which reflect both sides of the debate. However, remember that this is an informative essay. As such, you should strive to summarize the debate presented by your sources rather than taking a stand on it. (Think of yourself more as a newspaper reporter as opposed to a political activist.) Furthermore, for the purposes of this assignment, the thesis statement should reflect your knowledge of the major issue(s) underlying that debate.
Source Selection and Usage: For the first time in this course, you are required to select and use at least two sources that are not found in Writing. While I will gladly offer pointers on finding texts that will mesh well with your topic, each student is responsible for the selection of reliable, high quality sources. Furthermore, relatively the same amount of attention must be devoted to each source that is featured in this essay. Writing just a few sentences on one source and multiple paragraphs on each other source will give me the impression that the scantly used source was only mentioned to meet the required number of sources for this assignment. Even if it is false, such an impression would cause me to reduce your grade on this assignment substantially.
Self-Examination: Now that you have some experience writing college level essays, I would like you to include a self-examination statement at the end of this essay. (It can be on the works cited page, but it must be at least a few spaces down from the works cited page citations.) This statement should include a comment on what you did well, a description of which area you struggled in and a request for specific feedback from me. I will still grade all aspects of your essay as I have in the past, but this request for specific feedback will allow me to address your most pressing concerns in a more effective manner.
Font: All papers for this class must be written in the 12-point Times New Roman font. Papers written in any other font will be ignored until they are resubmitted in the correct font. Submitting (or resubmitting) a paper after that assignment’s deadline has expired will result in a significant penalty. See the Grading Philosophy section of this message for more information on late paper penalties.
Structure: As I trust that all of you have a good understanding of an essay’s main components, which begin with an introduction and thesis paragraph and end with a conclusion, I will not review them again now. However, here are some tips on how to display content within the body paragraphs. The biggest mistake that students make when writing essays which require the use of multiple outside sources is to treat them too individually. Essays with that problem end up reading something like this: “Person X said this. Next, person Y said that. Lastly, person Z said blah, blah and blah.” More successful essays will instead treat outside sources as members of a team, in which the conversation starts with what these team members have in common rather than how they differ from one another. To put it more plainly, it generally works best to open the discussion of your sources by focusing on what they have in common. Although you will eventually need to grapple with the ideas and issues which pit one source against another, focusing on those combative points too quickly usually fragments the flow of an entire paper.
Audience: With few exceptions, any paper which you write in college should be aimed at an academic audience. Although such a concept is probably new to you, do not be intimidated by it. Scholars are really just people who are highly interested in ideas, how ideas are formed, whether or not they make sense, and (in some cases) how they can be disproved. Accordingly, always strive to write in such a way that would be to acceptable to a group of fellow deep thinkers. In doing so, avoid writing in a way that comes across as phony. To be considered a scholar, you do not need to say things like “upon” or “alas.”
Point of View: The ability not to call too much attention to yourself as the writer of a text or to spotlight your audience unnecessarily are hallmarks of good academic writing. For these reasons, limit or totally avoid using these words in your essays unless they are in a quote: I, me, mine, myself, you, your, yourself, yourselves. If these words appear five or more times in the current essay assignment, points will be subtracted from your grade.
Format and Citation: Follow the MLA formatting rules throughout this paper. In addition to properly formatting the text of your essay by doing things like indenting the first line of each paragraph half an inch, your paper should feature a properly formatted heading, header and a title which you created. When necessary, the paper should include correctly formatted MLA citations in the text and on a works cited page. For more information on MLA citation and formatting, contact me.
Things to Avoid: 1) Do not use contractions or exclamation points unless they are part of a quote. 2) Unless they occur in the introduction or as part of a quote, do note state questions in an academic essay. Your job is to answer questions, not ask them. 3) Do not rely on a computer program to check your paper for grammatical errors or to format your citations. Regardless of its processing speed and appearance, most computers have the IQ of a rat.
Grading Philosophy: I try to treat all aspects of essay composition with equal importance. Therefore, to be considered an A paper, an essay must display excellent paragraph development and organization, a strong thesis statement, and a minimal amount of grammatical and stylistic errors. Late papers will not be tolerated unless accompanied by valid documentation, such as a scanned copy of a note from your doctor. Any paper that is submitted one minute to one day late will lose a letter grade. Any paper that is submitted more than a day late will receive a permanent zero grade, and you will not be permitted to submit a revised copy of it.
Revisions: The grades that you get on essay final drafts in this class are not necessarily permanent. As long as the corresponding final drafts are turned in on time, you are allowed to submit one revised draft of each essay that you write in this course. You can get up to one letter grade higher on the revised draft of a paper.
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