Using published sources, write an essay of 1,200-2,000 words convincing a skeptical reader to agree with your position on a debatable issue. By "debatable" I mean something about which decent, intelligent people disagree; it does not have to be a controversial topic. Although you may be tempted to argue in defense of a position you have already adopted before researching it, I encourage instead an open-minded understanding of both sides of an issue before taking your stand.
This assignment gives you practice with several skills valued in other college courses and in the workplace:
1. Get my approval by . (One grade drop every five calendar days after this date.)
2. Present opposing views fairly and refute them effectively.
3. Use at least five credible sources (five different authors).
4. Identify all your sources completely and precisely in the text of your essay and in a bibliography at the end. Cite your sources according to the MLA style illustrated in your textbook.
5. Be sure most of your essay is in your own words; don't make it chiefly a collection of good quotations from other writers. Generally, about 10% of direct quoting is acceptable.
6. Do not be dishonest; do not plagiarize. (If you do item 4 correctly, you will not be plagiarizing.)
8. Turn in all notes and drafts with your essay. Also give me the material you used or photocpied copies so I can check how well you used this material. Turn this material in with your essay. If you want it returned, make arrangements with me in advance.
9. Type your paper on a word processor; double-spaced.
10. Turn in the completed Research Log with your paper.
1. Meets minimum requirements (see assignment instructions)--or receives an F
2. Shows skillful application of strategies for arguing to convince; argument is developed well; uses relevant reasons and evidence (facts, examples, statistics, expert testimony)
3. Opposing views are presented fairly and responded to effectively
ORGANIZATION, FOCUS, AND COHERENCE
4. Introduction gains readerís attention, explains the issue, precisely states thesis, forecasts development of argument
5. Conclusion gives a sense of closure; does not introduce new ideas
6. Organization is clear: paragraphs are unified; not organized serially by source
7. There are helpful transitions between and within paragraphs
8. Topic sentences unify the material in the paragraphs and make the point clear
9. Each paragraph fully supports its topic sentence with very specific material appropriate for the thesis and audience: evidence, reasons, and explanations
10. Sentences are clear, condensed, emphatic, varied in structure, subordinated well, fluent; words are specific, precise, accurate; voice is natural, consistent, and appropriate
11. Sources are handled well: no plagiarizing, correct citation and bibliography format, few direct quotes, accurate paraphrasing and summarizing, good selection of material (good range of opinions, credible and reliable, recent)
12. There are no grammar, punctuation, or spelling errors
Send comments to William Peirce: email@example.com
Back to Peirce Title III project page
Click here for Peirce PGCC faculty home page