- Length: 7 full pages, double-spaced, with 1-inch margins, 12-point font.
- Your final draft must have a Works Cited page that uses MLA style. This page does not count toward the 7-page requirement.
Texts to use in this essay:
- Choose any one text in the readings section of They Say, I Say with Readings, 4th edition. This can be a text that we did not read for our class.
- Five outside (research) sources
Sources are generally used for two primary purposes: either to provide background information or to support for your claims. Keep in mind that you are making your sources work for you.
- You must have a minimum of six sources, one of which must be a text from They Say, I Say.
- Not counting the text from They Say, I Say, you must have a minimum of five outside sources.
- You must refer directly to each of these sources at least once in your paper. I will be looking for a minimum of 1 in-text citation for each of your required sources.
- At least one of your sources must be a scholarly article from a scholarly journal. This source cannot be a book review, a short article (only a few pages), or an editorial from a scholarly journal. It must be a lengthy article with a clear description of the author as an expert in the field, and it must include citations, references, or sources. I can help you determine if the source you find is considered scholarly.
- Only one of your sources can come from a website. You must be able to demonstrate that the website is reliable. (This does not count the library’s databases of articles, even though they are online. The library’s databases of articles are a collection of previously published articles, whereas articles you find online may not have been published anywhere else and can be much less reliable.)
- A film, documentary, TV show, and other forms of multi-media can be used to count toward one of your sources.
- Your final paper must be a minimum of seven (7) full double-spaced pages. The Works Cited page does not count toward the (7) pages.
- Use a 12 pt font and 1” margins.
- Your essay must have a title. The title should be specific and reflect the essence of your paper. I don’t care if it’s catchy (i.e., “Hey, You! Watcha Doin’ with Your College Degree?”), more traditionally academic-sounding (i.e., “Public, Private, or For-Profit: A Comparative Analysis of the Economic Costs and Benefits of a College Degree), or something in between (i.e., “The Costs They Are a-Soarin’: An Critical Examination of the Rising Costs of Higher Education”). Just give it some thought.
- You must use MLA style for citation.
Note about Plagiarism and Academic Integrity:
As noted in the syllabus, plagiarism will not be tolerated. If any part of the essay is plagiarized, you will receive an automatic “F” for the course and a letter will be sent to the Dean of Liberal and Fine Arts.
It goes without saying (but I’ll say it anyway just to be safe) that this essay should be a piece of writing created for this class. This is not to be an essay that you have prepared or will prepare for another class. Using an assignment to receive credit for more than one class is a violation of academic integrity.
Ending on a Positive Note:
Be creative here. Yes, this is a research paper and you have to make an original argument, but give yourself permission to explore ideas and come up with something that you can “own.” This is not another “death penalty” or “abortion” paper where you choose a side and defend it with all your might. Hone your voice. Stand on shaky ground. Join the crowd. Stand alone. Take risks. Play it safe. Just show me that you can synthesize multiple sources to create an original argument.
Remember that you are a scholar contributing to a body of knowledge (yes, knowledge, not information). Give me (and other readers) something new to think about.
Criteria for a successful essay include:
- A title that captures the essence of your essay
- Well-developed introduction
- Clear thesis statement in the introduction.
- Well-developed support for your argument (weave in quotes and analyze them)
- Logical organization with topic sentences and transitions
- Conclusion that adds a final thought
- Few sentence-level errors (grammar, spelling)
- MLA citation