Essay 3: Contribute to the Scholarship
Percentage of Final Grade: 25% or 250 points
• Students will understand academic writing as a conversation about topics of
• Students will understand their responsibilities as writers – to accurately cite the work
of other writers, to provide their audience with reliable information, and to consider
multiple points of view.
• Students will understand academic writing as governed by the conventions of
specific discourse communities.
• Students will become more critical readers, learning strategies for previewing,
annotating, summarizing analyzing, and critiquing texts.
• Students will acquire informational literacy – the ability to locate and evaluate
source material.
• Students will improve their ability to write clear and compelling thesis statements.
• Students will develop the skill of constructive critique, focusing on higher order
concerns during peer workshops.
• Students will understand the distinction between revising and editing.
For Essay 3, you will contribute to the current body of scholarship about the topic you
chose for your Annotated Bibliography. In your essay, you will persuade the reader to
accept the argument set forth in your thesis using a combination of your own opinions
and the opinions of third parties (i.e., by incorporating secondary sources), which is
discussed in more detail below.
Use the templates (pp. 751-766 in TSIS) to situate your argument within the existing
Note: If you do not have these templates, then you have the wrong edition of the
1. Length: 1,200-1,500 words (which is longer than the previous essays)
2. You must use the topic from your Annotated Bibliography. The purpose of the
Annotated Bibliography assignment was to select, summarize, and analyze your
sources for this essay.
3. Your thesis must be argumentative (i.e., persuasive).
4. You must include at least 4 secondary sources from your Annotated Bibliography.
5. You must include at least 1 quote from each of your 4 secondary sources.
6. You must use only articles from peer-reviewed scholarly journals for this essay.
Failing to use scholarly sources will result in a 10-point deduction for each nonscholarly source. For example, if you include 2 non-scholarly sources in your
Annotated Bibliography or in Essay 3, there will be a 20-point deduction. Therefore,
it is crucial that you use scholarly sources.
Note: If you are using Google to locate sources, then it is highly unlikely that you
are choosing scholarly articles. Your safest option is to use the library databases
(e.g., ProQuest, JStor, and Academic OneFile) to find sources. If you do not know
how to access/use the library databases, please see the “Library Research
Tutorials” section in Content. If you do not know how to distinguish scholarly
journals from popular periodicals, please see the “Evaluating Research Sources”
module under Content. In addition, several of the DisQs in this unit will teach you
to evaluate sources and distinguish scholarly sources from non-scholarly ones.
7. You must include a Works Cited page that conforms to The MLA Handbook, 8th
edition citation style.
8. You must include correct MLA parenthetical/in-text citations.
9. You must properly introduce, present, and cite all direct quotes.
10.Your tone should be formal.
• Avoid first person pronouns (i.e., I, me, my, we, us)
• Avoid second person (i.e., you, your) pronouns.
• Avoid contractions (i.e., isn’t, doesn’t, won’t, etc.)
• Avoid slang.
• Avoid clichés.
• Use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation.
• State your opinions as facts. Phrases like the following weaken your
 In my research, I found that . . .
 In this essay, I will discuss . . .
 I believe that . . .
As with all assignments in this course, your submissions must meet certain minimum
requirements. Failing to meet the requirements of the assignment can result in
substantial deductions, so it is vital that you carefully read and follow the instructions
presented in this document.
The following is a list of major deductions for the assignment:
1. You are required to use peer-reviewed articles from academic journals. Using nonscholarly articles will result in a 10-point deduction for each article.
2. You are required to incorporate 4 sources from your Annotated Bibliography. Failing
to include the required number of sources will result in a 10-point deduction for
each missing source.
3. You are required to make a good-faith effort to use correct MLA citation style.
Providing a list of links without making an effort to create MLA citations will result in
a 10-point deduction for each link.
General Guidelines:
• Your thesis should show that you have appropriately narrowed your topic, and it
must appear in the introduction (as opposed to one of the body paragraphs). Don’t
forget the opening hook and the transition that leads to the thesis statement.
• Present and support your argument with observations, details, and examples.
• Use correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Avoid slang, clichés, and second
person pronouns. Since this essay requires you to respond to the reading using your
own experiences and knowledge, you may use first person pronouns.
• Present your argument so that readers can hear your distinctive voice.
• Properly organize the paper. Provide clear transitions and balance to your argument.
• Use a variety of sentence structures and sentence beginnings.
• Do not simply restate your thesis and main points in the conclusion! Your conclusion
should be a fresh take on that thesis, and you should work to leave your readers
with something thought-provoking.
• Follow MLA formatting guidelines for font, margins, etc.
Evaluation Criteria:
• Is the writer’s purpose/position clear?
• Does the writer position him/herself within an existing conversation/debate?
• Does the writer answer the questions, “So what?” and “Who cares?”
• Does the writer spend too many, too few, or just enough words discussing others’
• Does the writer offer sufficient (quantity) and compelling (quality) support for
his/her own view?
• Is the essay effectively organized?
• Are the paragraphs adequately developed?
• Is the tone appropriate to the essay’s purpose?
• Is there evidence of attention to language, of a conscious attempt to employ
rhetorical strategies to achieve a certain effect?
• Does the essay contain errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, and/or mechanics?
• Does the writer smoothly incorporate source material, using signal phrases and
• Does the writer accurately cite all sources both in the text of the essay and on the
Works Cited page?


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