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Spring 2021 – ENGL 1020 G – Dr. Angela Fowler

Unit 3.1: Research Paper

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Quick facts Due April 21

2000-2500 words (works cited page does not count in length)

At least 5 sources, 3 of which must be scholarly, peer-reviewed (cited in the text and the works

cited page)

MLA page format and MLA 8 citation style (see examples in the Unit 3.1 folder in Blackboard)

Worth 30% of course grade (10% of the unit grade will be writing process assignments)

Assignment description Compose a 2000-2500-word argumentative essay that works within an academic discourse

community. The paper must give an argument using the research question you’ve been exploring

as a starting point, and it should cite at least 5 sources, 3 of which must be scholarly, peer-

reviewed. Note that you may use different sources than the ones you found in the annotated

bibliography, and some sources that were banned in Unit 2 and now allowed in Unit 3.1 (see

source guidelines below). The essay should include MLA 8 citations, both in the essay itself and

in the works cited page. The purpose of this assignment is to convince a scholarly audience of

the validity of your argument.

How the Assignment should Look The requirements for Unit 1 and 2 were rather rigid, with specific formatting and sections. This

essay has a lot more freedom with how you put it together. For instance, there are several options

for organization, or you can use subheadings to break up the content, or you can include images.

However, with these options come different guidelines. Let’s look at the requirements and

options for content and page format.


• The essay must include an introduction, body, and conclusion, and the thesis should be included in the introduction. Sources are usually placed at various points in the body of

the essay.

• The introduction should engage your audience, frame your argument, and propose your thesis statement. The thesis statement should be debatable, arguable, and specific. The

thesis should have a “so what” factor that is reflected in your essay. Remember that the

introduction does not have to be one paragraph, and the thesis does not have to be one


• The conclusion should reinforce the overall thesis and ask your audience to be stakeholders in your argument. It should not simply restate everything you said in the

essay…but it should also not introduce new information. Instead, make the argument

relevant to your audience. This may be a good place to focus on that “so what” factor.

• The body of the essay should have a logical organization and provide your audience with everything they need to understand your argument. You may use classical, Toulmin,

Rogerian, or ImRAD organization strategies. The following sections can work really


o A background or methods section where you provide your audience with background information, definitions of important or widely misunderstood

concepts, or relevant conversations or context for your topic.

o A case study or literature review section where you explore the research that’s been done related to your argument (works well for the sciences).

o An analysis section where you analyze primary or fictional texts to illustrate your argument (works well for the humanities).

o A rebuttal or refutation section where you acknowledge other viewpoints in relation to your own argument.

• Some organizational methods don’t work. Don’t write a narrative of your research journey and how your feelings or thoughts changed as you researched and wrote, and

don’t write an annotated bibliography in essay form (i.e. each paragraph is about a

different source, and your voice or argument never shows up).

• All arguments must be backed up with evidence from your sources. You will need to include citations for ALL information from your sources either in the lead-in or the

parenthetical citation. You may use direct quotes, paraphrases, and summaries.

• Sources may include anything that available for Unit 2. You may also use short news stories, some tertiary sources (for dictionaries, use OED; for encyclopedias, use scholarly

or specialized), and fictional works. Do not use Wikipedia, study guide websites, or

sources that do not pass a source evaluation for authority, accuracy, and credibility.

Page format

• Do not include a cover page.

• Double-spaced, in Times New Roman, 12-point font, left-aligned (not centered or justified), and 1-inch margins

• Last name and page number in the top right corner, 0.5 inch from the top and 1 inch from the right.

• Header with your name, instructor name, course with section, and date in MLA format

• An original title (not the assignment or topic), centered at the top of the page

• Indented paragraphs (0.5 indent)

• Optional: Subheadings can break up the organization. They should be bolded but not centered

• Direct quotes should be enclosed in quote marks with lead-ins. Parenthetical citations should be directly after the cited material (not necessarily at the end of the sentence).

They should not be after the period or within the quote marks.

• Optional: If you use block quotes, you should limit your use of them. If they take up too much of your paper, I won’t count them toward your word requirement. They should

have a lead-in with a colon, no quote marks, indented a full inch to the left (but not the

right), and with the parenthetical citation after the ending period.

• Works cited page, topped with the centered words Works Cited, beginning the first blank page after your essay ends (not as a separate file)

• Alphabetized works cited entries for all your sources in MLA 8 citation, using hanging indent. Do not include the annotations from your annotated bibliography.

• Optional: Images and charts can be included, but they must be cited in the works cited page AND using the Figure system (see Unit 3.1 folder).

The Writing Process

Step 1: Review your research question and research to compose a working thesis statement.

Assignment: Unit 3 conference, 10pts for Unit 3.1 process, conducted at the end of March and

beginning of April

Before you begin planning your research paper, you need to review your research and start

thinking about what you want to accomplish. This is something we have to get right, so I’m

asking for a required conference to talk about your research and working thesis. Before the

conference, brainstorm ideas for what you want to accomplish with your research paper and have

a working thesis statement in mind.

Step 2: Outline your research paper.

Assignment: Unit 3.1 outline, 10pts for Unit 3.1 process, due Mar. 24

This informal outline will blueprint your research paper’s organization and overall argument.

The outline should be at least a page with the working thesis, a purpose for each major section,

and where you’ll be placing your sources. You may choose how to format your outline as long as

I can understand it.

Step 3: Write the first draft of your Research Paper.

Assignment: Unit 3.1 first draft, 20pts for Unit 3.1 process, due Apr. 7

This draft should attempt to be as complete as possible, but the minimum word count I’ll accept

is 1000 words. You should also include in-text citations for some of your sources and a works

cited page for all of your sources. For the parts of the paper that haven’t been written yet, you

might include those sections from your outline just to give me a full picture of what your paper

will eventually look like.

Step 4: Revise your Unit 3.1 Research Paper.


Unit 3.1 peer-review, 20pts for Unit 3.1 process, conducted on Apr. 8-11

Unit 3.1 revision report, 10pts for Unit 3.1 process, due Apr. 11

After you’ve turned in the Unit 3.1 first draft, you will revise your paper, using the following


• Peer-review: We will review each other’s papers using peer-review questions. Remember: If you don’t have a draft, you can’t participate in peer-review.

• Instructor feedback: I give feedback on all drafts, even if you got full credit on that draft. I expect to see attempts to address the feedback in the final draft.

• Feedback from our peer mentor, Cameren Golden.

• Self-revision: We will discuss ways to revise your own paper in class.

• WASC Learning center: You may visit the Learning Center, either digitally or in personal. Please see the Resources tab in Blackboard for details.

• AUM Library: You may contact a librarian through the Ask Your Library function on the AUM library website. This is especially helpful if you are having problems locating your


Step 5: Reflect on your writing development.

Assignment: Unit 3.1 Reflection, 15pts for Unit 3.1 process, due Apr. 14

You will write a 500-word reflection on your writing journey. Due to the deadline schedule, we

will need to write this before you turn in your final draft. Please see the Unit 3 Reflection

assignment sheet.

Step 6: Turn in the final draft of your Research Paper.

Assignment: Unit 3.1 Research Paper final draft, 100pts and worth 90% of the Unit 3.1 grade,

due Apr. 21

The final draft should fit all the assignment requirements (2000-2500-words of essay, at least 5

sources/3 scholarly, with correct MLA 8 in-text citations and works cited entries for all sources).

You must make substantial revisions addressed in instructor feedback and peer-review. If you

turn in the same thing you turned in for the first draft, you cannot receive a passing grade. You

will also receive a failing grade if: 1) there are fewer than 1800 words of essay, 2) there are

fewer than five sources, 3) there are fewer than three scholarly sources, 4) any of the sources

listed do not follow source guidelines, 5) the in-text citations and works cited page do not

attempt to follow MLA 8 format, and 6) the citations are so unclear that it falls within the realm

of unintentional plagiarism.


Highly Effective (HE) 100%: Accomplishes the assignment goal with very few rhetorical issues

and displays creativity and inventiveness when applicable.

Effective (E) 85%: Accomplishes the assignment goal with possibly a few rhetorical issues.

Satisfactory (S) 75%: Accomplishes the assignment goal.

Developing (D) 65%: Does not entirely accomplish the assignment goal.

Should be addressed (SBA) 55%: Does not accomplish the assignment goal at all.

Research Paper – Assignment Goals HE E S D SBA

Content – 60%

The thesis should be arguable, debatable, and specific. The overall

argument should match the thesis and follow sound logic. For

above satisfactory, the thesis should be well refined with a “so

what” factor, and the paper should fit the thesis well.

The paragraphs and sections should be developed and give

appropriate support and context for your thesis. For above

satisfactory, the paragraph development overall should include

specific topic sentences that connect to the thesis, thorough

explanations of the evidence, and connections back to the thesis

and section at the end of the paragraph.

The paper, particularly in the introduction and conclusion, should

invite your audience to be stakeholders in your argument. For

above satisfactory, the paper should make effective rhetorical use

of ethos and pathos to appeal to the audience.

All sources used in the paper should meet the expectations and

requirements for a scholarly research paper. For above

satisfactory, the sources should be well-chosen and balanced in

context and how they’re used.

Structure – 20%

The paper should be organized effectively according to a logical

organizing principle. For above satisfactory, the organization

should be rhetorical effective, with a close attention to paragraph

focus and very little repetition.

The paper should use transitions, subheadings, and other

organizational tools to “signpost” to an audience. For above

satisfactory, the transitions and subheadings should give the

purpose and clearly communicate the logic of the structure and

organization to the audience.

Knowledge of Conventions – 20%

All sources should be cited within the paper with appropriate in-

text citations, using MLA 8 consistently. For above satisfactory,

there should be only 1-5 repeated errors.

Each source should have a works cited entry on the works cited

page, using MLA 8 consistently. For above satisfactory, there

should be only 1-5 repeated errors.

The paper should use correct MLA page formatting. For above

satisfactory, there should be only 1-5 repeated errors.

The grammar and style are edited and appropriate for the situation.

For above satisfactory, there should be only 1-5 repeated errors.

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