Research assignment description

Here’s everything you need to know about your research assignment!

  • Topic: You may write about any topic that connects to 19th century American literature, including (but not limited to) authors and texts we’ve read in class. Use the brainstorming activity to come up with an inquiry question that will focus your essay.
  • Due Dates
    • Final Draft: Wednesday, November 14, by 3:45pm
  • Length
    • 4-6 pages, double-spaced (about 1000-1500 words total)
  • Research
    • Your essay should include 3-4 primary or secondary sources to help you expand the ideas you developed in the response papers you wrote during the semester.
  • Format
    • Header (name, date, etc.), page numbers, citations, and end notes should all be formatted according to MLA guidelines.
      • Here’s a link to a Word document you can use as a template: Sample Paper
      • Here’s a link to a useful website if you have any deep questions about how to cite and reference different kinds of texts: The Owl at Purdue
  • Grading
    • I’ll be grading this essay based on the basic 6-traits of writing that have been plaguing you ever since you were babes in arms. To be specific, the criteria are as follows:
      • Ideas: The paper is clear and focused and hold the reader’s attention. Relevant details enrich the central theme. (15 points)
      • Organization: The organization enhances the central idea; the order and structure of the essay is compelling and moves the reader through the text. (15 points)
      • Voice: The writer speaks directly to the reader in a way that is individual, compelling, and engaging. (15 points)
      • Word Choice: Words convey the intended message in a precise, natural, and interesting way. (15 points)
      • Sentence Fluency: The writing has an easy flow. Sentences are well-built, with strong and varied structure. (15 points)
      • Conventions: The writer demonstrates a good grasp of standard writing conventions (spelling, grammar, MLA format, etc.) (15 points)
    • For a more thorough discussion of these criteria, visit the source of all 6-trait writing fun: NWREL

5 responses to “Research assignment description

  1. I don’t think it’s very “trancendental” to grade our papers using this 6-traits crap. You should read our papers in brail, blindfolded, upside-down, in a shark tank. Then grade according to the mind state in puts you in. Good idea, huh?

  2. You are absolutely right and I’m glad you’ve set me on the true path. Also, instead of giving grades or scores, I’ll give each paper either a smiley face, thumbs up, or blood-curdling-scream-of-agony, according to my mind-state. Do you know of any shark tanks in the area I could rent or borrow? Tx!

  3. OH OH OH I KNOW WHERE SHARK TANKS ARE!!!! I sit around figuring out this kind of jazz all the time!

  4. Alright, we’re all set. Maybe we should charge for admission? “Step right up to see a terrifying act of death-defying grading!”

  5. I would totally pay to see that. Do I get to swim with the sharks as well? I could help grade! May I grade my paper, Matt?
    Actually, I would probably be harder on myself than you would. So…. Nevermind. You do your death-defying grading…. I’ll just watch.

    Put it on YouTube…. That’s what the cool kids do.

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