Position Paper On Topic Explaining Complexity Of Issue

Project 4: Position Essay Incorporating Outside Sources (15% of course grade)
(4-5 pages; 1000-1500 words)

April 17: Research question (in-class, then post to your Project 4 blog)
April 19: Comment on 2 research question blog posts
April 20: Outline draft (bring 2 copies to class)
April 24: Full draft (bring 2 copies to class); peer review in-class
Individual conferences Apr. 26-27 (no class Apr. 27)
May 1: Final essay (1 copy, plus outline draft, full draft, and peer review comments)

  • Final panel presentations (based on Project 4, 10% of course grade) are Saturday, May 5, 1:00-3:30 pm *

The topic for your final essay will come from your Project 3 research and A Visit from the Goon Squad. Your objective is to take a research-based position explaining the complexity of Egan’s representation of a specific issue. We will spend time in class developing research questions and articulating a position from your research. For this project, you will bring together skills from the preceding projects: literary analysis, thesis development, essay organization, arguing for a position, research, and engagement with sources.
Elements I will look for:
• Focus on a significant, specific issue (or a specific aspect of an issue) that can be effectively analyzed in 5 pages
• Complex, clear thesis statement making an original, insightful claim; clearly connected to development of reasoning throughout
• Engaging and clear topic sentence at the beginning of each body paragraph (addressing one point)
• Attention to specific details and consideration of their implications
• Incorporation of contradiction or counterargument into the analysis
• Thoughtful examination of how details from different sources illuminate or contradict each other
• Comprehensiveness and balance: reasonable choice of main points, terms, and examples; ability to show their relation to each other; all parts of the essay relate clearly to each other without digressions or generalizations
• Organization: progresses logically and smoothly, with appropriate transitions indicating connections between ideas and good use of identifying tags
• Editing: the essay is free of major grammatical, mechanical, or spelling errors; correct MLA Works Cited and citation style

An excellent essay will combine the above elements smoothly and logically to reveal interesting analytical points that the author brings together to make an interesting statement answering a significant and complex research question. The author demonstrates excellence in research and source use by making sophisticated connections among reliable and insighful sources, using them to illuminate points of Egan’s work, and by using counterarguments to make the essay’s position stronger or more complex. The author has effectively revised and proofread the essay’s organization and style.

An average essay will share most of the strengths of an excellent essay, but may miss one, combine them in a less effective or persuasive way, or present them at a more basic level. For example, a paragraph may include a quote from Egan and a point from an outside secondary source, but not explain the analytical point (the reason for connecting them). Or the scope of the topic and research question may not be appropriate for a 5-page composition essay.

An insufficient essay may do some of the work listed above, but will omit or misunderstand several crucial elements. Common mistakes include not making connections between the topic, Egan, and pertinent, reliable sources; not representing sources and ideas accurately; not using evidence to argue for a specific position; not basing the essay on analysis instead of description.
Because this is a composition course, both participation in the rough draft stages and using sources appropriately & responsibly are necessary to receive a passing grade on Project 4.

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