Assignment 3: research essay – first draft

Task:       Write an essay that investigates a connection between your field of study and a problem or controversial issue in society. The audience is people who are generally educated but do not have extensive knowledge of your field.
Length:   1500-2000 words
Sources: Minimum of 6. At least 3 of these must be from scholarly journals, and all sources should be selected based on reliability, currency, and level of information/analysis. The UMUC library will be very useful in helping you find appropriate sources. You can, but do not have to, include all of the sources from your annotated bibliography.
Due date and revision: The first draft of the research essay is due by the end of Week 5. Submit your draft as an attachment (Microsoft Word is preferred) to this assignment folder. This should be as complete a draft as possible, in order to receive the most helpful feedback. In working on your draft, you may want to look at the rubric that will ultimately be used to grade your final essay. You can see it when viewing these instructions through the Assignments area of the classroom.
During Week 6, you will receive feedback on your draft.
You will then revise your essay and submit it by the end of Week 7 to the folder “Assignment 3: Research Essay, revised draft.” This version will be graded using the rubric and will count for 30% of your course grade.
Your instructor may or may not complete the rubric for your first draft, but only the grade on your revised essay will count toward your course grade.
Outcomes you should achieve by completing this assignment
The outcomes for this assignment are listed below, with the associated course outcomes in parentheses:

Use research to write an essay that will inform or persuade an audience (Course outcome 1)
Form unified, coherent, and well-supported paragraphs in support of the thesis statement (Course outcome 2)
Select sources, use them to inform and support your writing, and document them in APA style (Course outcome 4)
Demonstrate accurate grammar and mechanics in writing (Course outcome 3)
Participate in the process of receiving feedback and revising your writing (Course outcome 1)

This essay is the culmination of your research project, in which you are investigating a connection between your field of study and a problem or controversial issue in society. Sample topics for different fields of study are provided below.

A student studying environmental management might choose to investigate the connection between flooding in a particular location and the location’s policies on new development.
A student studying psychology could research support for students with learning differences in elementary schools.
A student studying cybersecurity could investigate the threat of identity theft for the average U.S. resident.
A student studying history could explore similarities between the current U.S. administration and an administration from the past.

Before drafting your essay, you will have chosen a topic, developed a research question, and identified several potential sources in an annotated bibliography. You should write on the same topic for this essay, unless your professor has asked you to make changes to your topic.
Organizing and supporting your essay
As you write your essay, be sure to include the following:

an engaging introductory paragraph that includes an effective and clear thesis statement
any definition of terms or background information that your reader is likely to need to understand your paper
unified, supported, and coherent body paragraphs that defend the thesis
an effective conclusion

Research is a key element of this paper. Take care to support your claims with research throughout the paper. Include APA in-text citations whenever you use sources, whether through quote, paraphrase, or summary. An APA reference list at the end of the paper should list all of the sources cited in the text of the paper.
Point of view
This essay will be written in an academic style. Use third person point of view. Do not use “I” or “you.”
Formatting your assignment
Incorporate these elements of APA style:

Use one-inch margins.
Double space.
Use an easy-to-read font between 10-point and 12-point.
Include a title page with the title of your paper, your name, and the name of your school.

Given your next assignment, view and select one of the patterns below as a guide to write your first draft research paper.  Make sure to select the correct pattern for your paper. Have support staff from the writing center to help you with your paper before turning it in; they can proofread as well.
As you recall,  an essay is a multiple-paragraph piece of writing in which you try to inform, persuade, or entertain the reader. A thesis statement is a one-sentence statement of the main idea of your essay; it must identify your subject and make an assertion about it. Think of your thesis as a one-sentence answer to the question “What are you trying to prove?” A good academic essay should contain a thesis statement. Make sure that you support your thesis adequately. Think of your body paragraphs as the answer to the question “Why should we believe you?” or “What have you got to go on?”
Three Common Academic Essay Patterns are Analytical, Narrative, and Comparison-Contrast
Intro paragraph
Thesis statement: Answers the question What are you trying to prove?
Body paragraph
Why should we believe thesis?
Reason #1
Body paragraph
Why should we believe thesis?
Reason #2
Body paragraph
Why should we believe thesis?
Reason #3
Intro paragraph
Thesis statement: Answers the question What are you trying to prove?
Narrate in chronological order.
Start new paragraph with each shift in time or perspective (or speaker, if you include dialogue).
Intro paragraph
Thesis statement: Answers the question What are you trying to prove?
Similarities between Subject A and Subject B
Differences between Subject A and Subject B
(End with whichever is more significant, similarities or differences.)

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