So…writing in the sciences and social sciences is very much about forming a hypothesis, then doing research, and then deciding if the hypothesis was correct or not.  You form the thesis for your essay, then, AFTER you research the topic.  The reason the Annotated Bibliography is always due first is that you’re basically showing an audience that you’re ready to form a legitimate thesis.

Topic: For this essay, you will write a focused argument on your assigned topic.  By “focused” I mean NO STATEMENTS OF INTENT (“In this essay I will…” or “This essay discusses…”)!  You must assert a point/idea/stance in the thesis statement, which will come at the end of your introduction.

The rules:

  • You must have ONLY four or five body paragraphs (for a total of six or seven paragraphs).  Focus your thesis in a way that allows you to exhaust your point in that much space.
  • You must reference each of THREE of your sources as a quote and as a paraphrase in the essay.  Note that you are arguing a point and NOT simply summarizing the sources (you already did that in the Annotated Bib), so you cannot simply dedicate one paragraph to each source.
  • Your topic sentences must reflect aspects of your argument.
  • You must use proper APA signal phrases and in-text citation, and you must include a References page at the end of the essay that includes the three sources you’ve used in the essay.

When I grade the final draft, I’ll particularly note the following:

  • The quality of your thesis and topic sentences and whether you’ve used them to build the essay,
  • Your success incorporating the outside sources (both the quality of the quotes/paraphrases and the correctness of your APA),
  • How well you have invited a reader into your topic in the introduction and how well you have left your reader thinking in the conclusion,
  • Your mastery of Standard Written English (yep–the grammar stuff).

I’d be wrong to leave out that plagiarism generally means at least an F on the assignment and a possible F for the course.   Do your own work–it’s easier in the long run.  If you experience some sort of crisis, contact me, and don’t panic!  Most cheating comes from confusion and panic.

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