Essay Assignment

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GWRTC 103: Spring 2011
Laura Schubert


Your purpose is to research, explore, and discuss a topic, issue, or problem. While your research process should be guided by inquiry, your ultimate purpose is to use sources to develop and defend an “angle” or unique position.


You are expected to construct an original argument. Instead of writing a position paper that restates the common arguments in favor of or against something, your purpose is to contribute to the conversation with new insights that surprise or change your readers.

Your essay should be written in a closed-form with an explicit thesis statement, an academic tone, and careful organization. The audience can be flexible: you will need to select an appropriate audience for your particular topic and purpose.

The research paper will contain four components. Each of these components will be graded in their final, revised form when submitted on November 8:

  • A research proposal
  • A working bibliography
  • A literature review
  • Three complete drafts of the researched argument. These drafts should reflect significant changes.


  • Due dates: First draft—Monday, October 25; second draft—Monday, November 1; final version—Monday, November 8.
  • Length (not including proposal, bibliography, and literature review): 1500-1800 words (5-6 pages)
  • Your essay should be submitted in hard copy, printed double-spaced on one side only of 8.5”x11” white paper, with 1” margins.  Please use Times New Roman 12 pt. font.  Remember to save and resave your work, as to avoid any last-minute computer glitches.
  • Citing will be particularly important in the research paper: you will need to cite sources whenever you quote from them and when you paraphrase their ideas. You will also need to create two reference pages: 1.) a bibliography that lists all of the works that you read, even those that you didn’t cite in the paper, and 2.) a works cited page that lists all of the sources that you reference in the paper. You are free to use the citation style of your chosen discipline, but you must adhere to the guidelines of that particular style (e.g., MLA, APA, Chicago).
    • For additional help with citation rules, visit the Link Library (on Blackboard under “Help”)
  • If you have any questions about this assignment (or any assignment), please do not hesitate to talk to either Martin or me.  Feel free to e-mail us or stop by my office in Harrison 1125. Martin’s office is in the University Writing Center (4th floor of Wilson Hall), where you are welcome to schedule an appointment with any of the writing consultants. You are also welcome to visit the Freshmen Tutoring Center, located in Huffman Hall, for additional help.  I have also included a few links on Blackboard (under “Help”) that direct you to helpful websites.


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