ESSAY REQUIREMENTS: The research paper (8-10 double-spaced pages in length) will be a study of a literary text or a film or a comparison of two texts or two films (covered in the reading list), supported by secondary research: at least 6 secondary sources, either theoretical or critical.
The paper should provide a clear hypothesis or research question that allows you to either demonstrate or refute the initial point addressed through the analysis and arguments provided in the body of the essay. The essay should follow the MLA format.
a. The essay must be typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins and 12-point font.
b. Normal length will be 8-10 pages. The minimum length is 8 pages not counting a cover
page (if you use one) and bibliography.
c. Documentation (source references/citations) has to be done in MLA Style (see below,
2. DOCUMENTATION FORMAT: All direct quotations or other information that you use in your essay must be documented with in-text references in MLA Style format.
MLA Style: This is the style used by the Modern Language Association for people writing in the fields of languages and literatures. At the end of the sentence to be documented, place in parentheses the author’s last name and the page number where the information was found (Smith 34). If there is more than one source by the same author, include the date of the source to distinguish it from others (Smith 1997: 34). In addition, you must include at the end of your work a bibliography or “works cited” page with the full bibliographic references.
4. GRADING CRITERIA: The essay will be graded based on the following criteria: These guidelines have been adapted from excellent grading rubrics available at: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/med/rubric.html
Superior Paper (A/A-)
Thesis: Easily identifiable, plausible, novel, sophisticated, insightful, crystal clear. Structure: Evident, understandable, appropriate for thesis. Excellent transitions from
point to point. Paragraphs support solid topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Primary source information used to buttress every point with at least
one example. Examples support mini-thesis and fit within paragraph. Excellent
integration of quoted material into sentences.
Analysis: Author clearly relates evidence to “mini-thesis” (topic sentence); analysis is
fresh and exciting, posing new ways to think of the material.
Logic and argumentation: All ideas in the paper flow logically; the argument is
identifiable, reasonable, and sound. Author anticipates and successfully defuses counter-arguments; makes novel connections to outside material (from other parts of the class, or other classes) which illuminate thesis.
Mechanics: Sentence structure, grammar, and diction excellent; correct use of punctuation and MLA citation style; minimal to no spelling errors; absolutely no run- on sentences or comma splices.
The Good Paper (B+/B)
Thesis: Promising, but may be slightly unclear, or lacking in insight or originality. Structure: Generally clear and appropriate, though may wander occasionally. May have
a few unclear transitions, or a few paragraphs without strong topic sentences. Use of evidence: Examples used to support most points. Some evidence does not
support point, or may appear where inappropriate. Quotes well integrated into
Analysis: Evidence often related to mini-thesis, though links perhaps not very clear. Logic and argumentation: Argument of paper is clear, usually flows logically and
makes sense. Some evidence that counter-arguments acknowledged, though
perhaps not addressed. Occasional insightful connections to outside material made. Mechanics: Sentence structure, grammar, and diction strong despite occasional lapses;
punctuation and MLA citation style often used correctly. Some (minor) spelling errors; may have one run-on sentence or comma splice.
The Borderline Paper (B-/C+)
Thesis: May be unclear (contain many vague terms), appear unoriginal, or offer relatively little that is new; provides little around which to structure the paper.
Structure: Generally unclear, often wanders or jumps around. Few or weak transitions, many paragraphs without topic sentences.
Use of evidence: Examples used to support some points. Points often lack supporting evidence, or evidence used where inappropriate (often because there may be no clear point). Quotes may be poorly integrated into sentences.
Analysis: Quotes appear often without analysis relating them to mini-thesis (or there is a weak mini-thesis to support), or analysis offers nothing beyond the quote.
Logic and argumentation: Logic may often fail, or argument may often be unclear. May not address counter-arguments or make any outside connections.
Mechanics: Problems in sentence structure, grammar, and diction (usually not major). Errors in punctuation, MLA citation style, and spelling. May have several run-on sentences or comma splices.
The “Needs Help” Paper (C/C-)
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