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Writing Assignment Details

Task

Late Deduction – One letter grade, each day it is late


You cannot e-mail papers directly to me without prior permission.

This paper must be in essay format. Do not use bullet statements. Do not delineate the sections of your paper using headings; you should make transitions from one section to another. Adequate transitions are important aspect of well-written papers.


The paper must be at least 3-4 pages in length.  You should not go longer than the fourth page. An important part of writing is organizing the information and a length limit requires one to analyze the reading, respond to the assigned topic, and not just write a summary of everything in the reading.


You must use Times New Roman 12pt. font and double-space your essay


Your essay must have a clear thesis statement.  If you do not have a clear, specific thesis statement there will be a ten (10) point deduction.


A thesis statement is comprised of one sentence and expresses the main points of your paper.


Your essay must have a clear thesis that directly address your points about the assigned topic.


Do not use colloquial language in your paper.


This is an academic paper and you should use formal language in this paper.


Do not use contractions.


Do not use abbreviations or symbols instead of the proper word.  This is an academic paper, not an e-mail or text message.


Use the active voice and the past tense. Keep the tense consistent.


Avoid use of the first-person pronouns


Make sure you use the proper form of possessive and plural words


When writing your essay, recognize the historical point-of-view.


You should remember that you have the perspective that allows you to know how events transpired and what subsequent events occurred, which is something those who were part of historic events did not know.


You should proofread your paper. This entails more than just using spell check though that is a first step in proofreading your paper. Spell check does not notice improperly used words. It only shows when you use a collection of letters that it does not recognize as a word. There is a document on the Content page with advice on proofreading your paper.


When initially referring to historical figures, use their first and last names. In subsequent references, use the person’s last name. You should not use first names for either initial or subsequent references to historical figures.

Overall Details

In this section, you introduce the reader to the topic being addressed.


This section contains your thesis statement. You must have a clear thesis statement. This is a one-sentence summary of your main point. It is key to providing structure for the paper.


 In this section you should formulate and present a thesis that addresses the assigned topic, do not just restate the assigned topic.

This section contains the information to support your thesis. Evaluate the reading selection and answer the topic, but do not include a summary of the general knowledge in the entire reading.

Conclusion

This section is a summary of what you have written.


It should be well developed and roughly the same length as your introduction. It should summarize the points you have included in your paper and restate your thesis.  Do not transition into your conclusion with the phrase, “In conclusion,….”

This is not a research paper. You are addressing the assigned topic concerning the reading. In your essay, you should not use other sources than the reading in Portrait of America.  Since you are only using one source you do not need a Works Cited section on your paper.


When appropriate, you must cite information, ideas, and text from the reading. Since you are only to use one source, you do not need to include a works cited page. The citation method you are to use is explained, with two examples, below and differs from both the MLA and APA styles.

Whenever you use someone’s idea or ideas, whether you use their words or not, you must cite that information to its source. There is no need to cite general information that can be found in many sources. If you are in doubt, cite the material. There is no problem with over-citing compared to the problem of plagiarism that occurs when information is not properly cited.


When you use someone else’s words, you must not only cite the information, but you must place the direct quotation in quotation marks.

You do not need to cite general information. This is information that can be cited in many different sources. For example, the fact that Southwest Tennessee Community College is located in Memphis, Tennessee would not need to be cited. Another example, the fact that George Washington was the first President of the United States would not need to be cited. You can find this information, along with other general knowledge, in a large number of sources.

Overall Structure of Your Paper

Since you are only using one source in this paper, the reading from Portrait of America, when you cite the information all you need to use is the author’s name, and the appropriate page number(s).


Examples of proper citations for your paper

 The author wrote, "Here is a good example of a sentence with a direct quotation.” (Jones, 98) Then you begin your next sentence without any punctuation following the citation.


Indirect Quotation: If you are citing an idea, but are not using the author’s words because you are paraphrasing the material, you should follow the above example, but the quotation marks are not required.

A paper of this length should have very few, if any, direct quotations. The focus is your writing, not repeatedly quoting the author. You should use direct quotations sparingly. You should not use floating quotations, which are direct quotations that are placed in the text without any context. You should place direct quotations in context and not use quotations as complete sentences. When using a direct quotation, place it into context, instead of just dropping them in the body of the paper or using them as an inefficient transition.

This does not mean you should not cite information, but you should paraphrase the material and use few, if any, direct quotations. Paraphrasing is not changing a couple of words in a passage while maintaining the author's original voice and structure. That is plagiarism.


After writing your paper, check the turnitin.com report to assure you have not made a too extensive use of quoted material and that quoted material is properly cited. It is available in the Dropbox, where you submitted your paper. If you paper’s Turnitin percentage is over 15-20% you need to revise your paper using better paraphrasing.  If you have a question about the percentage or proper paraphrasing, please contact me and I will help you.


You should avoid using direct quotations to make a transition. This is not a good habit and your paper will be improved by using effective transitions.

Check your paper against the Writing Rubric. The rubric shows exactly what I will be looking for when I grade your writing assignments.
There is a copy of the Writing Rubric available on the Content page and using the Rubrics Tool on the PAWS Website.

You are not required to submit a rough draft of any of the writing assignments, but if you wish to avail yourself of this opportunity I will read and offer suggestions to rough drafts.


In order to submit a rough draft you must: Submit a copy to the Rough Draft folder on the PAWS website Assignment Tool
Submit the rough draft five days prior to the assignment due date.


This will allow me adequate time to proofread it, comment on it, return it, for you to make the corrections, and submit the final paper prior to the due date for the writing assignment.  Late submission of a draft does not excuse late submission of the final draft of your paper.

Your paper, with my comments, will be emailed to your PAWS email

After making the corrections you are responsible for submitting that paper to the appropriate folder on the PAWS Assignment Tool by the deadline on the course schedule.

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