Any topic (writer’s choice)

    By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what the research essay needs.  But heres a recap of the most important requirements:

    Present a persuasive thesis, which takes a stand on a particular issue and attempts to bring readers into agreement with that thesis.
    Be in the range of 25003000 words.  A little more is fine, but must meet that minimum threshold to be considered successful.
    Utilize at least 7 outside sources, of any type.  Those sources should be high-quality and present the best information or opinions available on the matter at hand.  At least one of those sources should adopt a viewpoint which is different from your thesis.
    Include at least 2 visual elements: 1 chart/table/graph & 1 photo/image/drawing.  Those visual elements should include captions as well as explanations in the essay of the text, and be properly cited.
    Follow a clear structure designed to have the most positive impact on your thesis.
    Follow MLA page formatting and citation guidelines (in-text and Works Cited).
    You have a lot of leeway for tailoring these essays to your individual subject matters needs.  The primary goal is to be persuasive, and whatever supports that goal is up to you.

    Grading Rubric

    Final Research Essay Rubric
    Criteria    Ratings    Pts
    Thesis & Evidence
    Original, clear, focused, debatable well-supported thesis. Specific examples included for support. Uses targeted appeals to logic, emotion, and/or ethics as appropriate to be persuasive.
    40 pts

    Original, debatable, sufficiently supported thesis. Examples included for support. Uses appeals to logic, emotion, and/or ethics as appropriate to be persuasive.
    30 pts

    Identifiable main idea that is generally supported. Some examples included, though potentially vague or abstract. Uses some appeals to logic, emotion, and/or ethics to be persuasive, though perhaps not most appropriate for circumstances.
    20 pts

    Identifiable main idea that is not well supported or does not match most of essay content. Some examples provided, but of a vague, abstract nature. Uses few to no appeals to logic, emotion, and/or ethics as appropriate to be persuasive.
    10 pts

    Missing or unsupported thesis. Little to no examples for support. No appeals to logic, emotion, and/or ethics as appropriate to be persuasive.
    0 pts

    40 pts
    Organization
    logical, coherent, unified organization with paragraphs used effectively and clear transitions.
    35 pts

    coherent organization that might need some rearrangement or further paragraph division; effective transitions
    27 pts

    generally organized essay flow but not all paragraphs centered around topic idea; some evidence of transitions
    17 pts

    essay structure impedes effective communication of ideas; little evidence of transitions
    9 pts

    little or no evidence of essay organization or development. No transitional elements used.
    0 pts

    35 pts
    Research Skills
    Balanced, authoritative sources; effectively integrated outside sources. Its evident that multiple sources were consulted in order to provide the highest-quality information to support thesis.
    35 pts

    Effective, authoritative sources, sufficiently integrated into rest of essay. Evident that multiple sources were consulted in order to provide information to support thesis.
    27 pts

    Some sources appropriately used for assignment; source content not well integrated into essay text. Not evident that multiple sources were consulted in addition to those which actually appear in the text.
    17 pts

    Insufficient sources used for assignment and/or sources are of poor quality for academic purposes. Not well integrated into surrounding text. No evidence of research done beyond the quotes/paraphrases used in the body of the essay.
    9 pts

    no sources used, or sources used inappropriately/unethically. (This will result in a 0 on the paper.)
    0 pts

    35 pts
    Style, Editing & Proofreading
    Strategically varied sentence structure. Vocabulary is tailored to writing context. No appreciable errors in spelling, punctuation or grammar.
    35 pts

    Varied sentence structure. Vocabulary is appropriate to writing context. Minimal mechanical errors that do not interfere with readers understanding.
    27 pts

    Some sentence variety. Basic vocabulary. Generally well-edited, with one or two consistent patterns of error.
    18 pts

    Little variety in sentence structure. Basic or inappropriate vocabulary. Grammatical errors may interfere with readers understanding.
    9 pts

    Little to no sentence variety. Frequently inappropriate vocabulary. Little evidence of proofreading; errors impede meaning.
    0 pts

    35 pts
    Audience Appropriateness
    Arguments are tailored to meet the needs of the target audience. Counterarguments are anticipated and adequately responded to. Effective level of formality.
    35 pts

    Arguments are well-founded, but may not fully consider the interests of the target audience. Counterarguments are anticipated. Appropriate level of formality.
    27 pts

    Arguments dont consider the needs of the target audience. Counterarguments are not fully anticipated. Appropriate formality for writing context, though not always targeted to specific audience.
    17 pts

    Arguments are not fully developed or fail to meet the needs of the target audience. Lack of appropriate formality.
    9 pts

    Target audience not considered, and would not be affected by contents presented here. Too informal for context.
    0 pts

    35 pts
    Citations & Formatting
    In-text citations and Works Cited page follow MLA specifications consistently. Pages are formatted precisely using MLA standards.
    25 pts

    In-text citations and Works Cited page follow MLA specifications, with some small but consistent errors. Pages are formatted using MLA standards.
    19 pts

    In-text citations and Works Cited page generally follow MLA specifications, with some consistent errors. Pages are formatted using MLA standards, possibly with some error.
    12 pts

    Is missing either in-text citation or Works Cited page, or citations do not follow MLA guidelines consistently. Page formatting does not follow MLA guidelines.
    6 pts

    No documentation of sources included. (This will result in a 0 on the paper.)
    0 pts

    25 pts
    Length
    Essay meets or exceeds 2500 minimum words.
    20 pts

    Essay close to meeting 2500 word requirement.
    10 pts

    Essay significantly short of 2500 word requirement.
    0 pts

    20 pts
    Source Requirements
    Uses 7 or more high-quality sources to build essay content. Includes at least one chart/table/graph and at least one picture/drawing/cartoon.
    25 pts

    Uses 7 sources, but does not include either a chart/table/graph or picture/drawing/cartoon.
    13 pts

    Uses 5-6 sources to build essay content. Is missing one or more visual component.
    7 pts

    Uses fewer than 5 sources, and might be missing one or both visual component(s).
    0 pts

    25 pts
    Total Points: 200

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