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Criteria
Thesis:

The paper argues for a clearly defined thesis. The thesis should be on topic and it should not be vague. It should be related to the readings we have done in class. It should be appropriately ambitious i.e .it should not be too inconsequential yet it should not be too ambitious to argue for properly given the word limit.

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Introduction:

The introduction should be a very focused summary of the argument you will make. It should include your thesis and a brief summary of the arguments you will use to advance your thesis and defend it against objections. It should not be vague, off topic, grandiose, or begin with a joke or cliché. As part of introducing your thesis you can  introduce the general topic but only as it is directly relevant to your thesis.

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Conclusion:

The conclusion clearly and accurately summarizes the main argument or arguments of the paper. The conclusion should simply be a summary of the argument or arguments in your paper. Do not make any unargued for claims in your conclusion. Do not attempt to end the paper with any grand sweeping conclusion, joke, or cliché.

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Body Paragraphs:

Each paragraph should be organized around one idea and should be an explanation of that idea. The paragraphs should logically follow from one another and fit together to create a coherent whole. It should be obvious what the central idea of each paragraph is and why all the sentences of the paragraph are part of the paragraph, and how each paragraph is related to the thesis of the paper.

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Supports Thesis:

The paper contains a clearly formulated argument or arguments for the thesis. This can be in the form of a formal argument (deductive, inductive, or abduction) with numbered premises or it can be an informal argument. Often times support for the thesis will involve addressing possible objections or criticism of the thesis.

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Overall Structure:

The paper is clearly structured around a central idea, and all the supporting ideas fit together to form a focused and well organized argument for the thesis

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Style:

The most important element of style is clarity. Always strive for clarity. And remember professor Strunk’s three rules, “Omit needless words. Omit needless words. Omit needless words.” Other elements of style to remember are things like using parallel construction, active voice rather than passive voice, not using clichés, using smaller rather than larger words, etc. Consult The Elements of Style by Strunk and White for further guidance on style.

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Mechanics:

The paper is free of grammatical errors (comma splices, fragments, fused sentences, agreement, etc.), spelling mistakes, and is composed with proper mechanics (margins, formatting etc.). Sources are properly referenced including a works cited page. Paper has your name, course and sections numbers, assignment and date listed properly.

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Comprehension of Reading Material:

The essay shows a clear understanding of the main points and or arguments of the text that it is a response to. This requires you to explain the text you are writing about in your own words. Using original examples is a great way to help your reader understand you and help your professor know that you understand the material.

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General Comments:

 

 

 

 

 

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