• The essay should be formatted in MLA style – This means that the heading is on the left margin and shows student name, instructor name, course, and date. The entire document should be double-spaced only – no single or more than double-spacing anywhere. There should be a centered title.
• MLA formatting also requires one-inch margins on all four sides of your reports. Make sure that you change the default setting of 1.25” that occurs in many programs.
• Do not manually type page numbers into your document. Instead, use the automatic pagination function. Usually, this is found under “Insert.” If you have questions, please email and ask.
• All essays must be typed in Times New Roman, 12 point font.
• Do not use first-person wording anywhere in this assignment because you are not writing about yourself or using experiences from your life as evidence anywhere in the essay.
Introductory Paragraph Requirements (10 points)
Begin the introduction with an attention-getter (thought-provoking questions, scenario, statistics, etc.).
Follow the attention-getter with general, background information on your topic. (Most likely, this means that you will provide the “history” surrounding your topic. This portion of your introduction must remain neutral in tone. Do not let your audience know your point-of-view in this background section.)
The introductory paragraph should end with a single-sentence thesis statement that states your topic, opinion, and three reasons in support of that opinion.
For example: High school writing teachers should not use peer-editing exercises because the editing effort may be suspect, may be incorrect, and is too difficult to fairly assess.
Body Paragraph Requirements (10 points each paragraph = 30)
Begin with a topic sentence that restates the main topic followed by one reason from the thesis statement.
After the topic sentence, present a clarification section that is at least two sentences in length. This section should explain, in your own words, the reason that you have mentioned in the topic sentence. (Consider reading the topic sentence and then asking yourself, “Why?” Answer your question in the clarification section.)
Follow the clarification section with specific evidence – in the form of a direct quote – from a scholarly forum. The quote must be from the article – not the article’s abstract. The quote must be introduced with information about context and who is speaking. There should be no parenthetical documentation at the end of the quote unless you are citing from a print source and know the exact page number where the quote appears. See the section below titled “Introducing a Quote or Paraphrase.”
End each paragraph with a concluding sentence that restates the idea from the topic sentence, but not using the same wording.
Required Source Material and Documentation (30 points)
Each body paragraph MUST contain directly quoted material from one of the articles that you have read.
A total of three scholarly sources MUST be directly quoted from in the body of your essay.
Your essay MUST have a works cited page that lists entries for the three sources cited in your essay. Works cited entries must be formatted in 8th edition MLA style. See the document in the assignment module for help constructing your entries.
Additional note: While one quote per paragraph is required, you may certainly decide to include more than one quote in some, or all, of your paragraphs.
Concluding Paragraph Requirements (5 points)
Make sure that your concluding paragraph is at least three sentences in length. It should be a “call to action,” of sorts, to your audience to make sure that your point-of-view is chosen.
A Correctly Formatted Works Cited Page is required (15 points)
See the sample works cited page on page 533, but use it only for entire-page formatting information. The entries on that page have not been created using the new, 8th edition MLA guidelines. Those guidelines are explained on a separate document available in this assignment’s module. Use that information to construct your works cited entries. Important! Only the first line of a works cited entry should be flush with the left margin; any subsequent lines should be indented using a “hanging indent,” found under “Format,” “Paragraph,” and then “Special.”
Formatting, etc. Reminders
Introducing a Quote or Paraphrase
All quoted material – or even paraphrased material – must be introduced with wording that explains who is speaking. If that person or persons is the author(s), then simply say something like, “According to Joe Smith and Susan Saunders.” The first time you mention the authors, it is a good idea to also include the title of the article that they wrote. (See the examples below under “Punctuation with Quote Introductions.”) From that point on in your paper, however, avoid sounding repetitive, and mention only last name(s).
If the person speaking is NOT the author(s), you must still mention the name(s) of the authors as well as the name of the person who is speaking: “According to Henry Thompkins, in Smith and Saunders’ article.” Why must you provide the author(s)? Your readers will not find the speaker’s name anywhere on your works cited list, so you must provide information that they will see on that works cited list.
Punctuation with Quote Introductions
If the words introducing a quote end with a word like “says,” “states,” “explains,” etc. you must place a comma after that word. The first letter of the first word after the opening quotation mark must be capitalized:
In her essay, “Uncle Sam and Aunt Samantha,” Anna Quindlen says, “One out of every five new recruits in the United States military is female” (351).
If the words of the quote “meld” into the words that you introduce the quote with, no punctuation is required before the opening quotation mark, and no capital letter is needed for the word immediately following the opening quotation mark:
According to Renee Wielenga, in her essay “Dream Act May Help Local Student Fight for Residency,” children brought to the United States by illegal immigrants may be able to go to college, join the military, or work on their careers because the “current version of this bill would grant eligible immigrant students six years of conditional residency” (349).
If the words introducing the quote form a complete sentence/thought, end with a colon and use a capital letter for the first word immediately following the opening quotation mark:
Renee Wielenga takes a very strong stance on helping children of illegal immigrants who wish to pursue their American Dreams without first having to be deported and gaining legal access to this country, and wants her readers to do the same: “We need to step up and educate our Representatives and Senators….and urge them to …approve the Dream Act now” (350).
Other Requirements for Punctuation, Etc.
Each mistake found from the list below may result in a loss of two points for every instance of the mistake above and beyond the points for the content requirements. For example, if you have two places in your essay where commas should be inside of closing quotation marks, and they are not, four points will be subtracted from the total assignment points.
• See the sample paper on page 525 for formatting guidelines. Your essay’s heading – with your name, etc. – must be on the left margin, and it should NOT be typed in a header.
• Align your text on the left margin; do not fully justify the text.
• For page numbers, go to “Insert,” and follow the guidelines for placing a number in the upper, right corner. Then, you may have to go to “View,” and “Header and Footer,” to type your last name in front of the number.
• The first sentence of a paragraph – any paragraph – must be indented using the tab key.
• Titles of articles and essays must be enclosed in quotation marks; they are not italicized.
• The first letter of every major word in a title (including the title to your work), must be capitalized.
• Commas and periods go inside of closing quotation marks.
• If a page number is required at the end of a quote, the closing period goes on the outside of the closing parentheses. It is the only period in the sentence!
• Ellipses (…) are only used to show wording removed from within a quote; they are not used at the beginning or ending of quoted material.
• Single quotation marks are only used within double quotation marks – when you must quote within a quote.
• When referencing an author’s name the first time, use both first and last name. From that point on, using only the last name is acceptable. Using only a first name is not acceptable.
• Semicolons (;) are used to separate two, complete thoughts. Colons (:) are used to introduce a list or quote but only if the words preceding the colon form a complete thought/sentence.
• First-person wording is only appropriate in those writing situations where your own experiences will be used as evidence throughout.
• Type out numbers that translate to two words or less.