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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