You will write two 1500-word (five-page, double-spaced) papers, each tied to the class readings and each requiring some outside investigation. Even though these papers are short, they should still each have the three basic components of an academic essay:
- An introduction which clearly states a thesis (and please underline that thesis).
- A body which develops the thesis, with one argument per paragraph, and several points of evidence supporting each argument.
- A conclusion which not only restates the thesis, but leaves the reader with something more, such as speculation on the broader implications of the thesis.
The first draft of your essay is due on Turnitin.com (as is the final version). You will receive feedback from your TA, complete a peer review by the next section meeting.
For each essay, each student will write 2 or 3 reviews of classmates’ papers. (Thus, each student will also receive 2 or 3 reviews of their essay.) Peer review is worth 1 point of the essay grade. Peer reviews should include both things the author did well and at least one substantive comment about what the author can improve. Which does the student need to work on more, writing style and grammar or argument and evidence? If the paper is light on using course or reading content, do you have suggestions for resources they might draw from?
Your TA will upload all first drafts to an online shared folder, where you can download your peers’ essays. Strive for a 250-word comment, not just a brief sentence. Make an open-ended, prose response using complete sentences; do not line edit the paper. (It may be appropriate to enter a comment into the paper’s text if this helps you point to a specific statement.)
Note that these peer reviews will not be anonymous, and you will be talking with your peer about their paper in section, so you should take care to offer constructive criticism (the same kind you would like to see someone offer on your paper).
Bring to the peer review session hard copies of your reviews.
Recommendations for structuring your essay:
1) Write a solid paragraph of introduction. This should include a brief (one or two sentences) description of the topic. It should conclude with an underlined thesis statement.
2) In several (3-4) paragraphs of evidence supporting the thesis, draw on concepts from at least 2 of the perspectives on communication that we have discussed in lecture. Your analysis should provide rich and specific descriptions of the reactions you observed, and logical connections to the class concepts. Where appropriate, you can also connect what you observed to ideas from readings. Readings should be cited using APA style. Lectures can be cited in-text, for example by stating “As described in lecture…”
3) In your conclusion, restate your thesis and show how your evidence has supported it. Then go a little further: show how your essay points to bigger implications of what you have discussed.