4. DISC 1313 Research Paper (Assignment) Fall 2018

DISC 1313
DUE: 12/6
Essay 4: Research Paper Assignment
For the final essay of the semester, you will address an original research question, which you
will formulate based on your interests and on our course content (Pop Culture & Mass Media).
Support for this project will include a library visit and intermediate deadlines for an outline and
annotated bibliography. These deadlines are specified in your course schedule.
Your paper should be 6 to 7 pages in length and utilize at least 4 academic sources, such as
peer-reviewed journal articles, to effectively support your argument. The best research questions
will be those which could lead to implications beyond your paper and in which you have some
personal interest. Consider the many facets of our course themes that we have explored and also
think about the different types of questions you could ask.
As mentioned in class, you may develop your exploratory essay topic or select a different one;
however, on this assignment, rather than exploring the possibilities without committing to any
particular side, the goal here is to address your research question by taking a position and
supporting your position with academic sources, in other words, addressing other researchers’
claims and evidence. Similar to the exploratory essay, the type of research paper you write will
vary depending on your particular research question. Lastly, more so than the more personal
style of the exploratory essay, you should maintain an objective, academic register on the
research paper.
Be sure to
1. address the background of the issue and include a strong thesis.
2. incorporate academic research into your argument by summarizing, paraphrasing,
and quoting, including multiple MLA in-text citations in every body paragraph.
3. end with a strong conclusion.
4. include a Works Cited page (MLA 8 format).
5. adhere to the 6-7 page requirement.
6. use an academic register throughout.
7. edit the paper.
Accomplishment level
SLO 1: Students will
state and defend a
thesis with adequate
attention to analysis
and evidence.
SLO 2: Students will
demonstrate an
understanding of essay
and paragraph
development and
Organization and
emphasis indiscernible.
Paragraphs lack
controlling idea,
transitions, and
coherence. Neither the
introduction nor the
conclusion satisfies any
clear rhetorical purpose.
SLO 3: Students will
craft sentences with
attention to audience,
purpose, and tone, as
well as sentence
variety and diction.
rudimentary, or
redundant sentences
thwart the meaning of
the essay; diction
nonstandard or
unidiomatic; tone
indiscernible or
inappropriate for the
SLO 4: Students will
demonstrate proper use
of grammatically and
mechanically correct
SLO 5: Students will
incorporate and
document sources
correctly and
Frequent and serious
mistakes in grammar,
syntax, punctuation
and/or spelling. No
attention to detail; no
mastery of mechanics or
presentation is apparent.
Serious errors undermine
content and credibility of
the work, rendering it
Quoted material, if
present, incorporated
carelessly and
aimlessly. In-text
citations and
reference list either
not present or
incorrect, causing
work's loss of
Thesis is superficial or
vague. Logical
incoherence and faulty
claims present in the
main idea. Evidence is
insufficient, obvious,
contradictory, or
aimless with no attempt
at analysis. Topic
sentences contain no
insight or structure.
Organization unclear or
inappropriate, failing to
emphasize central idea.
Paragraphs fragmented or
Transitions unclear,
inaccurate, or absent.
Introduction merely
describes what is to
follow; conclusion merely
repeats what has been
Sentences lack
necessary emphasis and
variety; diction vague
and unidiomatic; tone
inconsistent with or
inappropriate for the
Frequent mistakes in
grammar, syntax,
punctuation, and/or
spelling. Lack of attention
to detail; mastery of
mechanics and
presentation is marginal.
Errors obscure content
and diminish credibility.
Quoted material
incorrectly. In-text
citations and
reference list contain
multiple errors.
Thesis has little
ambition or complexity
and is too broad to lead
a focused essay.
Assertion is general,
limited, or obvious.
Some supporting
evidence is repetitious,
irrelevant, or jumbled,
with little analysis.
Topic sentences contain
little insight and offer
little structure.
Organizational efforts
apparent, but not entirely
successful, and sense of
emphasis may be weak.
Paragraphs' focus and
coherence break down at
times. Transitions
functional but often
obvious or formulaic.
Introduction and/or
conclusion may be
mechanical rather than
purposeful or insightful.
Sentences competent
but lacking emphasis
and variety; diction
faulty at times; tone
acceptable for the
Several mistakes in
grammar, syntax,
punctuation, and/or
spelling. Little attention to
detail and lower level of
mastery of mechanics and
presentation. Multiple
errors distract from
content and undercut
Occasional errors in
quoted material. Intext citations and
reference list contain
several errors.
A less discerning thesis
with a controlling idea
or assertion is
supported with mostly
concrete and relevant
evidence. Analysis
present but not always
thorough. Topic
sentences generally
provide insight and
Organization reveals
attention to symmetry and
emphasis. Paragraphs are
coherent and do not
digress from controlling
idea. Logical transitions
signal changes in direction.
Introduction engages
initial interest; conclusion
supports without merely
Sentences generally
varied, purposeful, and
emphatic; diction
appropriate and
idiomatic; tone suits the
subject, persona, and
Few mistakes in grammar,
syntax, punctuation,
and/or spelling. Attention
to detail and a fair level of
mastery of mechanics and
presentation. Minimal
number of errors provides
little distraction from
overall content or
Quoted material
correctly, with
minimal errors. Intext citations and
reference list
generally correct.
No discernible idea or
assertion controls the
random or unexplained
details that make up the
body of the work.
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