Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You can work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it until you have completed the unit’s Challenges. Once you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it will be graded and counted toward your final course score.
Touchstone 3.2: Draft an Argumentative Research Essay
ASSIGNMENT: Using your outline and annotated bibliography from Touchstones 1.2 and 2.2, draft a 6-8 page argumentative research essay on your chosen topic.
In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.
As this assignment builds on Touchstone 2.2: Create an Annotated Bibliography, that Touchstone, as well as Touchstone 3.1, must be graded before you can submit your research essay draft.
A. Assignment Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the list below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.
1. Argumentative Thesis Statement
❒ Have you included a thesis in your introduction that takes a clear, specific position on one side of a debatable issue?
2. Argument Development
❒ Are all of the details relevant to the purpose of your essay?
❒ Is the argument supported using rhetorical appeals and source material?
❒ Is your essay 6-8 pages (approximately 1500-2000 words)? If not, which details do you need to add or remove?
❒ Have you cited outside sources effectively using quotation, summary, or paraphrase techniques?
❒ Are the sources incorporated smoothly, providing the reader with signal phrases and context for the source information?
❒ Have you referenced a range of at least 7 credible sources?
❒ Have you properly cited your sources according to APA style guidelines?
❒ Have you included an APA style reference page below your essay?
❒ Have you answered all reflection questions thoughtfully and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?
❒ Are your answers included on a separate page below the main assignment?
DIRECTIONS: Below your assignment, include answers to all of the following reflection questions.
- Provide one example of a place where you have used rhetorical appeals or source material to support your argument. How does this enhance your essay? (2-3 sentences)
- Touchstone 4 is a revision of this draft. What kind of feedback would be helpful for you as you revise? Are there parts of your draft that you’re uncertain of? (3-4 sentences)
Advanced (90-100%)Proficient (80-89%)Acceptable (70-79%)Needs Improvement (50-69%)Non-Performance (0-49%)
Argument Development and Support
Provide a clear argument with sufficient support.The argument is thoroughly developed with highly relevant details to support it, including the use of rhetorical appeals and source material.The argument is well-developed with relevant details to support it, including the use of rhetorical appeals and source material.The argument is not fully developed; while it is supported by some relevant details, including rhetorical appeals and source material, some aspects of the argument are neglected.The argument is poorly developed with irrelevant details that frequently distract from the argument; there is little evidence of the use of rhetorical appeals and/or source material.The argument is not developed and/or the composition is not argumentative; details are irrelevant and distract from the argument.
Incorporate sources through effective quotations, paraphrases, and summaries.Cites all outside sources appropriately; incorporates credible sources smoothly and effectively through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.Primarily cites outside sources appropriately; incorporates credible sources effectively through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.Generally cites outside sources appropriately; incorporates credible sources adequately through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary.Cites outside sources, but most are cited improperly; incorporates sources through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary, but the integration is not smooth and/or the credibility of the sources is unclear.Does not cite sources, or citation is consistently inappropriate; does not reference sources and/or sources are not credible or appropriate.
Exhibit competent organizational writing techniques.Includes all of the required components of an argumentative research paper, including an introduction with relevant and engaging background information and an argumentative thesis, an adequate number of body paragraphs with topic sentences, a body paragraph addressing counterargument(s), and a conclusion with a concluding statement.Includes all of the required components of an argumentative research paper, including an introduction with background information, an argumentative thesis, an adequate number of body paragraphs with topic sentences, a body paragraph addressing counterargument(s), and a conclusion with a concluding statement.Includes nearly all of the required components of an argumentative research paper; however, one component is missing.Includes most of the required components of an argumentative research paper, but is lacking two components; sequences ideas and paragraphs such that the connections between ideas (within and between paragraphs) are sometimes unclear and the reader may have difficulty following the progression of the argument.Lacks several or all of the components of an argumentative research paper; sequences ideas and paragraphs such that the connections between ideas (within and between paragraphs) are often unclear and the reader has difficulty following the progression of the argument.
Establish a consistent, informative tone and make thoughtful stylistic choices.Demonstrates thoughtful and effective word choices, avoids redundancy and imprecise language, and uses a wide variety of sentence structures.Demonstrates effective word choices, primarily avoids redundancy and imprecise language, and uses a variety of sentence structures.Demonstrates generally effective style choices, but may include occasional redundancies, imprecise language, poor word choice, and/or repetitive sentence structures.Frequently includes poor word choices, redundancies, imprecise language, and/or repetitive sentence structures.Consistently demonstrates poor word choices, redundancies, imprecise language, and/or repetitive sentence structures.
Follow conventions for standard written English.There are only a few, if any, negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.There are occasional minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.There are some significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.There are frequent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.There are consistent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.
Answer reflection questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; consistently includes insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses, following or exceeding response length guidelines.Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; includes multiple insights, observations, and/or examples, following response length guidelines.Primarily demonstrates thoughtful reflection, but some responses are lacking in detail or insight; primarily follows response length guidelines.Shows limited reflection; the majority of responses are lacking in detail or insight, with some questions left unanswered or falling short of response length guidelines.No reflection responses are present.
The following requirements must be met for your submission to be graded:
- Composition must be 6-8 pages (approximately 1500-2000 words).
- Double-space the composition and use one-inch margins.
- Use a readable 12-point font.
- All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.
- Composition must be original and written for this assignment.
- Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
- Submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your composition.
- Include all of the assignment components in a single file.
- Acceptable file formats include .doc and .docx.
- Your annotated bibliography must be graded before your research essay draft will be accepted.
E. Additional Resources
The following resources will be helpful to you as you work on this assignment:
- Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Formatting and Style Guide
- This site includes a comprehensive overview of APA style, as well as individual pages with guidelines for specific citation types.
- Frequently Asked Questions About APA Style
- This page on the official APA website addresses common questions related to APA formatting. The “References,” “Punctuation,” and “Grammar and Writing Style” sections will be the most useful to your work in this course.
- APA Style: Quick Answers—References
- This page on the official APA Style website provides numerous examples of reference list formatting for various source types.