Here is the copy of the study guide... Graded Writing Assignment Writing Skills: A Research Project
This assignment is intended to assist you in composing a personal research project, fulfilling the requirements for the second writing assignment in your Written Communication course. The assignment outlines your options for the project and describes what’s involved in completion of each option. It redefines the first-person point of view (which you mastered in completion of your first writing assignment in this course) and why it’s necessary. Finally, the assignment offers several different ideas for inclusion. If you need to do so, you may refer back to the graded writing assignment, Writing Skills: A Personal Narrative, to review the essential parts of an essay, as well as the steps of the writing process and assistance with grammar and mechanics. By the end of this assignment, you should be ready to submit your essay for grading. Preview Preview When you complete this assignment, you’ll be able to ■ Identify and effectively use the first-person point of view in conjunction with research ■ Use research to enhance ideas and opinions ■ Use resources to improve grammar and mechanics ■ Write a research paper without plagiarizing ■ Construct a personal research paper using MLA format
WRITING SKILLS: A RESEARCH PROJECT 1
WHAT IS A RESEARCH PROJECT? 1
YOUR OPTIONS 2 Option 1: Conducting an Interview 2 Option 2: Personal Take on Current Issues 3 Option 3: Planning a Career 3
WHY USE THE FIRST-PERSON POINT OF VIEW? 4
REVIEW: AVOIDING PLAGIARISM 4
ESSENTIALS: FORMATTING YOUR ESSAY 6
SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SUBMITTING 7
GRADING RUBRIC 9
For your second and final writing assignment in this course, you’re being asked to construct a variation of a personal essay, which can also be referred to as a research project. The essay that you produce must be based on a combination of personal experience(s) and research, it must be told primarily from the first-person point of view, and it must meet the given length requirement of 500 to 1,500 words. The essay that you write should be a direct response to one of the three prompts offered. It should offer your ideas and opinions and use research as support. This essay, much like the personal narrative, will be directed toward a general and unfamiliar audience—people who don’t know you personally. Your finished product should be completely original and contain research only as support for your established ideas. You should not rely on the results of your research to create your essay, but to support ideas of your own. This will help to ensure that your finished project is unique, credible, and ethical. WHAT IS A RESEARCH PROJECT?
A research project is exactly what its name implies: a project (in this case an essay) that utilizes research for support. In a very basic sense, all essays are personal, in that it’s impossible to avoid a personal opinion, even in the most objective writing; however, the research project must combine personal opinion with research to produce supported arguments and opinions.
Writing Skills: A Research Project
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While the author doesn’t need to hide his personal opinion, he must be sure to use appropriate and accurate research to support his or her ideas. Unlike the personal narrative, the research project requires more than the thoughts, feelings, ideas, and personal input of the author. The essay that you create should clearly state your ideas and opinions, and show the reasoning behind your opinions, as well as identify the ideas you’ve located to back your opinions through research. These ideas will work together to ultimately show your learned expertise and your authority to write on your chosen topic. Remember that using others’ opinions or ideas in your own words without giving the original author credit isn’t proper, even if you agree with them or feel that they best explain your own thoughts and feelings. When you include information obtained from research, you’re obligated to cite that information, giving full and deserved credit to the original author. Always remember that research should support your opinion and/or viewpoint; you should ensure that your ideas and opinions (not your researched information) are the main focus of your essay. YOUR OPTIONS
There are three distinct topic options for this particular assignment. While each of these options has specific requirements and expectations, there is also a great deal of freedom included with each. Because your essay is being created based on your opinions/ideas and research, no two completed essays will be exactly alike.
Option 1: Conducting an Interview
Choose a leading figure from the last 100 years (living or deceased) whom you would most like to interview. You won’t be performing an actual interview, but will be conducting research and predicting how your subject would answer your interview questions. You’ll be required to research your chosen individual and write a short biography that will, in essence, introduce this person to your audience.
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You’ll then pose five interview questions that you would like to ask this particular person. These should be questions that help to demonstrate the person’s beliefs and lifestyle; they shouldn’t be vague or general questions that won’t showcase the unique and special qualities of your chosen subject. Finally, based on what you’ve found out about this individual from your research, you’ll write the answers to those questions as you believe your subject would answer them. Option 2: Personal Take on Current Issues
Choose a current issue in local, national, or international news. Write an editorial piece explaining the issue and offering your opinions and any solutions you can think of that may apply. You’ll need to thoroughly research the issue at hand in order to provide a solid explanation of the issue, as well as informed opinions and solutions. You must be sure to provide an appropriate context for the issue you choose; the audience needs to understand why this is a problem that deserves consideration and why you feel your solutions can affect it. Part of your purpose is to convince your audience that your solutions are viable. Option 3: Planning a Career
Choose a career that you would like to pursue. You’ll need to thoroughly research your career choice. You should explain the career to your audience. Although an explanation of the career is certainly necessary, you must be sure to keep the focus of the essay on yourself and why you want to enter this particular career field; the focus shouldn’t be solely on the career field itself. Be sure to provide as much detail as possible about your career choice, including what a typical day or week would be like, what kind of salary you can expect, what the future looks like for employees in this field, and whether or not geography will affect job opportunities. Part of your purpose is to convince your audience that you’re making an informed choice, allowing you a chance at success in the job market.
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WHY USE THE FIRST-PERSON POINT OF VIEW?
When writing from the first-person point of view, you’re relaying your personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences and speaking for yourself only. You can make observations regarding others, but you’re not able to speak for them or truly know what they’re thinking. In the confines of your research project, you must write from the first-person point of view because the fundamental ideas on which your essay is based are your own. REVIEW: AVOIDING PLAGIARISM
All work submitted to Penn Foster High School for grading must be entirely original. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “to plagiarize” is “(a) to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one’s own; to use (another’s production) without crediting the source; (b) to commit literary theft; to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source.” While these definitions may seem harsh, plagiarism is a very serious offense, and harsh punishment may result from commission of this act. Blatant, direct copying of another’s words is plagiarism, but paraphrasing another author’s ideas is plagiarism as well. Plagiarism is the theft of words or ideas, often both. If you haven’t constructed the logic of your essay by yourself, if you’ve “borrowed” wording that you feel is well-done, or if you’re using another writer’s words and/or ideas to create your own work without giving credit to that writer, you’re likely committing plagiarism. The most surefire way to avoid plagiarism when writing a research paper is to start from scratch using the writing process. You should use prewriting and planning to map out your ideas before attempting to research your topic. Once you’ve completed your research, you should outline your ideas, including the relevant research you’ve found. Writing your first draft will be relatively simple if you dedicated time to writing a complete and detailed outline. Revising, editing,
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and proofreading will require the same skills you displayed when writing your first essay. As always, you’re encouraged to follow the directions in the assignment and rely upon your instructors to answer your questions. If any portion of your writing uses uncited ideas, phrasing, or structure from another source, or if you fail to cite a given source in your Works Cited after using parenthetical citations within the body of your essay, you’ll earn a failing grade of 1% for the exam. When a Penn Foster High School exam is found to contain plagiarism, the following steps are taken: ■ The exam in question is awarded a grade of 1%.
■ Upon posting of the grade, the student gains access to an instructor feedback file, which indicates where the exam content was found, provides an explanation of plagiarism, and extends a warning regarding possible disciplinary action.
■ The student is required to complete the retake assignment, constructing an entirely new essay. Please refer to the section on “Academic Integrity” on page 8 of your Penn Foster High School Student Handbook for more information.
This video clip provides information on specific types of plagiarism 10 Types of Plagiarism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EF5eFeJMplA If the direct link fails to work, go to youtube.com and type “10 Types of Plagiarism” into the search bar. Next, click on the video clip titled “10 Types of Plagiarism.”
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ESSENTIALS: FORMATTING YOUR ESSAY
■ Please be sure to include a header at the top of each page that includes your last name and a page number at the right margin.
■ The very first page of your essay shouldn’t contain a header, but it should include your name, your student ID number, and the exam number.
■ Your paper should be typed and double-spaced using Microsoft Word; it can be submitted in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format for grading purposes.
■ Use double-spacing, standard one-inch margins, and a font no larger than the equivalent of Times New Roman 12.
■ Your final draft should contain between 500 and 1,500 words.
■ Please save your document using your student number, the appropriate exam number, and your last name, all connected by underscore symbols. For example, if ***** *****’s student number was 23456789 and he had completed exam 007130, the file would be saved as 23456789_007130_Smith.
HELPFUL HINTS To create a header using MS Word, click on the Insert tab at the top of the page and then on the Header icon in your toolbar. Choose the blank header. While you’re still within the header, click on Insert again (if necessary) and then on Page Number. First choose the option to place the page number at the top of the page and then the option that will right-justify your page number. Once your page number is ***** place, type your last name immediately before it with a space in between. Once you click out of the header, your last name should be on each page along with the appropriate page number. To remove the header from the first page, once again click on the Insert tab at the top of the page and then on the Header icon in your toolbar. Click on Edit Header in the drop-down menu and finally on Different First Page.
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SOME QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER BEFORE SUBMITTING
Ask yourself all of the following questions before you even consider submitting your essay for grading. If your answer to even one of these questions is no, then you still have some work to do. ■ Does my introduction attempt to “hook” the reader?
■ Does my essay have a clear and specific thesis statement?
■ Does my essay accurately develop the ideas included in the chosen topic option?
■ Does my essay include both personal experience and research?
■ Have I used the first-person point of view (the pronoun “I”) throughout the essay?
■ Have I clearly indicated where paragraphs begin and end?
■ Does each of my paragraphs support my thesis statement?
■ Does my conclusion summarize and give closure to my essay?
■ Have I effectively proofread my essay?
■ Have I met the length requirement for this assignment?
■ Have I followed MLA style for including both parenthetical and end citations?
■ Have I included a Works Cited page?
■ Is my essay formatted according to the instructions? If you have answered yes to every question, you’re ready to submit!
Submitting Your Exam
1. Log on to the Student Portal. 2. Click on Take Exam next to the assignment you’ve completed. 3. Follow the instructions provided to submit your exam.
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You’ve received your second writing assignment for your Written Communication course in its entirety, as well as the information needed to complete that assignment! You’ve learned what a personal research project is, and you’ve been given the three topic options that you’re able to expand upon for this assignment. You’ve reviewed what the first-person point of view is and why it’s necessary, as well as the basic guidelines for avoiding plagiarism. You’re encouraged to revisit the graded writing assignment for Writing Skills: A Personal Narrative in order to review the essential parts of an essay (the introduction, the body, the conclusion, and voice), as well as steps of the writing process and resources to improve your skills in both grammar and mechanics. You’re now ready to begin your second and final writing project for this course. You have all of the information you need, so if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start writing!
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GRADING RUBRIC: EXAM 007130
Introduction (5 points): The essay establishes a specific topic and approach and sets an appropriate tone/mood for the rest of the essay. It engages the reader and creates interest.
5 4 3–2 1 0
Coherence and Unity (15 points): Ideas flow clearly and logically as the essay is developed. Each paragraph contains one main idea (with enough detail to develop that idea clearly and logically) and a connection to the ideas that precede and follow it. Clear transitions are present between sentences as well as between paragraphs. The author remains focused on the topic.
15–14 13–11 10–7 6–1 0
Support for Ideas (15 points): Adequate detail and accurate support are provided for each idea introduced. Specific, accurate, and relevant examples are used to show meaning. The essay does not simply make blanket claims without support. Quality sources (credible, accurate, reasonable, supported) are used effectively to enhance the author’s ideas.
15–14 13–11 10–7 6–1 0
Research and Citation (15 points): Research is used as effective support for the author’s ideas. Both parenthetical and end citations are correct and complete. No reference remains uncited.
15–14 13–11 10–7 6–1 0
MLA Formatting (5 points): Page numbers and headers are included and utilized correctly. 5 4 3–2 1 0
Sentence Structure (10 points): Sentences are varied in both structure and length. Sentences are complete, expressive, clear, and to the point. The essay includes no run-on sentences or fragments.
10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0
Spelling and Word Choice (10 points): The essay is free of spelling errors. Appropriate language is chosen for each situation, fitting the mood/tone set in the introduction. Word choice complements, rather than inhibits, clarity.
10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0
Punctuation (10 points): The essay is free of errors such as comma splices, misplaced commas, and inappropriate end punctuation. All punctuation is used correctly so as not to interfere with comprehension.
10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0
Grammar (10 points): The essay utilizes correct and consistent verb tenses, subject-verb agreement, and clear pronoun-antecedent agreement. Grammar errors don’t interfere with comprehension.
10–9 8–7 6–5 4–1 0
Conclusion (5 points): The conclusion provides adequate closure, reinforces the meaning/significance established in the introduction, and effectively wraps up the essay.
5 4 3–2 1 0