Week 3 Discussion Forum

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Welcome to this week’s Discussion Forum (DF).  Please post your responses by Saturday, January 2.  No peer response is required. 

IMPORTANT:  You must answer ALL questions for credit.  THERE IS NO PARTIAL CREDIT!  Where indicated, write at least 250 words.  Post the word counts for all of your answers.   

1.  By now, you have a pretty solid grasp of Essay 2, at least having completed your Research Proposal and Bibliography.  You may need to make some changes for your final draft, but most likely you know your direction.  Now is the time, before you polish your final draft and submit it, to make sure it’s well organized, cohesive, and engaging. 

“Paragraph Structure” (in Organizing Your Ideas), notes, “Each paragraph is a self-contained portion of your argument. Each paragraph will begin by making a claim (the topic sentence) that connects back to the thesis.”  Again, you’re writing a narrative — telling a story for the purpose of moving your audience — rather than writing an argument; however, the rules of paragraph structure still apply.  Instead of making a claim, just make sure each body paragraph connects to your thesis and pushes your story forward.  Your conclusion should be satisfying.  It should leave your audience with a good understanding of why you told the story in the first place.  Beware of merely restating your thesis.  Try to leave your audience with something more to think about, the moral of your story, or even a projection of where the story might have gone if it hadn’t ended where it did.  When it comes to conclusions, there are many ways of restating the thesis.  For sure, don’t do it verbatim. 

For a 2000-word essay, you should have about 12-16 paragraphs.  Do the following to ensure that your paragraphs constitute a well-organized paper (and to answer this question):

  • List your final thesis statement
  • List the topic sentences for each of your body paragraphs
  • List the topic sentence for your conclusion 

Read this list to make sure the topic sentences connect to the thesis like they’re supposed to.  Also check that they flow well.  Do they need to be switched around?  Do they indicate that you will express an appropriate number of ideas in the paragraphs?  If not, you may need to divide a topic into more than one paragraph.  For your concluding topic sentence, does it convey that the end is near without using tired words like, “In conclusion”?

  • If you make any changes to the above topic sentences, re-do the list here.

2.  Now go through your paper for variation, according to Keeping Your Writing Engaging.  Which of the 7 options for variation did you employ, and why?

3.  Write your conclusion.  (Write at least 250 words.)

4.  Essay 2 requires you to quote at least three sources.  Choose one of your sources and answer the following questions about it: 

  • What is the MLA bibliographic citation for your source?
  • How did you go about the process of finding this source?  What search terms did you use?
  • Is it scholarly or popular?
  • Is it a primary or secondary source?
  • How do you know your source does not suffer from “author bias”?

5.  Quote a section from your source as a block quotation.

6.  How does an in-text citation differ from an entry on a Works Cited page?  What is the purpose of having both in a research paper?

7.  What does an MLA in-text citation include in the parenthesis when the source is quoted directly and the author’s name is not mentioned in the text?

8.  What does an MLA in-text citation include in the parenthesis when the source is quoted directly and the author’s name is mentioned in the text?

9.  Which of the following is cited correctly in MLA style? A, B, C or D?

A.  Smith and Brown stress that “the importance of African independence in [the] current cultural  context” cannot be underestimated (1991, p 270).

B.  Smith and Brown stress that “the importance of African independence in [the] current cultural context” cannot be underestimated (271).

C.  Smith and Brown (1996) stress that “the importance of African independence in [the] current cultural context” cannot be underestimated (p. 271).

D.  Smith and Brown stress that “the importance of African independence in [the] current cultural context” (271) cannot be underestimated.

Pay attention:  Question 3 requires at least 250 words.