You should develop your essay as described in the reading in Chapter 5 of Writing from Sources and section C2 of A Writer’s Reference. A five- to eight-paragraph essay with the following structure will work very well for this assignment:
1. An introduction that includes a thesis statement.
2. A summary of the article you’ve chosen.
3. An analysis of the principles the article is based on.
4. Your own reasons for disagreeing with the author. This section should be the most substantial part of the essay and may need to be more than one paragraph.
5. A conclusion that restates the thesis statement.
6. A separate works cited page (provided).
Because you are writing for an audience that has not read the article you’ve chosen, you will need to be especially careful with the summary. Use the strategies you’ve learned to craft your summary of the article without plagiarizing, meaning that your summary must include the author’s name, and any borrowed language must be marked with quotation marks. The best summaries will also include a topic sentence that explains how the summary relates to the rest of your essay, credentials for the author, and multiple signal phrases.
An essay that meets all the above criteria, makes sense, and has very few (if any) grammatical or spelling errors is a “C.” Because this is not a timed assignment, you are expected to spend as long editing and proofreading your work as it takes for it to meet adult literacy standards. The highest grade an essay with multiple sentence-level errors can earn on this assignment is 50%.
Essays that earn higher grades will not only meet the above criteria but also be well written and persuasive. Titles that are both descriptive and creative, hooks to get the audience’s attention, transitions at the beginning of and within paragraphs, strong thesis statements and topic sentences, and conclusions that give the reader something to think about are all good ways of improving your essay. Another good way is by making sure that your ideas are original, insightful, make logical sense, and directly address the problem discussed by the author of the article you’ve chosen. An essay that meets all the criteria and is also well written through the use of these strategies is a “B.” An essay that meets all the criteria and is also persuasive is also a “B.” An essay that meets all the criteria, is well written, and is persuasive is an “A.”