A discovery draft is a great opportunity to figure out what you know, and what you still need to find out, in order to build a real research essay. This is a very informal assignment, and what you submit will not be judged in terms of length, grammar, presentation, or even content. I simply want to see that you have spent one solid hour working on your research project. This quiz will record your time.
Everyone’s submissions will look very different, and that’s fine. Remember, this is primarily to serve your own needs, so decide for yourself what your top priority is right now.
Word count is the name of the game, here. If the document you submit reaches 1000 or more words, then you’ll get full credit for the assignment. If it doesn’t, you won’t get any credit.
This assignment is intended to build directly off of the other work you’ve already done in preparing to write the Research Essay. You’re welcome to incorporate any text you’ve already written during the Discovery Draft, any of the discussion forums we’ve done so far, or any other assignment for this class.
I will encourage you to be keeping some kind of notes to yourself as you work, in terms of citation. You don’t have to have complete in-text citation yet, but you’ll thank yourself later if you include which source you’re using when you use it. Putting notes like (Source 1) or (McMillan source) is fine. Or you can go ahead and do the whole MLA in-text citation, if you prefer.
Since this is a working draft, feel free to stop at certain points and make notes to yourself. Skipping around in the order of things is perfectly fine, too. Just put something like “insert more research about population changes here” and keep rolling. It helps if these notes are a different color, font, or size than the rest of the draft, just so you don’t get confused.
I won’t be reading these for content, only to check that they reach the assigned word count. If you have questions about anything you’ve written, please note them at the top of the draft or message me about them separately.
2000-word Draft for Peer Review (as a Discussion Forum)
Instead of submitting your draft to a dropbox, we’ll be sharing it in a discussion forum. You’ll be getting comments from your group members on your draft this time.
This discussion assignment has 2 graded components, and 2 due dates.
The 2000 word draft will be due Monday.
Your replies to ALL other members of your group will be due the following Friday.
Word count is the name of the game, here. If the document you submit reaches 2000 or more words, then you’ll get full credit for that component of the assignment. If it doesn’t, you won’t.
Drafts are supposed to be a mess, so don’t worry too much if yours isn’t perfect yet. Yes, you’ll be sharing them with several other people next week, but theirs will be messy, too. You’ll have a very sympathetic audience, believe me. Don’t worry about the formalities of editing or formatting yet. In-text citation isn’t necessary, either, but I would like to see SOME indication of sources as they are used in the draft. Putting notes like (Source 1) or (McMillan source) is fine. Or you can go ahead and do the whole MLA in-text citation, if you prefer.
Since this is a working draft, feel free to stop at certain points and make notes to yourself, or ask questions of the people who will be reading it. Skipping around in the order of things is perfectly fine, too. Just put something like “insert more research about population changes here” and keep rolling. It helps if these notes are a differentcolor, font, or size than the rest of the draft, just so we don’t get confused.
Unlike earlier drafts, we will be sharing this version with others for Peer Review in the next module. While this is still considered a rough draft, it should have a little more polish to it, since you’ve had time to comb through the versions you’ve already done for a bit of refinement.
No late work will be accepted for the rough draft posting. If you don’t have a draft that reaches the minimum word count before the deadline, I encourage you to go ahead and submit what you have. You won’t get credit for this assignment, but you will be eligible to get feedback from others next week, and earn points for reviewing theirs.
You’ve been assigned to a group based on the Peer Review Sign-up Sheet you all completed recently. Click the link to remember who’s in your group. The peer review responses for ALL group members will need to be submitted before midnight, FRIDAY.
You are not required to comment directly on your group members’ drafts, though you are welcome to. Please use the “Comment” feature rather than changing their text in the essay body, so that it’s clear where your comments appear. To comment using Google Docs, highlight the passage you’d like to comment on, and right-click your mouse. You will see the option for “comment” to appear. (This is what I do when I grade your essays.)
You ARE required to complete the following questionnaire for all of your group members who submitted a draft on time. Reply to their post with the answers to the following questions.
Reviews can be completed, even if you didn’t submit your own draft. Reviews are half of the point value for this assignment.
PEER REVIEW QUESTIONNAIRE
- After reading your partner’s draft, do you feel that the introduction was effective? What specifically made it effective? What could be changed to make it more effective?
- Overall, what is your general impression of this draft? Did you find this essay interesting and engaging? Please explain. Also, how could the writer improve the draft, generally speaking? How could it be expanded to meet the final page requirement? Please offer at least two specific suggestions.
- Do you consider this draft to be persuasive (meaning that it makes a clear, logical argument)? Please explain. If you don’t feel this draft is persuasive, what specific suggestions do you have for the writer to make it more so?
- Looking carefully, find at least two confusing sections of the draft. This may be at the word, sentence, or paragraph level. For example, perhaps you found an incorrect word or odd punctuation, or maybe a few sentences are awkward or too long. Describe why you found each of these particular sections confusing and offer concrete suggestions to help clarify the writing.
- What is your favorite aspect of this draft and why? What was the most interesting thing you learned by reading this draft?
- What aspect of this draft do you feel needs the most attention and development before it is finished? Why do you feel this way?
- Comment on the use of sources in this draft. Does the draft have clear in-text citations in every place it seems to need them? If not, point out a couple of spots that will need them before the final draft. Did you feel convinced by the authority of the sources used? Point to one or two areas of the paper where more explanation about the sources, or context of the material quoted/paraphrased, could be used.
- Any other comments? Please include them as well.
By now, you should have a pretty good idea of what the research essay needs. But here’s a recap of the most important requirements:
- Present a persuasive thesis, which takes a stand on a particular issue and attempts to bring readers into agreement with that thesis.
- Be in the range of 2500-3000 words. A little more is fine, but must meet that minimum threshold to be considered successful.
- Utilize at least 7 outside sources, of any type. Those sources should be high-quality and present the best information or opinions available on the matter at hand. At least one of those sources should adopt a viewpoint which is different from your thesis.
- Include at least 2 visual elements: 1 chart/table/graph & 1 photo/image/drawing. Those visual elements should include captions as well as explanations in the essay of the text, and be properly cited.
- Follow a clear structure designed to have the most positive impact on your thesis.
- Follow MLA page formatting and citation guidelines (in-text and Works Cited).
You have a lot of leeway for tailoring these essays to your individual subject matter’s needs. The primary goal is to be persuasive, and whatever supports that goal is up to you.