Institutional Hubris (GMO food labeling law did not go through)
Read the following instructions carefully, and follow them thoroughly.
(Failure to follow these instructions may result in a grade reduction or, in extreme cases, an “F” on the paper.)
Required Formatting: Carefully review A Writer’s Reference pg. 55 and MLA-5 – Manuscript format. Papers must conform to this MLA formatting.
MINIMUM OF FIVE (5) VARIED (i.e. not all web sites) SOURCES of EVIDENCE in English.
You are required to keep a folder with all of your source material (printouts, photocopies, etc) and be prepared to provide proof of your source material (if requested) to verify the authenticity of your paper.
You must submit BOTH a hard copy AND electronic copy (via the Dropbox) by the stated deadline.
PLAGIARISM: All papers are screened for plagiarism. Plagiarism is a severe matter. Using others’ ideas, writing, commentary, terms, etc., REQUIRES citation in MLA format. Failure to do so is plagiarism. (See the MLA section of A Writer’s Reference.) Plagiarism also consists of having someone else write your paper for you. If your paper has been found to contain plagiarism you will receive an F, the incident will be reported to the Campus Disciplinarian, and you are likely to fail the course since the Research Paper is the most heavily weighted assignment. Please do not take any risks; write a paper that consists of your own good ideas and assertions with support from credible, fully cited sources of evidence.
Topic: Institutional Hubris
Hubris is defined as excessive pride or arrogance. This trait, however, is not limited to individuals; it can be argued that an institution can exhibit hubris, especially when its systems protect or condone actions that place the institution above the moral or ethical standards to which others are normally held. For your research paper, choose a system or institution – e.g. corporate, military, education, government, religious, entertainment, politics, sports – in which hubristic attitudes and behaviors have had significant consequences. Be sure to focus your topic on a particular institution and event (historical or contemporary) and formulate an argument that you can support with solid research.
1) should be focused, but not too narrow for a research paper;
2) is one about which you can construct reasonable and persuasive arguments;
3) is one you’re interested in exploring;
4) is an issue about which you have not yet written.
Guidelines on writing an effective Research Paper
(For required Prep Work see dates and steps further below.)
1. Brainstorm: From the list above, choose the issue you’re most interested in. Then do a brainstorm to narrow down the topic to some current aspect of that issue that you’d like to explore. (Keep a copy of all of your brainstorming in case you need to return to it later.)
2. Pose questions: Read section R1-a in A Writer’s Reference. Follow those guidelines to help you begin brainstorming questions; this will help you to narrow the topic further and formulate an argument. Note: Your thesis will not be a question! Your thesis will be your answer to a focused question you have posed in this phase of your preliminary work. (See Hacker/Sommers for details and examples.) For further help, refer to: Moving From Assignment To Topic and Developing a Thesis [Harvard Writing Center].
3. Formulate your main thesis: Your central thesis should be focused, specific, arguable, and unified. The subject and your opinion or insight about it should be clear.
4. Plan your research strategy: see A Writer’s Reference section R1-b through g. We also will discuss this in class.
5. Locate sources and begin your preliminary research to help you further develop your supporting claims and refine your thesis. Remember to carefully evaluate sources throughout your research process. Continue this back and forth (research, brainstorming, refining arguments) until you have a solid foundation.
6. Draft an outline with a working thesis.
7. Conduct more focused research and revise your outline. Remember to keep copies of all of your sources in a folder.
8. Draft your paper. Remember you have many useful rhetorical methods (examples, compare-contrast, analogy, etc.) you can use to develop your paragraphs. See Essay 2 for a sample list and see Hacker C4-c.
9. Revise. Revise. Revise. Peer review, and revise again. Check your paper against the Research Paper Grading Criteria (below).
10. Proofread. Use A Writer’s Reference to help you check MLA formatting, citation, grammar, evidence integration, etc.
11. Turn in a paper you can be proud of.
Excellent RESEARCH Resource Links: SMC Library: Research Resources. This page is a directory of links to assist your research, including this Seven Step Guide to Library Research (which is a great place to begin), information about databases, Research Topic Resources, and much more.
For assistance beyond the classroom, remember to use the other resources available to you: The Harvard Writing Center, the OWL at Purdue Web site, and A Writer’s Reference. (See the “Useful Links” page at left.)
RP GRADING CRITERIA
Does the approach to the topic have substance; is it worthwhile?
Does the thesis make clear the author’s arguable claim?
Does the thesis reveal the author’s reasoning? The author’s purpose?
Is the thesis focused and specific (neither broad nor vague)?
Does the thesis avoid the pitfall of making dogmatic or unsupportable claims?
Does the Research Paper make its arguments/persuasive assertions using sound reasoning?
Does the author avoid logical fallacies in making his/her assertions?
Is there sufficient and varied evidence to support the author’s arguments?
Is the evidence relevant to the assertions/major points of the Research Paper?
Are the author’s insights relevant and compelling? Does the commentary clarify any ambiguous relationships between assertions and the evidence?
Does the author rationally address potential counter-arguments without dwelling on them?
Does the author use appropriate rhetorical methods to persuasively advance his/her case?
Does the author avoid recycled/redundant assertions?
Does the paper build its arguments by making points that clearly relate to the thesis?
Is evidence well integrated into the paragraphs in a relevant, cohesive way?
Does each paragraph have a purpose relevant to the thesis?
Does the beginning set reader expectations that will be fulfilled by the Research Paper?
Does the conclusion provide a compelling, relevant summation; does it avoid introducing new topics or rehashing previously stated observations?
Does the author use transitions and his/her own commentary to guide the reader and create clear relationships between his/her points?
Do the ideas logically and coherently flow from one to another?
Is the tone rational and reasonable? Is it consistent?
Does the author use signal phrases to introduce quotes or paraphrasing?
Are the sentences clear and concise? Is word choice appropriate throughout?
Is the Research Paper sufficiently descriptive and specific (avoids excessive abstraction)?
Is the vocabulary sophisticated (college-level), yet appropriate to the subject?
Are sentences varied in length & structure?
Are verbs and sentence construction active (not passive)?
Is the point of view consistent?
Are sources attributed using MLA formatting, within the text and on the Works Cited page?
Has the author taken care to correct spelling, punctuation & grammar errors? Has the paper been carefully proofread?
Does the Research Paper follow the formatting requirements re: font, spacing, etc.?
Please note: Papers with serious and pervasive errors in grammar, syntax, word choice and spelling may not receive a passing grade.