topic sentencessentences flow together smoothlytransitions effectively connect sentences W r i t i n g

topic sentencessentences flow together smoothlytransitions effectively connect sentences W r i t i n g

ESSAY LENGTH: This essay is worth 20% of your overall grade and will be evaluated as such. The minimum length of your essay is four double-spaced, typed pages (approximately 1000 words). The maximum page limit is eight double-spaced typed pages (approximately 2, 000 words). Although there is not a direct connection between the number of pages you write and the grade you earn, the more you write the more chances you give yourself to answer the question you have chosen. Below is a rough guideline to keep in mind as you are writing.

6 pages: you have written 50% more than the absolute minimum amount for the course essay requirement. If your essay is polished & well documented, you have given yourself a chance to cover enough material to earn a ‘A’ on this essay.

5 pages: you have written 25% more than the absolute minimum amount for the course essay requirement. If your essay is polished & well documented, you have given yourself a chance to cover enough material to earn a ‘B’ on this essay.

4 pages: you wrote the absolute minimum amount for the course essay requirement. If your essay is polished & well documented, you have given yourself a chance to cover enough material to earn a ‘C’ on this essay.

No essay of less than four pages (1,000 words) will be accepted.

At the end of your essay provide a WORD COUNT.

SOURCES: You are expected to utilize all of your class material to develop and support the points in your essay. The more references you make to class readings, lectures, discussions, & videos the better your essay will be documented.

  • Secondary Sources: your essay must make direct reference to at least two secondary sources from two different chapters of Worlds of History to support your argument. You should expect roughly a full letter grade deduction for each secondary source missing from your essay. Consider using some material from the documentaries we have used in class as additional secondary sources.
  • Primary Sources: your essay must make direct reference to at least four primary sources from two different chapters Worlds of History to support your argument. (Other primary sources will be considered with prior approval). You should expect roughly a full letter grade deduction for each primary source missing from your essay. Be sure you know how to identify a primary source.

MAPS, IMAGES, GRAPHS, & CHARTS AS SOURCES: other materials such as meaningful maps, images, illustrations, graphs, charts etc are excellent ways to demonstrate your points visually and show extra effort on your part. They do not count as pages.

  • You must utilize (and refer to) a meaningful map that places your essay into the context of world geography. Your map may be an original creation, or a cited copy of a map from a textbook or elsewhere. You can include any details you wish on your map, but keep in mind its purpose to help you introduce the reader to the main thesis of your essay.
  • Images: If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then why not add some images to your essay the help illustrate your points? Be sure to discuss the meaning of any images you select within your essay. Just don’t cut and paste some pictures in without using them for something.
  • Graphs, Charts & Tables: are an effective way to present quantitative data (numbers) that support your argument. Very few students include these, so they get noticed.

CITING MATERIALS: Various disciplines (Anthropology, Biology, History, English, Sociology etc…) have different ways of documenting where information comes from. In this class we will use a variation of Turabian/Chicago style, which is what historians use & we will use footnotes. See the following link for a basic Turabian Style Guide (Links to an external site.). For Microsoft Word users footnotes is as simple as selecting – insert reference, footnote. If you use another word processor we may need to chat.

Unless you and I have discussed it, ALL of your citations for this essay will come from the various primary and secondary sources in World’s of History. Be careful with it, as it is an edited work. Reilly is the author of the introductions to each document and the ‘reflections’ statements at the end of each chapter. Neither of which you should be referencing. But, with a couple of exceptions (Doc 1.1, and 9.1), Reilly is not the author. Your citations from the Reilly book will look something like this:

The proper way to cite a source from an edited work:

Virginia Hughes, “Were the First Artists Mostly Women?” in Worlds of History: A Comparative Reader, Volume 1, ed. Kevin Reilly (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), 5.

However, since you will not be using any materials not in Worlds of History without my explicit permission, you can simplify your citations to this:

First time using source:

Virginia Hughes, “Were the First Artists Mostly Women?” 5.

Each time thereafter:

Hughes, 5.

If the source has no author, use the document title

The Epic of Gilgamesh, 41.

Only insert footnotes after the period at the end of a sentence. You are expected to include a bibliography (do not include it in your word count/does not count as a page). Treat each document in Worlds of History as a separate bibliographic entry (source). If you utilize material on the web, cite it according to the Turabian Style Guide.

DRAFTING ESSAYS: This is a formal essay and I do not expect to see first or second drafts that have been hastily written the night before. One week before your essay is due we will have a required peer editing session. You will turn in your peer edited draft, along with your final draft. You should expect at least a full letter grade deduction if your essay does not have a peer edited draft submitted with it.

Choose one of the following questions to answer. Don’t forget to take a careful look at the grading rubric at the bottom of this page.

  1. In a paragraph of less than half of a page, describe the purpose of your major and introduce its connection to medieval history. End this paragraph with a one sentence thesis statement. Then, explain and analyze the 2-4 most relevant issues in medieval history for your major. What are the issues? Why are they important to your major? How does having an understanding of these issues make you a better ____ major? Conclude your essay with a statement on your understanding of the connections between your major and medieval history.

    If you are undeclared …

  2. The Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has functioned as a catalyst for many types of changes (environmental, economic, cultural/social, political, etc.) at every level imaginable (global, national, and individual); and it is unclear whether we are closer to the introduction or the conclusions of the changes. In what ways has studying medieval history helped you process/gain perspective on what you have lived through since spring 2020?
  3. Pick a (contemporary?) issue/subject you already know something about and would like to understand better. In what ways has the material we covered provided you with any insight on the matter. Have you found your ability to study history a useful and practical skill?
  4. Consider the entire span of time between 500 CE-1500 CE During this period, did [insert your thesis statement/historical question here]? Support your argument with specific examples from the readings and viewings and propose a theory that explains why you think this change occurred as it did. (If you go this route, I want to clear your thesis statement/historical question in advance.)
  5. Describe and analyze the most important change that occurred at the global level between 500 CE-1500 CE. Be sure to briefly explain your selection process. Conclude your essay with an argument emphasizing why understanding the history of the change you selected might be important for understanding the present.

Your essays will be graded in accordance with the following rubric.

Content (Approximately 50%)

  • Word Count
  • Addressed question
  • Strong thesis
  • Thoughtful introduction
  • Creative and strong conclusion
  • Topic sentences linked to thesis
  • Balance of descriptive content (what happened) and analytical content (why it is important)
  • Sufficient evidence to prove points
  • Use of map to convey sense of geography
  • Adequate number of citations from:
    • At least four primary sources from Worlds of History
    • At least two secondary sources from World of History
    • Other course readings
    • Class Videos
    • Class Notes
    • The Optional Readings
  • Demonstrate an understanding of chronology
  • Use of terminology introduced in class
  • Demonstrate a command of the material covered in class
  • Demonstrate an understanding of historical interpretation
  • Bibliography included

Writing (Approximately 40%)

  • Use of topic sentences
  • Sentences flow together smoothly
  • Transitions effectively connect sentences and paragraphs
  • Fragments and run-ons do not mar work
  • Paragraphs used appropriately
  • Limited misspellings.
  • Proper citation system
  • Evidence of “essay drafting” (Peer Review)

Miscellaneous (Approximately 10%)

A few miscellaneous comments from the person who is going to grade your essay

    • Although there are many ways to do it, most of your essays would benefit from a statement in the first paragraph that begins “In this essay I will demonstrate….” and then you need to remember to stick to that statement as you proceed through your essay. Pick something to prove and work with your sources to illustrate your points. Follow this link for review on how to write an argumentative essay (Links to an external site.)from the writing lab at Purdue University
    • Your essay should be organized as a discussion of the historical evidence, both primary and secondary, we have looked at this semester. Make sure you understand what a primary and secondary source is. Don’t just mention the evidence or footnote it — discuss it. And make sure your evidence gets beyond a single chapter in your texts.
    • Wikkipedia, or any other encyclopedia/dictionary, is NOT a source. It is a good place to start learning about your topic, but I do not expect to see it in your footnotes unless you are
      • 1. comparing the encyclopedia entry to our other sources for intellectual purposes
      • 2. intentionally trying to give me signals that you did not do the assigned readings.
    • When grading your essays I often check the footnotes first and evaluate your discussion of the sources before reading your essay. Make sure that discussion is there.
    • I expect you to write every word of your essay that is not in quotes. Copying and pasting ANY material from the internet as your own writing or from one of your texts will result in a zero on this assignment.
    • If you have more to say than the max. page limit allows — then revise and wordsmith. Say more with less — that is what separates the A’s from the B’s. And I stop reading after 2,000 words of text (eight pages).

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