For this project, you will inform a specific audience about a problem or issue you care about and that you believe your audience needs to know about or understand. As suggested by Yagelski in CHAPTER 17 of Writing: Ten Core Concepts, in an informative essay, your “primary purpose is to convey information or ideas as clearly and effectively as possible” (543). Because your purpose is to inform your audience, you will NOT weigh in with your own views or opinions about the issue or problem (you will get the opportunity to argue in favor of your views in Writing Project 4: Argument). Instead, you will focus on demonstrating your comprehensive understanding of the issue from all angles and clearly analyzing and explaining the scope and significance of the issue to your intended audience.
The problem, issue, or controversy you write about should be the same one you researched for the Annotated Bibliography. This topic must be derived from the CORE READINGS in one of two ways: it must either be inspired by one of the core readings or it must relate to the theme of the core readings selected by your instructor.
Step 1 of CHAPTER 17 (as well as Step 1 of CHAPTER 3) will guide you as you continue to refine the problem, issue, or controversy you will examine and the research question(s) you will answer based on the rationale in your Annotated Bibliography. Besides CHAPTER 17, you should also consult Learning Activities in Class Sessions 8 and 9 and the Session 7 & Session 8 discussion to deepen your thinking and prepare for your first draft.
Examine rhetorical context
For this project, you will select a relevant audience based on the problem or issue you are writing about. Thus, your audience should NOT merely be your instructor and other members of the class. Instead, you will consider WHO needs to know about this issue and WHY this audience needs this information. To develop a rhetorical context for this project, specifically describe your Time, Place, and Purpose from Step 2 in CHAPTER 3 as well as the questions about Audience in Step 2 of CHAPTER 17. What you write for Step 2 will be your situation analysis, which you will submit as part of your first draft, due in Class Session 9. See Assignment Specifics, below, for information on writing the situation analysis.
Select a medium
Your medium for this project will be a formal academic manuscript and must meet the guidelines listed below. Instruction on these guidelines can be found in CHAPTERS 24 or 25 of our textbook and at the Purdue OWL website (links in Resources).
Minimum 1000 words for the first draft; minimum 1250 words for the final draft; both drafts double-spaced in 12-point Times New Roman font
Formatted according to either APA or MLA style (as specified by your instructor)
Use of correct in-text citations of any ideas or information borrowed from sources
A formal list of all sources (References list for APA or Works Cited list for MLA) used, following APA or MLA style.
Step 4 of CHAPTER 17 will guide you as you further develop your purpose for informing your audience, based on your examination the sources you collected and used for the Annotated Bibliography. In this step, you will shape a Guiding Thesis Statement for your draft to help you sum up the main point of your project. Analyze the rationale and research question(s) you explored in your Annotated Bibliography and the situation analysis you wrote for Step 2 to examine what you know and what your audience needs to know. This step will also refer you to Step 4 in CHAPTER 3, which provides additional information on creating and revising your Guiding Thesis Statement.
Note that you should NOT take a position or stance on the problem or controversy itself. Instead, you should develop a thesis statement presenting a clear, specific, and thoughtful answer to your question(s) that comprehensively reflects the research you’ve found.
Back up what you say
In this step, you will begin to write a first draft for this project, due in Class Session 9. This draft isn’t complete, though, until you’ve applied ideas you developed in Step 6.
To back up what you say, you will examine the information and ideas contained in the sources you collected and evaluated in your Annotated Bibliography, looking for evidence from those sources to support your Guiding Thesis Statement. Step 5 in CHAPTER 17 will guide you as you examine your sources and select your evidence.
As you use evidence from your sources, remember that you are expected to blend and compare information and ideas from other sources, a practice of writing called synthesis, defined by Yagelski as “the combining of two or more separate ideas, themes, or elements into a coherent new idea” (179). Thus, to inform your audience, you will not simply report on each source individually (like you did in the Annotated Bibliography); rather, you will combine information and ideas from a number of sources to communicate an informative message of your own about the topic. CHAPTER 19, pp. 641-645, offers instruction on how to effectively synthesize information from multiple sources.
You must use at least 5 sources, at least 4 of which are found from the Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases, using quotations and/or paraphrases from your sources to support your thesis statement. The 5th source, and any additional sources, may be a database source, a core reading from the Core Readings folder, or a reputable source of some other type (open Web source, video, podcast, personal interview, etc.). No print sources may be used without instructor approval. Although your Annotated Bibliography should supply most of the sources you need, you may also find and use new credible and relevant sources if you need them to sufficiently answer your research question(s). In your essay, sources should be discernible from each other, and your own writing voice should be discernible from those of the sources.
Use at least 10 quotations and/or paraphrases from your sources. ALL quotations and paraphrases, no matter how many you use, and ALL sources used, must be correctly cited following APA or MLA style guidelines (as specified by your instructor).
Establish form and structure
Follow this step to develop your organizational strategy for your composition.
TURN IT IN: After you have applied your organizational strategy to your first draft, you’re ready to submit your situation analysis and first draft in Class Session 9. See Assessment Specifics, below, for information on completing and turning in the first draft and situation analysis.
Students will conduct peer response in Class Session 10, where you will find instructions on how to conduct peer response.
After you receive feedback from your peers in class, you will need to review this feedback and develop a strategy for how to apply that feedback to a revision of your first draft.
Follow this step to revise your first draft. Keep in mind that your revision of the first draft should incorporate peer response feedback you received from your peers as well as guidance offered in Step 8 of CHAPTER 17.
Along with your final draft, you will submit a cover letter, describing and explaining the feedback you received from your peers and how you revised your first draft based on that feedback and on Step 8. See Assignment Specifics, below, for information on writing the cover letter.
Strengthen your voice
In this step, you will think about and make changes to your draft based on language choices: developing your voice, tone, and writing style in the draft. CHAPTER 19 of Writing: Ten Core Concepts offers a number of stylistic considerations. These kinds of changes may also be discussed in your cover letter.
Make it correct
In this step, you will look for errors in grammar, punctuation, and spelling and correct them. You will also look to confirm that you correctly cited your sources and correctly formatted your draft according to APA or MLA style and make any necessary corrections. Do NOT discuss these kinds of changes in your cover letter.
TURN IT IN: After you applied this step, you’re ready to submit your cover letter and final draft in Class Session 11. See Assessment Specifics, below, for information on completing and turning in the final draft and cover letter.
FINAL DRAFT – Due in Class Session 11 (135 points)
Cover Letter Specifics
· Minimum 200 words (successful cover letters are often longer)
· Address letter to your instructor
· Describe and explain feedback you received from your peers and how you revised your first draft based on that feedback
· Describe and explain content you have changed to address Step 8 above, to improve the composition, and to appeal to your audience
· Discuss any problems you encountered in your revisions and how you solved them
· Place the cover letter at the beginning of your first draft, before the first page of your actual composition; delete the situation analysis
Final Draft Specifics
· An essay informing the audience about some aspect of an issue, problem, or controversy related to the CORE READINGS, using and synthesizing ideas, concepts, information, and viewpoints found in 5 or more sources to support the thesis
· Clearly developed thesis statement focused on informing an audience about an significant aspect of the issue, problem, or controversy
· Objective and accurate representation of the ideas and information examined
· Accurate and well-reasoned interpretation and synthesis of the information and ideas discovered about the controversy or issue
· Use of at least 5 relevant and credible sources; at least 4 must be found using Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases. (No Print Sources.)
· Use of evidence from sources (at least 10 quotations and/or paraphrases), clearly discernible from each other and from the writer’s voice and cited using correct in-text citations
· APA or MLA manuscript style, as specified by your instructor, with in-text citations and a References or Works Cited list including ALL sources used. (References or Works Cited list does not count in the minimum word-count requirement)
· Awareness of diverse audiences and use of respectful, inclusive language
· Observation of the conventions of Standard English
· 1250 words minimum for final draft (the minimum 200 words for the cover letter is not included in this count)
Final Draft Rubric
Effective cover letter, describing peer feedback and explaining how peer feedback was implemented
Clear guiding thesis focused on informing a specific audience about a relevant and important aspect of the issue, problem, or controversy derived from the core readings
Introduction reveals the issue examined and attempts to express its relevance to the audience. Conclusion effectively summarizes the content and conveys the significance of the central thesis to the audience.
Organization is supported with helpful and effective transitions and with coherent arrangement.
Effective Informational Strategies
Effective explanation of a specific and relevant aspect of an issue, problem, or controversy; accurately and objectively summarizing, interpreting, and connecting prevailing viewpoints; moving beyond simple listing/summarizing of sources; effectively synthesizing information from various perspectives without taking a side; using sufficient, well-chosen evidence; presenting and interpreting valuable information with the needs of a specific audience in mind; establishing the ethos of a credible guide.
Sources and citations
Use of at least 5 relevant and credible sources, at least 4 found using the Ivy Tech Virtual Library databases. No print sources. Use of at least 10 quotes or paraphrases from sources. Evidence is effectively and accurately represented and cited using correct APA or MLA in-text citations. Sources are discernible from each other and the writer’s voice is discernible from those of the sources.
Voice, tone, and stance are appropriate and effective for material, purpose, and audience. Style is clear, consistent, and cohesive, appealing appropriately to the intended audience. Language used demonstrates awareness of diverse audiences. Respectful language is used when discussing cultural differences.
Clear control of language conventions with few distracting typos or errors
Correct document format in APA or MLA style, as specified by the instructor, including correct References page (APA) or Works Cited page (MLA)
NOTE: Proportional points may be deducted for final drafts that do not meet minimum word counts.