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ENG 111: College Composition I (Hughes-Loudoun)

Research tips for your term paper! Direct comments and questions to Eliza Selander,

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Term Paper

Purpose: This essay for English 111 represents a culmination and demonstration of your writing skills, technical knowledge of grammar and citation, and your ability to research and write on a specific topic.  It is important that you pay close attention to each of these details throughout your research and writing process.  Careful planning, note taking, and source tracking will make writing the paper much easier and far more enjoyable.

Words to Watch:

Academic Vocabulary – Words used in academic dialogue and texts; technical, professional.

Evidence-BasedInformation from informed, objective, and authoritative evidence.

Authoritative Reliable because it is coming from one who is an expert or properly qualified.

Discourse – Talking about something to reach a decision or to exchange ideas.

Rhetorical Writing – Writing in a manner that persuades an audience.

Rhetorical Reading – Reading rhetorically means attending carefully and intentionally to a text. 

Milestone – A significant point in a project; an interim or final goal.

Synthesize – To make or create something; combine steps into a finished product.

Skills: The skills that you will gain or improve during this assignment will help you develop the following abilities that are essential to your success in this course, in other classes, and in professional life beyond academics:

  • Develop skills that will allow you to get the most out of the things that you read.
  • Gain confidence in expressing what you understand from a text.
  • Develop academic vocabulary for academic discourse.
  • Develop and improve grammar skills for all your writing.
  • Develop and improve rhetorical writing skills.
  • Learn to incorporate sources for evidence-based argument or informative essay.
  • Learn and use Modern Language Association (MLA) formatting guidelines.
  • Build on writing skills and apply them to other assignments and classes.

Knowledge: This assignment will also help you to become familiar with the following important content knowledge in this discipline:

  • Develop reading skills as you read articles, textbooks, and evaluate other resources.
  • Learn to recognize writing techniques while you read that you can apply to your own written work.
  • Incorporate authoritative information into your work.


Me: (1) I will introduce, teach, and demonstrate the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) formatting guidelines. (2) I will arrange and facilitate a Library Introduction with a NOVA librarian via Zoom.  (3) I will review and demonstrate research techniques in class while you are working on your essay. (4) I will arrange and facilitate class time dedicated “Question and Answer” opportunities about the paper, research practice, review of assignment milestones, general progress “check-ins,” and “Zoom-Office” time specific to the Term Paper assignment.

You: (1) You will attend class regularly via Zoom to learn and develop the skills that you need to be successful with the assignment.  (2) You will attend the Library Orientation Zoom with the NOVA librarian. (3) You will fully research your topic with authoritative sources that will provide the evidence you need to synthesize a rhetorical argument. (4) You will build on the MLA guidelines that are introduced and taught in class. (5) You will follow the Criteria for Success for the completion of the essay.

Criteria for Success:

  • Meet ALL the assigned milestone dates.
  • Choose a topic that you are interested in and can successfully research and write your essay on.  Help in choosing at topic is available throughout the early stages of this process.
  • Incorporate your source information and evidence into your paper to support your argument.
  • Your essay must be 5 to 6 pages in length, not counting the works cited page. Additionally, photos, charts, graphs, etc. do not count toward to this page count.
  • You must use a minimum of two authoritative sources for the work.
  • The work must be typed / word processed and written in 12-point Times New Roman font, double spaced. The paper’s margins MUST be 1” top and bottom, and 1” left and right. There should NOT be any extra spaces between paragraphs or after titled points in the work.
  • The format for the essay, including, ALL in-text and works cited citations MUST be in the currently accepted MLA format.