Specific Instructions for Analytical Essays (Modules 1-3)
All essays for this course are designed to provide you with the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to interpret both primary and secondary source material and draw conclusions from the assigned materials.
All essays submitted in this course should be standard 5-paragraph essays. Every paragraph should have a strong topic sentence. These assignments should be written in a formal, academic style of language, not “street talk,” and should be written consistently in the third person.
Analytical essays are based on the analysis and interpretation of a specific scholarly article written by a recognized authority on the topic. In each of these articles, the author takes a position in answer to a question and makes an argument in defense of his/her position. (Module 1, 2, and 3 essays will be analytical essays.)
Why did this author write this article? What question did he/she attempt to answer?
How had the author determined there was a problem?
After the author determined a problem (the question he/she wanted to answer, how did the author proceed to investigate the matter? What sources did he/she consult?
Avoid using quotations from the article in these essays. If you feel that you absolutely must use a quotation, you must then follow it with a complete interpretation of what it meant.
Parts of Your Analytical Essay
All of these things are elements of a good essay. Include these elements and you are well on your way to an exceptional paper.
Open with an interesting statement, a “Grabber” (1-2 sentences): The Grabber should be a quick sentence or two that “grabs” the reader’s attention. Do not use profanity, i.e. “DAMN! Thomas Jefferson kicked ass!” However, coming up with an attention-grabbing opener is a key to a good paper.
If the essay is an analysis of a specific article, the introduction must include the complete name of the author, the full title of the article, and the source, if known. The introduction must include the author’s thesis. What is the primary argument presented here? What big question did the author attempt to answer in writing this paper? Hint: Look at the title that the author has chosen. This is often a clue as to the author’s thesis.
Do not say that you are going to say something in papers no longer than these essays. In other words, do not write in your introduction, “In this essay, I will explain why there should be a national holiday honoring Christopher Columbus.”
The body has a minimum of 3 paragraphs – Each paragraph should begin with a topic sentence.
Here are some important reminders as you build the body of your essay:
What evidence does the author use to back up his thesis? (Don’t cherry-pick random information here and there. What evidence did you find most important or compelling?
Be specific. Don’t speak in vague or general terms. Focus on this particular article.
How did this information (evidence) back up the author’s main point (thesis)?
Has the author omitted important information?
Tie all of your descriptive information back to the author’s thesis!
– one paragraph –
Avoid beginning with: “In conclusion,”
Go back to the author’s thesis; Did he prove his thesis? Why or why not? If not, how do you disagree with him/her? You must provide concrete evidence if you disagree. How does his information compare to that presented in the text?
Saving your file
You must save your file with your last name and the essay number. It must be saved in Microsoft Word 365, which the college is giving you at no charge. If your last name is Smith, for example, your essay will be saved as: Smithessay1.docx
I will not accept any essays submitted in Open Documents, WordPerfect, or other programs.
Include a Header
For all History papers, the header, on the upper left side should be single-spaced and contain this type of information:
Mary Smith (Your Name)
History 2030 – Spring 2022- Professor’s Name
January 16, 2022 – Essay 1
Don’t lose points for simply NOT FOLLOWING the Instructions. My Essay Requirements are somewhat different from those used and accepted by other instructors.
You should use these general instructions for all essays submitted to the Dropbox as well as the test essays which will be typed in Quiz box that is provided.
Definition of an Essay for this Course: Frederick Crews, professor of English at the University of California at Berkeley, defines an essay as “a fairly brief piece of nonfiction that tries to make a point in an interesting way.”
An essay is nonfiction. An essay is fairly brief. While writers will sometimes refer to the articles you will read for this course as “essays,” the term usually refers to short pieces that might be published in a magazine or newspaper. In this course, all essays submitted whether they be analytical or for the 4 tests should be standard 5-paragraph essays. Every paragraph should have a strong topic sentence.
An essay tries to make an argument or major point. This is perhaps the most important and most challenging aspect of the essay. An essay is not just a bunch of words or even a bunch of paragraphs. An essay all fits together; it all points in one direction. An essay leads to one conclusion. This is what makes an essay different from, say, an article in an encyclopedia, which may be a relatively brief and interesting piece of nonfiction. An essay tries to make a point. It aims to support a single claim. Another way of putting it would be to say that an essay doesn’t just have a topic; it also has a thesis. An essay doesn’t just give information about a subject; it supports a statement, a claim.
An essay tries to make a point in an interesting way. That means catching and keeping the reader’s interest.
Every essay submitted for this class must be a minimum of 4-5 paragraphs between 600 and 1000 words in length, each of which begins with a topic sentence.
All papers for this class must be typed in 11 or 12 point font and double-spaced.
Your name should be in the upper left-hand corner. Below it should be the name of your class. Below that should be the date.
All papers for this class must be submitted to the appropriate Dropbox found under the “Evaluation” dropdown menu on the course website. I will not accept any essays emailed to me or presented in person. For those who do not get a paper submitted prior to the assignment’s closing, there is a “Late Box” to which all late submissions should be submitted. The point deduction for late assignments is listed in your course syllabus.
Use your best, formal writing style – no slang or profanity, please. Do not use cell phone spelling. Use proper spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Proofread your essay before submitting it.
Keep in mind that you are in a college class and should write like a college student. Avoid immature phrases and statements such as “The article that I am going to write about is…” You don’t need to tell the reader what you are getting ready to tell the reader.
Avoid beginning paragraphs with words like “Secondly,” Thirdly,” “In conclusion,” etc. Do not end your paper with “In conclusion”
These things are understood and it not needed.
All of the content of each paragraph should be related to that paragraph’s topic sentence.
Avoid Platitudes. “Andrew Jackson was the greatest President of all time.” “Andrew Jackson was the worst President of all times. “Tennessee is the greatest state.” “This was such a wonderful event.”
Use past tense consistently. Do not jump back and forth between the present and past tense. When in doubt, use the past tense. For example, “James Robertson came to the Cumberland region in 1779” rather than “James Robertson comes to the Cumberland region in 1779.” “Walter Durham argued that many of the legends about Thomas Spencer were actually based on facts”, not “Walter Durham argues that many of the legends about Spencer were based on facts.”
NO quotations – Do NOT use quotations.
Avoid using quotations in papers no longer than the essays required for this class. Say things in your own words rather than using quotations.
Avoid modal verbs, such as would, could, etc. Instead of “Andrew Jackson would go on to become President four years later.” Write: “Andrew Jackson went on to become President four years later.”
Do not use 1st or 2nd person. Write exclusively in the third person. Since you are the author of the essay, it is understood that the material in it is yours. You don’t need to address the reader – don’t use “You”
Avoid superlatives – words like: best, worst, etc.
Proofread your paper before submitting it.
Documentation in the rare occasions that you may use outside sources, other than the readings assigned for this class. All citations should be in the form of footnotes or endnotes. This style of documentation is known as the Chicago Style. I do not accept MLA citations inside the paper that are enclosed in the narrative in parentheses. The Library website has several examples of how to do endnotes. For most of the papers written for this class, students are expected to rely on the materials that have been provided rather than using outside sources. There will be one or two assignments that will require some research.
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