Writing Assignment: Write an introspective analysis essay about your background in writing formal essays and research papers. If you have very little background in writing formal essays, your essay will be about that. “Introspective” means looking inward or reflecting. “Analysis” means taking apart your writing history and experience to examine the parts of it to make sense of your present level of writing skills. “Essay” means using words to “go forth” in thinking. See a partially graded, real student paper written for this same online class–“KevinMillerReview of LaToyaJohnson” paper above.
Create a running head and running page number. This is your last name and a running page number in the upper right-hand margin of the paper. I give instructions for how to do this in the Formatting Checklist in the syllabus. Be sure to format it with Times New Roman 12 pt. font and to not have any decorative lines with it. See below my answer to the question “What if I Don’t Have Microsoft Word?” for how to format a running head.
Type the top matter: After the running head and page number in the upper margin of your paper, begin your paper this way (adopt it for the particulars of each course and assignment and date due):
Professor Kevin Miller
ENG1270EOL43: Advanced English Composition
Module 1: Introspective Essay
10 May 2014
Create a two-part title. Begin with a two-part title (see the Formatting Checklist section on titles for instructions on this). Since this is a personal reflection paper, use the word “My” or “Me” or “I” in the title.
Form a four-step introduction paragraph. Follow the title with a four-step introductory paragraph (see the Formatting Checklist for instructions on this). Note that this is ONE paragraph with four steps in it:
1. Attention step: The paragraph must start with a short description of a moment in your life related to writing. This anecdote may be as short as three sentences, but don’t let it run more than six sentences in length. Perhaps describe something you once wrote in a school setting, whether recently or years ago in school as a child. Use the word “I” in writing this opening anecdote.
2. Topic-orientation step: The next sentence after attention step above (the example) is the topic-orientation step/sentence. Since the assignment is about writing formal essays, say something here in one sentence about that. As an example, it might read something like this: This experience I had in fifth grade with writing left me with a good taste for formal essay writing.
3. Thesis statement: The next sentence is the thesis statement, and in this course I want it to always be the third step in your introduction paragraph and italicized (please don’t forget to italicize it!). Make it a simple and clear assertion. For example, it might be a statement like this: Writing has always been an easy skill for me, so when I began to write formal research papers in high school and now in college, I found it an easy process. Of course, if you have found the experience not an easy process, say that. This is just an example.
4. Preview step: The last sentence of your intro paragraph is called the preview step. It needs to be clear to the reader that you are giving them a “table of contents,” so to speak, of the main sections of your paper. Don’t use the word “will” in it; it should be written in the present tense. For example, it might read like this: In the first part of this essay, I review my childhood writing experiences, then the draconian writing teacher I had in high school, and finally the twenty years that have passed since when I have written no formal essays. In the second part of the paper I describe my experience with Microsoft Word, my experience using MLA formatting style, and my experience using documentation in research papers.
If you complete the steps above, you will have a single, well-rounded introduction paragraph. (Did you make each step its own paragraph? If so, you will lose points. It is to be four steps in ONE paragraph).
Write the body of your essay. After the introduction pargraph, craft the paragraphs of the main part of your essay. The paper should be written in paragraphs that have clear topic sentences. The first line of each paragraph should be indented (tabbed, not spaced) 1/2 inch. A paragraph should generally be between four and eight sentences in length.
In the first half of the body of your essay (after the introduction paragraph), describe your personal history and experience with formal writing. It should run two or three paragraphs in length.
In the second half of the body of your essay, describe and reflect on your level of experience and knowledge about exactly the following four areas of writing. It can be one longer paragraph (form the topic sentence so it covers all four topics), or each point below could form its own paragraph if each paragraph is at least four sentences long:
1. Your experience using online article databases (like EbscoHost) versus just googling to find information.
2. Your experience incorporating outside sources and quotes and then forming bibliographies (called Works Cited in MLA) of those sources at the end of your papers.
3. Your experience using a style manual like MLA (and other editorial formatting guides like APA) in papers you have written.
4. Your experience using in-text parenthetical citations to document your sources.
Start each paragraph with a topic sentence. Except for the first introduction paragraph of the paper, be sure to write in paragraphs with clear opening topic sentences that introduce what the main idea of the paragraph is about.
Quote from Cameron, Nairn, and Higgins one time. Somewhere in the essay where it flows naturally, you must quote word-for-word (with quotation marks around it ” “) one sentence from this article (no other article is allowed): “Demystifying Academic Writing: Reflections on Emotions, Know-How and Academic Identity” by Jenny Cameron, Karen Nairn, and Jane Higgins.
1. You must find this particular article in EbscoHost’s Academic Search Premier. To know how to access this database, read the instructions in the Formatting Checklist (near the end of it).
2. The quote must be author-centered. The Formatting Checklist tells you how to form an author-centered quote.
3. You must list the source in your Works Cited on its own page at the end of the essay. Let EbscoHost format the source for you (read how to let EbscoHost do this for you in the Formatting Checklist in your syllabus), but do check if it did it correctly by looking at examples of MLA sources here: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/ One thing EbscoHost won’t do is format it as a hanging indent, which it needs to be (again, the Formatting Checklist explains this for you)