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What is the Value of Nature?

WRIT 1120
Summer 2020
Essay #1: The Multiple Source Essay

Due Date: July 5, 2020 (11:59pm via Canvas)

The multiple source essay is your first shot at a task we will be working on the rest of the semester: writing a clear and argumentative paper that uses synthesized sources to support and/or defend your claims. Try to keep in mind that a good multiple source essay revolves around your own ideas, but exhibits thorough familiarity with the sources you will be using. Your essay will be evaluated in part by how well you integrate information from your reading to support your own central idea.

The Assignment:
Using any of the sources distributed in class (articles from Packets #1 and #2), build and defend an argument of your own that relates somehow to the general question of What is the Value of Nature? Make sure that the argument is your own and not just a grab bag of quotes from the sources. The main voice in the essay should be your own, and you should be careful not to let the sources outshine your argument. Rather, you should show how they relate both to one another and, especially, to your own thesis.

Make sure your central argument is stated in the form of a thesis statement. Your thesis should be narrow enough for you to reasonably and fully develop your argument. Make sure you include at least three (feel free to use more than three!) sources from our handouts. You may also use up to three outside sources in addition to our handouts.

The Essay:
Your multiple source essay should be at least five full (to the very bottom) pages long, 12-point Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and include the following elements:

1.    A clear, arguable thesis: Make sure your thesis is arguable and provides a clear perspective on an issue. Also, make sure the issue you choose is one that is controversial and debatable, not something that is generally agreed upon.
2.    A well organized argument with several key points: Your thesis should be supported with several key points. However, keep in mind that it is not acceptable to merely adapt one supporting point from each source and proceed through the paper in a source-by-source manner. The key with this essay assignment is to look for similarities and relationships between the sources so that each point can be supported in more than one manner and include more than one, that is, at least two (hint, hint) sources. Such a strategy is called synthesis and will become increasingly important as the semester progresses.
3.    Balanced development of your key points: You MUST develop your points with specific examples and evidence from sources. However, along with your sources, your points should also be supported by your own ideas and arguments. It is acceptable to compare and contrast ideas and evidence, to link similar assumptions together, and to use like points to organize your essay. However, you should also make sure that there is a reasonable balance between outside material and your own ideas throughout the essay.
4.    Clear and correct citation of sources: You should make sure all of your sources are used in context with the authors original point and not skewed or misrepresented in your paper. Please also use proper MLA format and include a Works Cited page. (Please visit the link to Prudues OWL MLA guide: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/.)
5.    Attention to counterarguments: At some point in your essay you must make it clear that you can understand and respond to arguments against your position. You are encouraged to use sources both to illustrate the oppositions stand
and/or to aid in refuting it.

Some common problems you may want to be aware of and avoid in your paper:

–    The thesis is not stated, is unclear, or does not include your main points.
–    First person (I/me/my) and/or second person (forms of “you”) are overused or used inappropriately
–    The essays focus is informative or descriptive rather than argumentative.
–    The essay lacks true synthesis or integration of sources.
–    The sources are simply dumped into the essay without relation to each other or, more importantly, the points that youre presenting.
–    The sources dominate the essay as opposed your own thoughts and ideas and no balance is apparent between your voice and the voices of the sources.
–    The essay is organized around the sources instead of by idea or main argumentative points to support the essays thesis.
–    You fail to help guide the reader through the essays main argumentative points while making connections among these points. (Metadiscourse!)
–    MLA documentation is used incorrectly or not at all.
–    The essay lacks a solid counterargument and/or a rebuttal of the counterargument.
–    You fail to use proper syntax or allow many sentence-level errors to impede the clarity of the essays argument.

Good luck! If you need help with any aspect of this assignment, email me ASAP.

This assignment adapted from an assignment by Paul Bissa found in the English 112 2003-04 Assignment Manual provided by the GSW Program.

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