Writing Assignment #3: Academic Research Paper

WRIT106: F2020

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In order to produce academic-level (closed discourse community) work related to a topic that is of interest to you, you will need to begin with ideas that you develop from your research. In this Writing Assignment, you will write a 4-6 page research paper that answers the following questions:

In what ways is communication affected by technology in relation to your research topic? Does limited technology limit communication, or does it lead to more creative ways of using available modalities and affordances to create a positive, dynamic experience for the reader/audience? Why and how so?


Your research will attempt to answer some of the following questions:

  • How does your topic express multimodal communication?
  • How does your topic fail to communicate? (What doesn’t work well?)
  • What affordances does technology provide to your chosen topic?
  • In what ways does technology fail to give affordances to this kind of communication?
  • In what ways do the creators adapt to the available technology to create dynamic and/or static modes of communication?
  • What techniques are used to imitate other multimodal forms of communication? (How do they work? In what ways do they fail?)
  • Which discourse communities benefit most from this kind of communication? How? Why?
  • How do creators benefit from physical copies of their work in ways that digital communication does not?


Audience, Style, and Structure:

You should keep in mind that you are writing an academic paper. That means that you are writing for an academic audience – people have at least some expertise in the topic. However, this is a general academic audience, so they may not be knowledgeable in all jargon of your chosen topic. For this reason, you may still need to explain some of the more technical details from your research. Remember, you want to give the audience/reader enough information to follow along, but not so much that your ideas are buried and hard to find. Also, you will need to privilege analytical and synthetic thought over summary and description. Remember, the ideas are the focus!!


The paper will contain the following elements: Heading, Title, Introduction, Body of paper, Conclusion, Works Cited.



The paper will be in MLA format. (See Purdue OWL website – link on Canvas – for an example of MLA formatting.) The body of the paper will run 4-6 full pages, and there will be a Works Cited at the end (that does not count towards the page minimum).



The first and final drafts of this assignment are valued at 20% of your final grade.

Several activities that will help you prepare this assignment are built into our class/preparation activities and are part of your Preparation, Participation & Attendance grade.


Grading Criteria:

Because not all assignments have the same goals, each major assignment will have a different set of grading criteria. The criteria for this assignment, listed below, will also be available in a Canvas rubric for the assignment page.


  1. Purpose/Thesis (20 points):
    1. Is it clear from the title what the topic is?
    2. Does the paper have a clear thesis in the introduction?
    3. Does the thesis demonstrate an independent interpretation of the source material in relation to the proposed question?
  2.  Content Mastery/Work with the primary and secondary sources (25 points):
    1. Does the author work with the sources using Summary, Paraphrase, and Quotation with confidence?
    2. Are the techniques effectively used?
    3. Does the author engage with at least some close reading with analysis?
    4. Does the author privilege synthesis of the source material over summary and description?
    5. Does the author use the source material to support their own ideas and independent analysis?
  3. Organization/Structural Coherence (20 points):
    1. Is there a consistent development of the thesis throughout the paragraphs?
    2. Is there evidence of transitions within and between paragraphs to make the progression easier to follow?
    3. Is the structure and progression deliberate and logical?
    4. Do structural “signposts” appear?
  4. Grammar/Style (10 points):
    1. Is the grammar correct?
    2. Are spelling and punctuation accurate?
    3. Does the author use fixed form academic writing?
    4. Is there evidence the author is developing an eloquent prose style?
  5. Format/Conventions (15 points):
    1. Does the author follow the correct MLA format for the Canvas submission?
    2. Does the author include the typical conventions of the genre as outlined by the class in Weeks 9, 10, 11, 12? (length, arrangement, format, components, etc.)
    3. Does the author demonstrate an understanding of conventions for a Research Paper in MLA format?
    4. Does the author include a clear, original title?
    5. Does the author include a clear introduction, body, and conclusion?
    6. Does the author include a Works Cited page at the end (on a new page)?
  6. First Draft submission (10 points):
    1. Were the first drafts submitted on time for Peer and Instructor review?
    2. Were the drafts solid or as “complete” as the author could make them before outside feedback?


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