Research Assignment First Draft

Due Date: Monday, November 19, 2018

Submission Instructions: Bring printed copy to class and submit digitally (using turnitin on courseweb)

Assignment Description:

ItemPercentage of Semester GradeDue DateLink
Research Assignment Initial Question and Annotated Bibliography5Monday, October 08, 2018Click for More Details
Research Assignment Introduction and Outline10Wednesday, October 31, 2018Click for More Details
Research Assignment First Draft15Monday, November 19, 2018See below
Research Assignment Final Draft20Tuesday, December 11, 2018Click for More Details

A first draft is a crucial part of the writing process. For this step to benefit your final paper, you must begin with the idea that your draft will inevitably be revised. According to Jane E. Aaron, "Drafting is an occasion for exploration. Don't expect to transcribe solid thoughts into polished prose: solidity and polish will come with revision and editing. Instead, while drafting let the very act of writing help you find an form your meaning."1 In other words, an initial draft prioritizes ideas over style and proceeds with the expectation that later versions of the paper will address this version's shortcomings.

The purpose of this assignment is to begin the difficult process of fleshing out sentences and paragraphs that correspond to your outline. Although any aspect of this version of the paper might change down the road, the paper should read like a paper from beginning to end. There should be no bullet points or notes that say "insert transition here" in the version you turn in as your first draft. Instead, take an initial stab at a sentence representing that bullet point, or articulate some version of the transition you know is needed (and feel free to write yourself a note to go back to it when you revise).

Your work must be:
  1. Typed in 12 point Times New Roman font
  2. Double spaced
  3. Stapled
  4. Handed in on time
  5. A full draft of your work comprised of complete sentences and paragraphs
  6. About eight pages long
Your submission must have:
  1. Numbered pages if longer than one page
  2. Proper citations. Use Chicago style citations (consult a handbook or see me if you have questions about how to do this).
  3. A fully articulated introduction and conclusion
  4. An original title

Grading Rubric

I will use the course's primary descriptive, non-numerical rubric for this assignment. It includes the following criteria:

Assignment Process: Evaluates whether students have followed directions properly. All materials are turned in on time and in the right place. Assignment directions are followed. Required components are all present and submitted on time.
Attention to Detail in Writing: Language shows thought, precision, and control in word choice. Uses forms of grammar, punctuation, capitalization, spelling, and syntax that are appropriate for published work. Demonstrates careful attention to proofreading. Uses key words consistently throughout the paper without changing or confusing meanings. Paper is written concisely. Correctly consistently cites external sources using Chicago style format.
Argument and Thesis Statement: Demonstrates clear purpose, sophistication and originality; makes clear, sufficiently specific, and well-qualified claim about the significance of your central event.
Argument Structure: Sequence of material supports thesis and purpose; progression of thought from sentence to sentence and paragraph to paragraph is smooth and controlled; use of meaningful transitions and the logical movement from idea to idea strengthen this progression. Includes a well-constructed introduction, body, and conclusion.
Effectiveness of Support and Discussion: Evidence and examples are specific and relevant, and explanations are given that show how each piece of evidence supports the essay’s central claim; inserts source material in effective ways; demonstrates an ability to integrate sources using signal phrases and analysis; does NOT let quotations "speak for themselves."

For this round of revisions, I will focus my comments on high priority items that will be, in my opinion, most useful to you as you revise your research paper for final submission. I will make margin comments on introductions, thesis statements, paragraph-level organization (including references to transitions, topic sentences, and paragraph length), quality of research, depth of inquiry, and the degree to which your paper successfully defends the claim articulated in the introduction. Additionally, I will comment on how successfully you seem to be integrating the historical and theoretical concepts we’ve focused on this semester. In some cases, I might make additional comments on an area of "major concern." I will grade this assignment using a check-plus, check, check-minus scale. I will provide two letter grade mappings for the assignment: the first will specify your grade on the draft. The second will provide a sense of how the item would be scored if left "as-is" on the final draft.


  1. Aaron, Jane E. The Little, Brown Compact Handbook 3rd edition. Longman, 1997. 19.