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Writing Assignment #3: Research-Supported Essay


Writing Assignment #3 will be a research-supported essay.


Courses that fulfill the General Education Requirements (GERs) at UMUC all have a common theme—technological transformations.  In following this theme throughout this semester in WRTG 101, we have read the analyses of various authors on innovations and technological transformations in education and in other fields. 


In this essay, you will continue this theme of technological transformations.


You have two choices for your essay topic.  Please choose one of the two choices.  Please note that both choices are identical to the choices you had for writing assignment #2, the cause-effect essay.  You may write on the same topic that you wrote on for writing assignment #2; however, you may be asked to adjust the topic in some direction in order to write a more successful research paper.  In addition, of course, you will expand on the number of sources you use to defend your argument.




  1. Technology and Education


    Analyze the impact of a particular trend in technology on education. 


Our discussions in the class up to this point might be helpful for you as you consider ideas for this topic. 




You might analyze any one of the following.  These are just examples.  Many approaches are possible for this topic.




    1. The potential effects of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in higher education.  You might focus on a particular field of study for this choice.

    2. The effects of online courses on education.  You might focus on a particular field of study for this choice.

    3. The effects of using digital media in online courses

    4. The effects of computer use in writing courses or courses in other disciplines

    5. The effects of certain forms of technology on reading skills or reading habits

    6. The potential effects of video games being introduced into schools and used to help educate students






  1. Technology and Your Field of Study


    Analyze the impact of technology on a field of study of your choice.


    This option represents a more general approach to the essay. 



    Some examples might be the following. These are just examples.  Many approaches are possible for this topic.



    1. The effects of mobile devices on cybersecurity

    2. The effects of the Internet on the field of advertising

    3. The effects of cloud computing on a particular business field

    4. The effects of the Internet in an area of communication studies

    5. The effects of the Internet on global marketing strategies

    6. The effects of a particular type of technology on health care












Outline for the essay


The essay should have the following elements:




  • an engaging introductory paragraph.  You might even want to cite sources in the opening paragraph to make your opening engaging to the reader.
  • an effective and clear thesis statement
  • a statement of definitions and background on the topic on which you are writing. 
    • You will want to define any terms necessary for the reader.
    • You may want to provide a historical background on your topic.
  • unified, supported, and coherent body paragraphs that defend the thesis
  • sources cited throughout the body paragraphs that support the arguments in the paper
  • an effective conclusion
  • a “references” page that lists the sources cited.  The references should be listed in APA format.






The sources and citation format for this essay
You are required to use at least six sources for this essay. 




At least four sources must be acquired through the databases subscribed to by UMUC’s Information and Library Services.  In addition, at least three sources are to come from scholarly journals.




Keep in mind that if the sources are scholarly, the argument you make in the paper will be more persuasive.  For this reason, feel free to use all scholarly sources if you can.




In addition, please feel free to cite more than six sources.  You may find that seven or eight sources (or more) are necessary to establish your argument and defend your thesis.  Please do not feel limited to using only six sources.   Use more if you would like to or need to.




Please cite your sources and list them at the end of your paper using APA format.






Length: 1300-1500 words







The strategy for this essay:


This essay can be a persuasive essay, in which you try to persuade the reader of a particular position.  Or it can be an expository essay that synthesizes material, an essay in which you give information to the reader and synthesize the different viewpoints on an issue.  The following examples help illustrate these two approaches.




For a persuasive essay, you could take the position that video games should be integrated into school science curricula to teach middle school students.  You would cite articles that demonstrate research studies and other pieces of evidence to support the claim that video games can enhance instruction in science classes and will help middle school students learn science more effectively.




If you write a persuasive essay, please follow one of the following three options for organization:







More information on these three styles is given in the following video tutorial:






For an expository essay, you could synthesize information on this topic, one that summarizes and analyzes the evidence for and against using video games in school curricula.






  • Double space.
  • Include a title page with the paper’s title, your name, the date, and “WRTG 101S.”
  • Cite sources using APA format
  • Submit your paper as an attachment






What to submit:


Proposal/Prewriting – By the end of Week 4, submit as an attachment to the assignment folder for Writing Assignment #3. Please include the following as a proposal:


  1. Identify your topic. 
  2. If you are not planning to use the same topic that you used for the cause-effect essay, please explain how you came to that decision. If you are planning to use the same topic, please include some thoughts on how your research essay will go beyond what you are writing for the cause-effect essay. (Do you plan to adjust the topic in any way? Will the topic be exactly the same with more or different sources?)
  3. Do you envision your research essay being expository or persuasive?


Also include any ideas you have so far from prewriting. Your prewriting can take many forms. For example, some people like to do brainstorming/freewriting. Some people may be ready to work on an outline. 


Do not wait for feedback on your proposal/prewriting! Keep working on your paper, and I will let you know if I have any concerns.


Rough Draft – By the end of Week 5, submit your rough draft as an additional attachment to the same assignment folder. Make this as complete a draft as possible. However, regardless of how much you have done, submit your rough draft by the end of Week 5. If there are areas of the paper that you are having difficulty with, you can ask about them in a note on your rough draft, and I will try to help.


You will receive feedback on your rough draft during Week 6. I recommend that you keep working on the paper while you are waiting for feedback.


Revised Paper – By the end of Week 7, submit your complete, revised paper as a third attachment to the same assignment folder. This version will be graded using the following rubric:




      topic introduced effectively


      strong thesis provided








Paragraph development


       unity maintained


       support provided


       coherence maintained






       Current as appropriate


       scholarly as appropriate


       woven into the paper effectively


       cited correctly in the paper


       listed correctly in the “references” page




Grammar and mechanics




       word-level grammar


       sentence-level grammar