DUE Wednesday, November 4, 2015
Working alone, write a new 700-800 word expository essay in your own words using third-person voice (i.e. do not use "I", "we", or "you") consisting of a central idea supported by your own analysis and examples in which you address one of the topics provided below.
If this is your first college expository essay, then please learn more about expository writing by doing a web search on that key phrase using your favorite web search engine. One explanation is given HERE. You are encouraged visit the Student Academic Success Center so you can have your essay reviewed by a writing specialist.
This assignment is due at the beginning of class on the date stated above. For you to get full credit, your essay must be turned in at the beginning of class on the due date. Assignments turned in late will be penalized by 10% per day. Assignments late by more than 1 week will not be graded. Exceptions require either prior approval or doctor-validated medical excuse.
No collaboration is permitted.
Additional information on how to avoid plagiarism is available HERE.
Expository Essay Topics for 2015
You **must** pick among the following questions for your essay:
Since the Hurricane Katrina flooding disaster in 2005, which was largely a result of engineering deficiencies, authorities have made plans for overhauling flood management in the Sacramento region. Describe the plans and the progress towards implementing the plans. Make a case as to whether you think this is insufficient, sufficient, or excessive action and spending.
- Compare and contrast the water quality of the Sacramento River before the current drought with how it is now during the drought.
Researching Your Topic
Once you select among the above topics, it is time to start your research. It is very important that you read several sources of information before you start writing your essay. Sources should include a combination of books, journal articles, newspaper articles, and web pages. In some case, printed books and journal articles may be available on the web or else you can find them in the library. There should be a minimum of 4 references listed in your bibliography at the end of your essay, and at least 1 source has to be a scholarly source from an independent technical expert. An independent scholarly source could be a technical book from the library, a scientific journal article, or a technical report from a non-advocacy governmental agency. Reports by partisan advocates are not independent or scholarly, even if they use expository writing. Wikipedia is acceptable to use as one source among many, but may not be your primary source. One good on-line reference database you can use is the Science Citation Index, which can be found on the Web of Science web page. Be sure to critically read each source and take notes to help you remember the key points from each item you read.
After you have done a broad search and have a good perspective of the diverse ideas out there, then it is time to use critical thinking to focus your understanding of the subject into a manageable size to cover in one essay. This is the hard part.
- Use a 12-point font.
- On the first line type your name and the date in the upper left and the essay word count in the upper right
- On the second line type the title of your paper.
- Leave the third line blank.
- Begin your essay on the fourth line.
- Use double spacing so there is room for me to write comments.
- The reference list at the end will not count toward your 700-800 words.
- This report constitutes 20% of your grade, so the more time you put into them, the better your grade will be.
Writing Your Essay
Begin your essay with an introduction paragraph that identifies the theme of your essay. This theme, also called a "thesis", is a generalization that you have gleaned from reading the variety of sources that you have researched. The introduction paragraph needs to be fairly short to leave space for the main arguments and evidence to follow. With a short essay like this, I suggest avoiding the use of personal stories for the introduction, because they take too long to unfold. The following paragraphs should provide supporting claims and specific facts, quotations, and other forms of evidence backing up your claims. End your essay with a conclusion paragraph that summarizes what you have explained to substantiate your thesis.
In your essay, use citations from your sources to back up facts and examples you state based on your sources. Citations in the body of the text should be in the format of (Author, Year, page #). In the reference list, use a format such as "Author. Year. Title. Publishing information. Page number". Essays lacking adequate citations and citation formatting will be penalized. Writing the exact words from a source is not permitted. Avoid using long quotes as well, as you need to integrate the information into your own ideas.
What Makes a Superior Essay?
An excellent essay is one that addresses the topic clearly, demonstrates a thorough critical understanding of the material, explores the issue thoughtfully and in depth within the allotted space, is coherently organized with ideas supported by apt reasons and well-chosen examples, has an effective, fluent style marked by syntactic variety and a clear command of language, and is generally free from errors in grammar, usage, and mechanics.
Extra credit is possible for additional supporting materials (not words, simple photos, or additional citations) that improve the quality of the paper, at the discretion of the professor. Extra content should be explained in the text; avoid peppering random photos into the essay. The sources of any additional materials should be properly cited.