Essay Length and Structural papers

  • For Essay, students will write an essay responding to the prompt on page 2 of this document. Students will base their essay on course material (textbook readings, historical documents, assigned articles, documentary film clips, and the Odds and Ends documents) from Week 2 thru Week 4. The daily assignments should be the first place students look to organize the course information for the essay. Students should also use additional information from the online textbook as needed. Students should not do additional research and/or use other sources from the internet. The essay will be evaluated/grades on how well students use the course material to response to the essay question.

    Essay Length and Structure

    The essay should consist of at least 5 paragraphs for a word count of at least 1000 words. Please keep in mind that any heading information or inclusion of the essay prompt in your completed exam WILL NOT count toward the word count for each essay.

    Each essay will be a formal essay with an introduction, conclusion, thesis statement, and 3 or more body paragraphs presenting supporting evidence from the course material. Students should formulate a thesis based on the essay question. The essay should include an introductory paragraph that presents the thesis statement and provides the necessary background information. The body paragraphs of the essay should systematically develop an argument that explains and expands the thesis statement and is supported with evidence from the course material. The concluding paragraph should remind the reader of the thesis and sum up the major points of the essay’s argument.

    Using Evidence, Quotations and Citations

    Throughout the essay, students will use specific information (what historians call evidence) from the course material to support their argument. All evidence needs to be paraphrased, which means presented in students own words. Since this is not a long essay, absolutely no quotes are permitted to be included in the essay. Using quotes in the essays will result in a substantial grade reduction. Paraphrasing is a skill I want students to practice and become proficient in by the end of the course.

    Because the essay is based on course material, there is no need to include footnotes/endnotes or a works cited page. Students should concentrate on developing and writing a complete argument in response to the essay question rather than including and formatting citations. I know where the course material is coming from, which means citations are not really necessary. Remember, the essay will be graded on how well students use the course material. In short, I know the course material and expect students to use that material.

    Help with your Essay

    In the “Exam Information” module, I have posted links to three different sites for advice on essay writing. All three site present similar information. If one site isn’t helpful, try another site that will present the information a little differently.

    If you are having trouble meeting the word count requirement, be sure you are fully explaining each point in your argument and/or go to the course material for an additional example.

    I am also available to help students with the exam. Please email me with questions about the instructions, assistance understanding the essay questions or general help organizing course material and getting started.


    Essay Drafts

    I will also provide assistance by reading drafts of students’ essays. If you would like me to read a draft, you need to EMAIL it to me (either through the Canvas email feature or at by BC email account) by 11:59pm on Saturday May 1. I will begin reading drafts on Wednesday April 28 and will review drafts in the order that I received them in my email inboxes. Any draft submitted after 5pm on Saturday (5/1) will be read Sunday (5/2) morning, giving students some time during the day of May 2 to make revisions.


    Essay Prompt

    Select ONE of the essay questions as the prompt for your essay. Please use the indicated title of the prompt you select for your final essay submitted to Canvas.

    1. What was the impact of early European’s arrival and activities on the Americas? How did the interactions of Europeans and indigenous societies shape the future developments in the Americas? (Use the title – “Europe Comes to the Americas”)
    2. During the 17th and 18th centuries, England established colonies in North America. Write an essay analyzing how Virginia and Massachusetts became stable, prosperous colonies. The essay should include a discussion of political, social and economic developments. (Use the title – “Colonial Virginia and Massachusetts”)


    Essay Grading

    Focus and Argument (40 points)

    Each essay has a thesis statement based on the essay question

    Each essay develop a complete response to the essay question

    Each essay’s analysis/argument are clearly constructed and explain key historical issues

    Examples/Evidence (40 points)

    Each essay’s argument is supported by evidence

    All evidence should be examples from the relevant course material

    All evidence/examples are fully integrated and explained in the essay’s argument

    No quotes – all evidence is paraphrased

    Grammar, Word Use, and Spelling (20 points)

    Writing is grammatically correct

    Words are spelled and use correctly


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