Write an essay on one of the following topics:
Language and power
The portrayal of scientists in literature or film
Inequality and climate change
Your essay should have a specific, clear thesis and provide a focused and in-depth analysis. In addition to any primary sources, you must use a minimum of three scholarly, peer-reviewed secondary sources. You may use a maximum of three non-scholarly secondary sources. All sources must be documented correctly using MLA documentation style.
Based on your research, you will develop your own understanding and position on the topic. Your essay must not simply describe what the research is saying but advance your own ideas on the subject.
Your essay should be 1,500 – 2,000 words. The essay must be double-spaced. Remove any extra space between paragraphs, and indent the first line of each paragraph. Use a 12-point font and a 1-inch margin on all sides. Pages must be numbered. The essay must have a title, but a title page is not required. Make sure your name appears on the first page. Please submit your essay as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF. Please include your name in the filename. You may submit as many versions as you want before the deadline. Only the last version will be graded.
Make sure all quotations and paraphrases are properly documented using MLA documentation style. Use quotation marks for any words you borrow from your sources (even if it’s only one or two words).
Late papers are not accepted. If circumstances beyond your control prevent you from handing in the essay on time, you can request an extension no later than 24 hours before the deadline. Please note that poor time management is not a valid excuse. To avoid technical issues, be sure to plan ahead and back up your files on a cloud or an external hard drive, in case your computer crashes.
Plagiarism means taking someone else’s ideas and presenting them as your own, whether intentionally or unintentionally. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to, improper paraphrasing, missing quotation marks, lack of citations, etc. You must avoid borrowing ideas, paragraphs, or individual sentences from the Internet, from another student, or from any other source without proper acknowledgment. Even a minor offence has to be reported to the Dean, which triggers the relevant university procedure. Please note that the penalty is decided by the faculty, not by me. The penalty can be severe. By taking this course, you acknowledge that you are familiar with the university regulations. For more information, see
If you require feedback on this essay (outside of the rubrics), please indicate that with your submission.
A successful essay will do the following:
Apply everything you have learned from the lecture slideshows, especially those on analytical writing, the thesis, essay structure, and paragraph structure
Avoid general or vague comments or personal opinion
Show awareness of the complexity of the issue and avoid simplistic or obvious claims
Formulate a position that goes beyond the research itself, using the research as a starting point
Show evidence of in-depth thinking about the topic
Present a focused, coherent, logical argument
Have a clear and specific thesis that 1) makes a claim of some kind (not just saying “This paper will examine…”); 2) is not stating a fact (it must be possible to disagree with the thesis); 3) is not a list (e.g., “There are three reasons for high tuition fees”); 4) is not too broad; 5) is not merely personal opinion
Incorporate relevant and carefully chosen research as evidence, without letting the research overwhelm your own ideas
Avoid unsubstantiated claims or unanalyzed evidence
Treat quotations and paraphrases carefully, so as not to commit plagiarism
Use correct grammar and spelling, clear phrasing, varied sentence structure, rich vocabulary, and appropriate tone