an assessment section which presents your evaluation of the authors arguments and your own view on the issue(s)

Your first essay will be 5-6 pages in length, double-spaced, 12 point font, one-inch margins, with MLA (or APA) formatted citations and a works cited page. In evaluating your essay, I will be looking to see that you’ve substantially incorporated ideas from the course readings and two of your four to six researched sources (see the exegesis section below), and I’ll also be looking to see that you’ve incorporated my feedback on your research proposal.
Use the following guidelines in composing your essay.
Format of Essay
(1) an introductory paragraph which introduces the reader to the issue(s) and ends with a thesis statement
(2) an exegesis section which presents the subject matter—i.e. the authors’ views and reasoning in detail and apart from your evaluation or criticism
(3) an assessment section which presents your evaluation of the author’s arguments and your own view on the issue(s)
Advice in Preparing Each Section
(1) Introductory Paragraph and Thesis:
1. Your thesis is a statement of the specific claim or claims of which you are attempting to persuade the reader in the essay. A good thesis is precise and strong. Avoid general theses like “the internet is influencing the way we think” or “some lies are good.” You need to specify, for example, in what way the internet is influencing the way we think, or why, precisely, some lies are good. A thesis is also strong, i.e. it is worth arguing for. An uncontroversial thesis is no thesis at all. It might be helpful to state an opposing view to your thesis in your opening paragraph in order to ensure it is strong, since a counter-argument makes the reader aware that there are other plausible theses.
2. Your first paragraph should not simply be a statement of your thesis; you should also introduce the reader to the respective texts, relevant background, previous treatments of the issue, etc. before you state your thesis. An informative, eloquent, and developed introductory paragraph sets the tone for your entire paper.
3. Since an effective introductory paragraph encapsulates what you are attempting to accomplish in your essay, I suggest you write it after developing your thesis and supporting arguments. Since one discovers new things while writing a paper, you might change your thesis or its emphasis. Make sure your introductory paragraph reflects such changes.
(2) Exegesis
1. The task in this part of the paper is to explain in a clear and developed way the reasons the respective author gives for his or her view. There are two fundamental purposes for the exegesis portion of the essay. First, it demonstrates how well you understand the author’s position and reasoning. Second, it develops your ability to present another person’s view accurately and sympathetically without adding your own personal gloss.
2. There is a difference between simply summarizing an author’s view and presenting it in an analytical way. Thoroughly explain the author’s reasoning and its sequence of development. You ought to cite the text directly to illustrate the arguments and assumptions. It is necessary to explain what a passage means when you cite it. Do not simply drop it in your text and assume its meaning is clear; elaborate in your own words what the passage means in order to show you understand it. Your exegesis will in fact sometimes involve interpretation since scholars can be vague about what they mean in certain passages or how a particular argument or theoretical posit is supposed to work.
(3) Assessment
1. This is the section where you construct well-reasoned, developed arguments in support of your thesis. While you are indeed defending your own view, it is not simply your private opinion, since a persuasive opinion is one that any reasonable person could accept. Some opinions are more cogent than others, even if the stronger opinion is not absolutely certain.
2. While you have the arguments of the exegesis section to draw on, you ought to use our discussion in lecture, your own experience, primary and secondary sources, etc. to help you think through your own position.
3. Make sure to develop the different reasons for your view as much as possible. It is better to develop one or two arguments for your thesis in detail than to give several reasons which are not fully explained. If you are defending or attacking others’ views, be clear about what, precisely, you are defending or attacking. Are there contradictions in their views? Are their assumptions questionable? Do their views lead to problematic consequences?

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