Benefits of Health Insurance

Research Paper Expectations

 A successful research paper will:

  • discuss a topic of professional interest with the potential to make the world a better place
  • relate to your major
  • be composed as a Word document or a google doc
  • be submitted before midnight of the last day of the semester
  • attain a word count of 3,000 – 5,000, which includes all content (including a title page if your style requires one, your source list at the end, an abstract if you create one, captions etc.). All words have value. If you’re curious, this syllabus contains approx. 2,225 words.
  • use at least fifteen (15) reputable/authoritative sources including: o one book (approx. 250 – 500 pages) o two or more peer reviewed academic or professional journals o one or more .edu website o one or more .org website o one or more .gov website o one or more .com website o two or more primary sources o one or more audio/visual source
  • be organized around a clear, arguable thesis.
  • include 3 – 5 images/graphs/charts, thoughtfully located and properly captioned and cited. At least one that illustrates, one that persuades, and one that informs (these do not count toward the fifteen sources)
  • conform to the formatting and citation rules of the style appropriate to your major
  • be a new work, a synthesis original to the author
  • demonstrate an understanding of the principles described in the rubric

You can find sample research papers in the “Content” section of D2L under the “Materials” tab. They were written three years ago by WRIT 331 students, and although they are not perfect, they received very good grades, and demonstrate sincere effort and significant time commitment.


Rubric/Scoring Guide

Written work is graded using the following rubric.







Author has a clear and worthy PURPOSE for writing the paper and stays focused on that PURPOSE throughout. Thesis is very clear and wellcrafted. Author has a reason for writing, but occasionally drifts into other possibly conflicting or less worthy PURPOSES.

Thesis is identifiable but may lack focus.

Author seems unaware of why the writing exists. Paper may have too many PURPOSES, an unworthy PURPOSE, or none. Thesis weak or non-existent.


Author shows an understanding of and respect for the

AUDIENCE. Employs tone, vocabulary, person, and pathos effectively.

Author occasionally but not consistently takes the AUDIENCE into account. May shift person or tone unexpectedly. Pathos inconsistent. Author fails to recognize or address the AUDIENCE. Tone is dismissive, clumsy, or unaware. Person shifts are common Lacks pathos.


Author uses THESIS to order sections, paragraphs, and sentences, for the attainment of

PURPOSE. Smooth transitions ease reader through the paper.

Author organizes, but inconsistently; THESIS not always easy to follow; transitions may be lacking or in- consistent. Organiza- tion attempts to but does not always serve PURPOSE. Author’s organization lacks awareness, effort, or skill. Poor use of THESIS in organizing frequently distracts or confuses reader and obstructs PURPOSE.


Author employs concrete evidence from diverse array and appropriate number of reputable sources. Weaves sources to attain PURPOSE. Author uses fewer reliable sources, or sources from a limited range. Sources are inconsistently employed to attain PURPOSE. Author uses too few sources, sources that are not reputable, or sources from which ideas are illogically deployed in an attempt to attain PURPOSE.



















Author shows respect for sources used by consistently giving them proper credit as defined by appropriate citation style. Author’s citation appears sincere but has occasional large or numerous small style errors in-text or or in the source list at the end of paper. Author’s citation is faulty. Lack of effort or awareness of style distracts reader. Pervasive errors.  Plagiarism is possible.







Author’s grasp of the written language allows reader to focus on the ideas, not the grammar or punctuation. Sounds pleasing when read aloud. Enjoyable enough to read a second time. Author’s use of written language is functional, if not poetic. Errors exist but do not generally distract. Inconsistent when read aloud. Reader may be glad for first experience; may not read again. Author struggles with the written language. Errors confound the reader or distract from ideas. Lacks clarity when read aloud. Difficult to read once; probably will not be read twice.


Author has properly formatted paper according to appropriate style.

Document makes an appealing first—and last—impression.

Author attempts propriety but does so with noticeable gaps. Occasional large or numerous small errors in formatting style. Author fails to show appropriate understanding of presentation. Physical appearance

deviates to distraction.



Author accomplishes much more with the written work than the simple value of its labor and capital. The paper has a value that transcends a letter grade. Work is useful outside of class. Author produces a functional work equal to the letter grade it receives and capable of occasional transcendence. Worth the effort, though may not be very useful outside class. Author creates a document with little value beyond a letter grade. Paper fails to reach audience members. Raises doubts: was writing was worth the effort? Little to no use outside class.



Generally speaking, these categories are listed in order of importance. Professionals know the two most important things in writing are: “Who am I writing to?” (Audience) and “Why am I writing to them?” (Purpose).


If you know the answer to these two questions and do everything in your power to respect your audience and attain your purpose, all the other items will naturally fall in line.


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