Your main job is to support an argument about a central, focused, specific topic using reliable evidence in a clear, well-organized structure. The voice should be academic, and APA format and citation style should be used. Let’s talk about each of these requirements in turn:
The essay must make one central point, stated in a thesis early on in the essay, that others might disagree with. Academic arguments are often complex and carefully constructed–they don’t need to be “agree” or “disagree” with a complex argument. They might instead do something like this:
Show problems with an existing idea–where does the idea not apply, or what doesn’t work about it? (problematizing)
Suggest the origin of a current situation, or make an argument about its history (cause and effect)
Connect two different ideas together (synthesis)
Offer a new solution to an existing problem (proposals)
And many, many other possible arguments!
The entire essay must focus on one central, focused, specific topic. We’ll work in class to start with broad topics and focus them. Here are some examples of broad and focused topics:
Broad Topic: Artificial Intelligence and Privacy
The use of Amazon Alexa recording logs as criminal evidence
Facial-recognition software as a weapon against protestors in Hong Kong
The “Right to be Forgotten”–a law in the EU that allows citizens to request that their data be deleted from the Web, especially from search engines and social media
As you can see, the focused topic can often refer to specific products, laws, places, or situations; it usually can’t be stated in just a few words.
The first draft must include at least eight sources, and at least four of these must come from the Holman Library. The second draft will require more sources.
The sources must be reliable evidence. That means they are credible authors and credible publications; they are relevant to your topic and their bias or perspective has been taken into consideration.
The evidence should be part of an inquiry-based process. In other words, the argument came from the evidence, and not the other way around. The evidence should not simply be chosen to support an argument you already had in place.
The overall structure of the essay should guide the reader through your ideas clearly. APA format (see below) has some suggested elements that will help structure, such as an abstract.
The essay should have a fully-formed introduction, which helps to tell us about your topic, explain your argument, then summarize your main points. The thesis is usually in this introduction. The organization of the body of the essay should feel logical and connected. The conclusion summarizes the full argument at minimum, but also helps the essay to feel complete.
Paragraphs should also move clearly from idea to idea.
The Voice, Format, and Citation Style:
Traditionally, academic writing is done with an academic voice, which is more formal than the ways in which we traditionally communicate. It should help you establish your ethos and it should also be clear and understandable for the reader.
The essay format and citation style should be APA (American Psychological Association). This style is more frequently used in many academic disciplines, especially those in the social sciences, business, and other fields. You will likely use APA in future classes.
APA citation style requires two kinds of citation:
In-text citations are used with quotations, paraphrase, and summaries in the document text itself.
The References page, similar to the MLA Works Cited page, gives the reader all the necessary information to find the sources the writer has used. For more information on Artificial Intelligence check on this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence
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