Speculating about a Cause

Paper instructions:
You are going to write a six to seven page essay on a topic that you are genuinely curious about. In your essay, you will reason about why a trend or phenomenon exists. For example, the question, Why do people procrastinate, might make you consider the reasons people procrastinate, but more probably, you have several causes that explain why. When we cannot offer a definitive causal explanation, we make arguments speculating about causes that we think are the most plausible. Select ONE topic that:

1. You can prove exists (with examples or statistics);

2. Has no definitive, proven cause;

3. The causes it does have are provable (with research, examples, or other support)

4. Will interest you and your readers;

5. You know a little about the topic already (enough to brainstorm some initial causes and key words);

6. You can research thoroughly in 2 1/2 weeks;

6. You feel you can successfully write 6 pages minimum (not including a Works Cited). Anything shorter than six pages will receive no higher than a 70%


A title that best represents the essay
A clear context of the controversy in the intro–show/prove that this trend/phenomenon exists
A clear thesis statement that focuses on the subject and previews the causes
Organized in most-to-least, least-to-most likely causes
Clear topic sentences that introduce and sufficiently explore each plausible cause
A counterargument that acknowledges ONE cause that does not contribute to the trend/phenomenon but is thought to
At minimum—ONE example or quoted text must be used for each body paragraph
You MUST cite a minimum of SIX CREDIBLE OUTSIDE SOURCES using the MLA format & Works Cited
Use present tense when writing about writing and/or research (for the most part)
Transitions that direct the reader to follow the logic
Avoid logical fallacies
Grammar & spelling errors should be eliminated by the final draft
Works Cited should contain any and all sources used in the research of this essay
Essay MUST be 6 pages MINIMUM. Essays shorter than minimum will receive no higher than a 70%
Use standard MLA format: double-spaced, one-inch margins, 12pt. font Times or Arial

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