A digital version of the assignment sheet is available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/48337906/Multiple-Source-Essay


English 102: Reading and Writing II

Siena Heights University, Winter 2011

Matthew Mace Barbee


Essay 2: Multiple-Source Essay

Length: 5-7 Pages

Rough Draft: Monday, March 14th

Final Draft: Friday, March 18th



We will devote the rest of the semester to engaging and incorporating the work of others into our writing.  Our first step in that process will be to write an essay using multiple sources.  Over the next month we will read a wide range of essays that seek to “change the world.”  You will then draw from the ideas and examples given in these essays to present your own argument for ways the world can be changed for the better.  Your essay will need to include the following elements:

  1. A topic in which you identify a specific problem or challenge facing a community to which you belong.
  2. A thesis in which you clearly articulate an actionable strategy for solving that problem improving the world.
  3. An argument that supports that thesis by demonstrating the efficacy of your solution and articulates its implementation.
  4. Reference to multiple sources in support of each point you make.
  5. A conclusion that builds upon your argument by gesturing to other applications of your solution.


Grading Criteria:

A multiple-source essay needs to have a strong, well-organized argument and integrate multiple-sources in support of your argument.  To that end, your grade will be based on my evaluation of the following: 

  1. The clarity and specificity of the problem you seek to solve.
  2. The specificity and actionability of the strategy you present for solving that problem.
  3. The clarity of your explanation and implementation of your strategy.
  4. The appropriateness of your references and your integration and synthesis of them.
  5. The clarity of your writing and your citation of sources.


Writing Prompt:

While it can be hard to admit, we must acknowledge that all communities have their faults.  While minor problems deserve attention, what major, intractable problems do your communities face?  What problems demand serious, on-going action to be resolved?  How can you develop and deploy such change?  Lastly, how can the essays we read as a class provide a model or inspiration for such a program?

Essay Structure:


Introduction:  Your purpose here is to introduce the problem you wish to solve and demonstrate that it is a serious challenge to your community.  You will then present your thesis and explain how you will seek to end or change this problem.  When introducing your essay be sure to articulate the parameters and details of the problem, explain it’s significance as a challenge to your community, and the reasons change is needed.  Make sure you also provide a clear articulation of your thesis.

Thesis:  Your thesis for this essay should provide a clear articulation of the ways you will end this problem.  Your thesis should be specific, focused, and actionable.  It should provide clear steps and strategies for changing the problem you introduced. 

Argument:  Your essay will be devoted to supporting your thesis.  The body of your essay will do this by explaining and exploring the efficacy of your strategy for change; and by exploring its implementation.  One way to organize your essay would be to devote two or three paragraphs to explain the reasons your strategy will work to solve the problem and two or three paragraphs to explain how you would implement the strategy. 

Use of Sources:  A main technique for us to learn is to develop a capacity for using more than one source in an essay.  Your essay needs to reference and draw from multiple sources and put them into conversation with each other.  You will need to reference at least two different sources in each body paragraph of your essay.  You should also offer evidence of the ways these sources agree or disagree with each other.  We will work on this skill!

Conclusion:  State your conclusions the problem and your solution.  The conclusion should recap your argument but also gesture to the long-term and alternate implications of your argument and your solution.   

Submission Guidelines:

All work is due at the date and time indicated on the syllabus.  Late work will automatically be given a ZERO.  If a student has a legitimate reason for missing the assigned due date she/he may request an extension.  Requests for extensions must be made at least 24 hours in advance of the due date. 

All essays must abide by the following conventions:

  • 12-point, Times New Roman font
  • 1-inch margins and double-spaced
  • MLA-style heading and citations

Deviations from the above or the use of non-standard spacing of letters will result in the essay grade dropping by one whole letter grade (i.e., B to C, A- to B-).

Final drafts of all essays must be submitted as e-mail attachments and sent to mbarbee1@sienaheights.edu  All essays must be saved in Microsoft Word or Rich Text format and end with one of the following extensions: .doc; .docx; or .rtf.