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ENGL 101 - Kathleen Nelson  

Last Updated: Sep 13, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Fall 2016
(8/22 -12/17)

Miramar College Library
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A Short Guide to Research

  1. First, review your assignment thoroughly and choose a topic.
  2. Next, start gathering information right away - don't procrastinate!
  3. Begin by navigating to the Miramar College home page.
  4. Find background information in print bookseBooks and Reference databases.
  5. As you read about your topic, increase your searching power by jotting down keywords and their synonyms, names of people, places and events.
  6. Add more specific or up-to-date information by searching the library databases. (Log on with your your Miramar ID and last name to research when off campus.)
  7. Email a librarian or stop by for after-hours help with research, citations, library policies, and more.


Your Assignment

Essay 1-Comparative (Compare/Contrast) or Causal (Cause/Effect) Essay

Purpose:  To write a comparative or causal analysis

Audience:  Your instructor and classmates

Voice:  Third person and limited first person

Assignment Criteria:

Write a comparative (compare/contrast) or causal (cause/effect) analysis based on the prompts below, that accomplishes the following:

1)  An essay 1200-1500 words in length, approximately 4-5 pages, typed and in MLA format;

2)  An introduction that “hooks” the reader’s attention and then moves to a general introduction of the topic;

3)  Clear and specific thesis statement that makes clear the purpose of the assignment-either a comparative or causal analysis;

4)  At least 3 body sections, each section starting with a topic sentence, that develops the purpose of the section using well-chosen and appropriate support, including research in the form of quotes, paraphrases, summaries, facts, and other information with appropriate citation; the support may also include brief personal experience and examples if appropriate;

5) A conclusion that helps to tie the paper together; it may restate the thesis, reconnect to the “hook” in the introduction, and/or address one of the techniques discussed in class, such as offering a solution, explaining the relevance, etc;

6)  Appropriate MLA in-text citation for all outside sources;

7)  Appropriate MLA end-text citation for all outside sources in the form of a Works Cited page.

Grading Criteria:

The essay will be graded on how well it establishes an interesting introduction, presents a clear and specific thesis statement, adheres to clear organization (moving beyond 5-paragraphs), develops all of its ideas using well-chosen and appropriate support through research), appropriately gives credit to all sources both through in-text citation as well as end-text citation through the use of a Work Cited page, and presents strong writing skills in the form of sentence structure, appropriate grammar and punctuation and word choice.

Prompts (Choose one or see the Alternative Assignment):

Comparative Analysis-you may choose to write a compare, contrast, or both compare and contrast essay using the assignments below.

A)  Write a comparative analysis contrasting what you see as a key difference between the culture of mainstream America with that of some other different culture, country, or group.  (adapted from For Writing #1 p. 353)

B)  Write a comparative analysis on the history and career of Wonder Woman.  Include a detailed comparison of her powers (and weaknesses) with those of her male counterparts.  In the course of your essay, respond to Douglas Wolk’s assertion on page 363 that the owners of the Wonder Woman franchise have never been able to successfully get her “off the ground as either a movie or TV show.”  (adapted from Suggestion For Writing #4 p. 356)

C)  For all their strengths, superheroes have their characteristic weaknesses as well.  Write a comparative essay exploring two or more superheroes, but pay as much attention to their shortcomings as their powers—and how these imperfections might or might not make them appeal more directly to readers or viewers.  (adapted from For Writing #2 p. 367)

Causal Analysis-you may choose to write a cause, effect, or both cause and effect essay using the assignments below.

A)  Some public school districts (and college) now purchase text books in electronic form.  And, of course, Amazon now sells more ebooks than paper ones. In addition, some online businesses, such as and offer textbook rentals, and now even college campuses offer their own textbook rentals.  Write a causal analysis that explores the effects of these trends.  (adapted from For Writing #3 p. 476).

B)  In a culture obsessed with thinness, why are so many American overweight?  Develop a causal analysis essay that explores the reasons for this phenomenon.  (adapted from For Writing #1 p. 565)

C)  “Body image,” says Paula T. Kelso, “is defined as the way in which people see themselves in the mirror every day:  the values, judgments, and ideas that they attach to their appearance” (551).  Drawing on Kelso’s work, the work of the scholars she cites (see the References page of her essay), and your own research, write a causal analysis on the causes and effects of body image in American high schools and colleges (you may also want to address the mass media that impacts this age group).  (adapted from For Writing #4 p. 565)

Alternative Assignment:  If you would like to write on a different subject, you must submit a written proposal by email about your topic and type of essay.  Your alternative assignment must fulfill all of the criteria from 1-7.


Due Dates: 

Rough Draft of the Essay 1 Assignment-Bring 2 copies of group work        ______

Final Draft-bring 1 revised final draft of the Essay 1 Assignment; attach    ______

the rubric and submit via SafeAssign


    Subject Guide

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    Mary Hart
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    Need a Topic?

    Need a Topic?

    Here are some lists of topics from the library's databases. (From off campus, log on with your student ID and last name.)

    SIRS Knowledge Source - Issues

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