☚ Assignments ☚ 

Assignment Overview

  • An academic paper of 5-6 typed pages
  • Draws on external research
  • Drafted, workshopped, and submitted according to calendar outlined in student contract
  • Students will work individually

“Essay” by Pleuntje

The Nitty-Gritty

This assignment asks you to complete a typical academic essay of 5-6 pages. In the first weeks of class we will discuss the expectations for such a paper, brainstorm essay topics, and outline the elements of effective academic argument. You should expect to:

  1. Make a specific, debatable claim;
  2. Defend that claim with reasons and evidence drawn from at least four sources, at least two of which we did not read in class;
  3. Acknowledge contrasting points of view and respond to them.

You may use whatever citation system you wish (MLA, APA, Chicago) but you must cite your sources and do so consistently.

What to Write About

You will develop your own essay topics, though they should be related to our themes in class: e.g. digital and analog modes of reading, artificial intelligence, etc. From that broad mandate, however, you should choose a specific aspect of such themes that you find interesting and conduct additional research into it. You might choose to write a literary analysis of 1-2 of the short stories we’ve read in class, for instance, or to take a side on a “real world” debate. Ideally, your paper will extend our class discussion into territory we did not cover in class itself.

For a paper to be considered satisfactory, your essay should be critical rather than descriptive. Your central claim (or thesis) must be debatable, meaning a reasonable person could in fact disagree with it. You will conduct research and defend your claim with evidence drawn from at least four distinct sources, two of which much come from your own research rather than materials we read as a class. We will discuss all of these elements of argument in class and during our writing workshops.

If you are struggling to come up with a topic or craft an argument, please come see me during office hours to discuss. Whether you are struggling or not, schedule an appointment with the writing center, where they are happy to help with writing at any stage in the process.


Nightingale Hall 415, Northeastern University
Boston, MA 02115
United States of America