Research Essay Guidelines & Rubrics


For this final essay you will analyze 1-2 of the assigned short stories—your choice (and you may choose to develop and revise from one or both of your reading responses). You are expected to provide an arguable thesis supported by textual analysis and scholarly and/or theoretical sources, utilizing at least 5 secondary sources from peer-reviewed, scholarly journals or books. Your analysis should clearly engage with a significant literary-critical trend or interpretative framework (such as a gender, ethnic studies, or post-colonial approach) and include consideration of any relevant socio-historical, cultural, or political contexts. I also expect you to take a clear organizational writing approach, as discussed in the writing workshop and corresponding handout. The essay must be a minimum of 1,800 words (approx. 6-7 pages) and demonstrate correct use of MLA style guidelines. Due: Thursday, July 26 by 11:30 am; late submissions will not be accepted, no exceptions.

A: 18-20 B: 16-17 C: 14-15 D: 12-13 F: 0-11


1. Depth of Subject: _____/20

Provides a clear subject/thesis and develops an argument with adequate support and evidence by examples. Demonstrates understanding of major concepts of text(s) and/or significant issues/contexts. Avoids lengthy explications or synopses of plot (if writing a literary analysis). Expresses originality of thought and sustains objective level of critical analysis.

2. Organization: _____/20

Analysis is precise, pertinent, and well supported. Provides a logical conceptual approach. Clearly links interpretive points to subject and/or argument. Avoids repetition, reductive arguments, or any tangential material that detracts from central focus. Provides clear transitions between and within sections of paper. Paragraphs and sentences are clearly structured and coherently and adequately develop their main topic.

3. Completeness & Accuracy: _____/20

Remains focused on exploring all elements of the stated thesis as fully as possible. Interpretation is appropriate and grounded within the text(s) and/or evidence from secondary sources. The paper adheres to and fulfills the requirements of the assignment, including the minimum word count and secondary sources.

4. Clarity of Expression: _____/20

Sentences are clear, concise, varied, and logical. Vocabulary and terminology are appropriate to the subject, purpose, and audience, and adhere to the standards of academic style. Subjects agree with verbs. Elements are parallel. References and word order are clear. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, mechanics, etc., are correct. Manuscript has been proofread and is free of typographical errors.

5. Style & Documentation: _____/20

Paper is formatted according to style guidelines. Does not heavily rely on quotations from secondary sources; paraphrases and summaries are in own words; phrasing and original wording is correctly quoted; documentation is provided for all quotations, summaries and paraphrases; makes effective use of signal phrases when quoting. Language, tone and verb tense correctly follow MLA guidelines. All references to primary and secondary sources are cited correctly and consistently according to style guidelines, including punctuation. Works Cited Page is correctly and consistently formatted. All in-text citations are included in Works Cited and vice versa.

Total Points: _____/100 x 2.5 = _____/250 (25% of Final Grade) Letter Grade: _______