Topic: Your topic and question should emerge from a theme or idea inspired by Educated. You don’t have to write directly about the book, but the topic should arise out of your reading of the book.

The essay should reflect not only your reading and research work, but also composition skills:


  • Educated (optional)
  • at least 3-6 sources (these should include at least two text sources – articles, books, reports; also, video sources such as TV or film interviews, reports etc.)

Applying what you’ve worked on:

Audience and purpose: A clear purpose helps you make decisions about your audience, your tone, what points to raise, and what evidence to include.

  • Are you arguing, explaining, defining? Who is your audience? How might you use your introduction and conclusion? Do you need to include counter-arguments? Explain specific terms? Is this a controversial subject, or a straightforward one?

Thesis & Organization: Your papers should be organized around

  • A clear, precise, and well-narrowed thesis
  • Topic sentences that marshal the evidence and information, and effectively lead the reader through the paper

Development: The paper should support all of its points with relevant evidence and explanation, i.e.:

  • Paragraphs that include very few generalizations, and a lot of evidence
  • Detailed examples that illustrate ideas
  • Specific facts that support claims
  • Direct quotes from relevant authorities to support your points

Research: The paper should reflect a complete research process, i.e.:

  • a thesis that addresses a clear, researchable question 
  • appropriate sources that you find yourself (with our help!) 
  • sources appropriately used to discuss, address or argue the thesis (are you supplying information? analyzing punditry? finding stuff out?)
  • careful use of paraphrase and summary, avoiding plagiarism
  • sources appropriately and clearly cited and listed in MLA format

Sentence skills: Apply the sentence skills you’ve been practicing! Think about

  • Clear, well-focused sentences – no loose structures or word salad
  • Nuanced use of joining words and concessives
  • Use of modifiers (appositives, verbals) to include detail in sentences
  • Plentiful quotes, integrated effectively and without distracting from your paper
  • Correct use of MLA citation format inside the paper, and in the Works Cited

Process requirements before you submit 

  • Essay 4 Drafting Board
  • Essay 4 Peer Review


  • Approx. 1500 words (not including Works Cited)
  • Works Cited (at end of paper

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