This assignment will be due on Wednesday, June 8.
As you know, the final research paper may not have a prescriptive thesis. However, people often want to propose a solution to the problem they are writing about, which basically means making a prescriptive claim. This extra credit assignment gives you the opportunity to make that prescriptive claim, separate from your research paper.
In this assignment, you will write a policy recommendation in which you argue for a particular solution or approach to the problem described in your research paper. This recommendation will:
- summarize your research, including the thesis of your research paper,
- make a recommendation (a prescriptive thesis) about the topic of your research,
- use the research to support the prescriptive claim (the solution or approach you are arguing for)
- use effective reasoning to show why the evidence supports the claim, and
- be addressed and sent* to a real person, organization or institution that has some sort of authority or influence over the issue.
* If for some reason you object to sending your recommendation, you may still write it and receive partial credit.
This assignment will be worth 5% of the total grade. It will be graded using 4 criteria, each scored from 0-4. The grade for the assignment will be the average of all 4 scores.
These are the criteria I will use to score the letter:
- Thesis: What is the recommendation? What change in policy or new approach are you arguing for? Is the thesis clearly expressed? Do all parts of the letter help to support the thesis, or does it go off track or introduce irrelevant material?
- Evidence: What does your research show about the problem? What facts, data or examples do you have to support this recommendation? Is the evidence sufficient, relevant, representative? Is it summarized effectively?
- Reasoning: Why does your evidence support the recommendation? What assumptions are you making about the evidence? Explaining why your evidence supports the recommendation, and identifying some key assumptions in your argument, are two good ways to show the reader your reasoning.
- Language: Uses language appropriately. This includes the following:
Because this is being sent to a real person, I will place more emphasis on language than I do on other assignments. It should be letter-perfect, without grammar errors, spelling errors or punctuation errors, and the style should be appropriate to the audience.
- The style is objective, formal, concise, precise and varied.
- The mechanics (punctuation, spelling and grammar) are correct.
- Quotes are relevant and accurate, illustrate important points, and are integrated smoothly into the essay.
- All paraphrases use your own words, and are integrated smoothly into the essay.
Length and Format
The recommendation should be between 500 and 1,000 words.
- It should be formatted as a business letter:
For more on business letter format, see here
- Typed; single-spaced; 10- or 12-point font, nothing fancy, not all in italics; 1-inch margins on all sides
- Your name and address at the top
- The date on a new line
- The recipient's name and address after that
- No title
- A salutation (Dear So-and-so:)
- Paragraphs separated by a single line
- I encourage you to print on both sides of the page, but it's not required.