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Assignment Type: Argumentative

Audience: Students NOT enrolled in this class.

Topic:

Charles Duhigg asserts that “Habits can be changed if we understand how they work.”Explain and give examples of what Duhigg means by this: how habits work and how habits can be changed. Do you agree with his interpretation of the science he uses in his book? Often, we do not disagree with the science or the data we are presented; we are in disagreement with the way it has been interpreted and presented to us as readers. One way of looking at this topic is to see it simply: Ultimately, Duhigg’s claim is that we are not entirely in control of our behavior as much as we’d like to believe or think. This changes so much if we apply this argument to crime, addiction, study habits, hygiene, etc. A more philosophical question is this: If we can be “asleep” in our routines, are we really that in control of ourselves? When someone says, “He’s an alcoholic, he made a choice” is this an accurate argument in your opinion? Basically, I am asking you do you agree with what Duhigg is essentially implying? What is he implying? If you have difficulties getting started in your essay, start off with his assertion. Ultimately, is he weighing in on the topic of free will? If most of our habits are unconsciously learned, do we really have free will? Lots to consider.

Grading: This essay is worth 100 points. In your essay, be sure to use this checklist:

  • A clear, focused, and specific thesis (Remember, your thesis does not have to be at the bottom of your first paragraph. That is the 5 paragraph monster. But it should be identified)
  • Paragraphs with a main focus and a reasonable length
  • Effective explanations, summaries, and quotes that describe the ideas in the readings
  • Examples and details from the book or from other sources that illustrate the author’s ideas (cross-reference his sources and find them if necessary, eg. The Marshmallow Study, https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/willpower-gratification.pdf (Links to an external site.))
  • Thoughtful and in-depth discussion of the ideas from The Power of Habit
  • Well-written sentences
  • Words that effectively express ideas
  • Few or minor errors in the writing
  • Works cited page

Some Advice:

  • Assume your reader is someone who is NOT in our class. They are in another class.Spend time summarizing key ideas, defining any unfamiliar or important terms (eg. basal ganglia, keystone habits, the habit loop), selecting short quotes from the reading to help your reader understand the author’s ideas.
  • Include specific details, quotes, and examples from the reading to illustrate the author’s ideas.Similarly, include specific examples and details from your own experiences or observations so readers can understand your point of view.
  • Try to think beyond the obvious.Acknowledge the complexities or difficulties in the author’s ideas or your own situation.
  • Proofread your essay carefully.Think about the kinds of mistakes you tend to make (use your first paper as a guide), the writing we’ve been practicing in class, and the comments you received on your first essay.
  • Abandon the form-based approach and start from a place of purpose, audience, and content. These elements will build your context.

Rubric

EngWr 302 Essay Rubric

EngWr 302 Essay Rubric

Criteria Ratings Pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeHolistic ScoreGrading Criteria

50.0 pts

Superior thought-provoking and insightful

40.0 pts

Competent

30.0 pts

Adequate

20.0 pts

Needs Improvement

50.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeDevelopment Using Critical and Logical Reasoning

20.0 pts

The essay demonstrates a high ability to use logic. It guides the reader through a chain of reasoning or progression of ideas that strongly support the thesis.

16.0 pts

While the essay is fairly logical, 1-2 points may be shaky, but the general argument supports the thesis.

12.0 pts

The essay presents ideas in a loose structure with some faulty or incomplete logic. The thesis is supported, though some sections may drift out of focus.

8.0 pts

The essay lacks coherence and is poorly organized. The thesis is weakly supported.

4.0 pts

The essay lacks a clear sense of organization. The thesis is unsupported.

20.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeOrganization and Composition – Paragraph Level

15.0 pts

The essay has a logical organizational structure. A sophisticated sense of audience is present. Topic sentences are clear and compelling. The transitions are sophisticated.

13.0 pts

The essay is organized. A general sense of audience is present. Topic sentences and transitions are present, but they are often general.

9.0 pts

The essay is organized but reasoning is not always consistent. Audience awareness is minimal. A few topic sentences may be vague. The transitions are not always clear.

6.0 pts

The essay is randomly organized, or poorly reasoned. Audience awareness is weak. The majority of the sentences are unclear. Transitions are missing.

3.0 pts

The essay lacks an organizational or logical structure. The audience is ignored. Topic sentences and transitions are missing.

15.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMechanics/ Usage/ Grammar/ Spelling

10.0 pts

Writer exhibits a sophisticated command of language skills.

8.0 pts

Writer exhibits an adequate command of language skills.

6.0 pts

Writer exhibits a minimal command of language skills.

3.0 pts

Writer exhibits a less than minimal command of language skills.

0.0 pts

10.0 pts

This criterion is linked to a Learning OutcomeMLA Format and Documentation

5.0 pts

Paper is formatted in MLA 8th ed.

3.0 pts

Paper is formatted in MLA 8th ed. but there are some minor oversights.

1.0 pts

Paper attempts to format in MLA 8th ed., but there are lots of formatting issues.

0.0 pts

5.0 pts

Total Points: 100.0

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