ENC102 - College Composition II

Revised February 27, 2001

This material is not intended to duplicate or replace the tapes, textbooks, or study guide.
It is a constantly changing supplement to the materials provided or required by the college.

Go to the Frequently Asked Questions

Computer Viruses

I receive email with file attachments from a large number of students in all parts of the world. As a result, I am a perfect vector for computer viruses. If I get an undetected virus, I may spread it to other students. I use the McAfee VirusScan and VShield programs and update them frequently.  I have avoided quite a few viruses. On at least one occasion, however, a very new virus got through. As a result, I urge all students to obtain and run their own virus protection software. Whether you have your own or not, I also strongly suggest use of McAfee's  VirusScan Online. It  will clean your hard drive of even the most recent viruses.

Required Materials

The Research Paper

Please note that many of the assignments involve some aspect of the completed research paper which is to be submitted as Assignment 10. The final paper should be double-spaced. The actual text should be five to ten pages long.


The examinations show me two things: how well do you understand the concepts presented and how well do you write in a controlled situation with no possibility of help.

There are multiple versions of both tests. Both tests, however, are likely to require definitions or explanations of key terms and concepts. There may also be one or more short essays requiring you to explain something in greater detail.


Most students are well aware of what plagiarism is, as well as the possible consequences. Every semester, however, one or more students are caught and then claim they didn't know that what they did was plagiarism. As a result, I want to be very explicit about it.

The College's Student Handbook states quite clearly:

Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely punished. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs or whole documents word-for-word--or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there--without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing.

At the very least you will receive a zero for the assignment. If it appears to be a deliberate act, I may fail you for the course. I will report the incident to the appropriate administrator and you may be subject to additional penalty.

Please be sure to use quotation marks when needed and always indicate the source of your information or data. Listing your source as a Work Cited does not entitle you to use the author's words without quotation marks. Be particularly careful when using information obtained from the Internet. If I (or any of your other mentors) become suspicious, we know all too well how to search the Internet for your source or sources.   If you have any doubt at all, err on the side of caution and repeat your source.

Final Grade

The Course Manual states that the final grade is 50% for the assignments and 25% each for the Mid-term and Final exams. Note, however, that the assignments are not all given the same weight; most are 3% but the argumentative essay (#6) is 10% and the final research paper (the whole point of the course) is 16%.

Assignment 1 3%
Assignment 2 3%
Assignment 3 3%
Assignment 4 3%
Assignment 5 3%
Assignment 6 10%
Mid-term Exam 25%
Assignment 7 3%
Assignment 8 3%
Assignment 9 3%
Assignment 10 16%
Final Exam 25%
TOTAL 100%

Notes on the Assignments

Important: The page numbers assigned in the text, Writing Research Papers, are for the critical material--pages you must read if you are to succeed in the course. The pages not directly assigned may or may not be helpful depending on your topic and approach. I recommend looking at them briefly to see if they may be useful--if so, read them. 


Write a brief informative, expressive or argumentative essay of three (3) or four (4) paragraphs on the topic of minority rights. In the essay, emphasize one of the following: the reader, the writer or the content. 

This assignment serves two purposes. It is an assignment that is graded and weighs in your final grade, but it is also a diagnostic essay that forms the basis of my appraisal of your writing ability. Based on what I see in this first essay, I will recommend that you strive to improve in particular areas.

In short, this assignment serves to show me what you think constitutes acceptable college-level writing.


One of the points in the lesson is that you do research in everyday life.  Now that you are familiar with the steps in conducting informal research, think about your research topic for this course and write a short essay of three (3) or four (4) paragraphs in which you discuss the following:

  1. What is the purpose of your research?
  2. What sources did you consult?
  3. What steps did you take?
  4. Describe the results of your research

 Send the essay to your mentor.

Send the general topic for your research paper to your mentor.

This assignment requires that you identify your "general" topic; you may also tell me how you intend to narrow it if you can. The sooner we agree on a workable topic the sooner you can begin work on the paper in earnest. Other than assignment 8, all subsequent assignments will involve this topic and move you closer to your completed research paper in assignment 10. If the earlier assignments (particularly 7 and 9) are to help you correct, revise and polish the final paper, they must be submitted on time (or early). This will allow me to grade and return your work with time remaining for you to make any necessary changes.

The second part of Assignment 2 requires you to describe an occasion when you performed the type of everyday research most people do before any major decision. In writing about your research, be sure to address all four points.


Use both the library and the Internet to compile a working bibliography of ten (10) sources for your research paper. Use either the MLA or the APA form, but do mix the two in your bibliography.

 Write a preliminary thesis for your research paper.

 Send the bibliography list and preliminary thesis to your mentor.

Where to Get the Information

The assignment requires that you "Use both the library and the Internet" to find your sources.  Indicate which style you intend to follow APA or MLA. It is a good idea to put bibliographic material in the correct format as early as possible. This allows you to correct or add material while the items are at hand. You might be missing a journal's volume number, for example.


The Writing Center at California State University, Los Angeles provides a number of useful resources.

A comparison of APA and MLA styles.
MLA style examples
APA style examples

If you are citing an electronic source, use the guidelines and examples for MLA style beginning on page 258 of your text, Writing Research Papers. The APA style discussion begins on page 288. There are many variations in handbooks and on the web itself in applying MLA or APA style to electronic sources. Prof. Lester's approach is clear and uniform. Be sure to include the URL's so that I can access the sources you use.

Your working bibliography must have at least ten items. This is a minimum; you may, of course, have more. I will be looking for material that will likely contain "overview, focusing and supporting materials." I will also be looking at the dates of your material to see if you have included recent discoveries, research or theories. How, for example, could anyone do a good paper on AIDS or the Internet if the most recent material was even one year old? 

The Modern Language Association and "MLA Style"

Honolulu Community College lists other useful sites for MLA information and examples.

Bibliography versus Works Cited

Your working bibliography (or any bibliography) is simply a list of sources on a particular subject.  In a research paper such as your final paper as submitted for Assignment Ten, you will include a "Works Cited" page. This is a list of sources that are actually used and specifically named or cited in the paper. Put simply, if you don't mention a source in the paper, you may not list it as a work "cited."

The "How Many?" Question

Many students ask for a number. "How many sources do I have to have?" There is no set number; each writer must determine the answer based on the topic and the availability of appropriate sources. 

The use of a single source is unacceptable. A paper based on one source might more accurately be called a "book report" than a "research paper." Another common weakness in research papers is the "strung together" use of sources. Typically, one source is cited over and over for a page or so, then the writer moves to source two for the next section, then source three, and so on.  All the sources should be integrated.  In other words, the writer should use a variety of sources to support the first point, then use a variety of sources to support the second point, and each subsequent point. 
When a writer finds a major comprehensive source that cites other sources, it is a secondary source, and the writer should try to find and use the original or primary sources. This allows the writer to see the information or data as it was originally presented, to verify that it was not misinterpreted or misrepresented out of context, and to find additional information not used in the secondary source.

For the final paper, I would recommend no less than five sources but ten would be a stronger paper.

The Thesis

Include your preliminary thesis and place it at the top of the page. Be sure your thesis is a statement and meets the criteria outlines in the lesson.

You may want to review the discussion and advice regarding Introductions and the Thesis Statements at the Fergus Falls Community College On-line Writing Lab (OWL).

.A much more detailed discussion of the Thesis Statement can be found at Prof. John Tagg's web site at Palomar College.


Using your research paper topic, prepare samples of the following:

  1. A bibliography note card.

  2. A summary note card.

  3. A paraphrase note card.

  4. A direct quote note card.

  5. A key terms note card.

Send these to your mentor.

Send either the actual 3 X 5 cards, photocopies, or the equivalent as printed from your working computer files.


Prepare a detailed outline for your research paper and send it to your mentor.

Your outline should include your paper's title, your thesis, and an outline of your paper presented formally with Roman Numerals, etc.


Write a short argumentative essay of about one and one-half (1˝) pages on your research paper topic.  Send the essay to your mentor.

Use the standard format for essays.

Use MLA style documentation to indicate the source of any information that is not "common knowledge." For academic writing in the Humanities, MLA style is generally used. In a less formal writing situation, you might indicate the source less formally. At the least: "A recent article in the New York Times reported that . . . " See page 122 in the Lester book.


Revise and rewrite your thesis sentence.

 Write the introductory paragraph and one other correctly documented (APA or MLA) body paragraph.

 Send the thesis and paragraphs to your mentor.

The purpose of this assignment is to demonstrate your ability to correctly support your position with properly documented sources -- not footnotes, but parenthetically as illustrated in section 7a, "Blending A Reference Into Your Text" in Lester's Writing Research Papers.

I will be reviewing and grading your introduction and one body paragraph, of your choice, which will demonstrate your ability to correctly use parenthetical reference. You may, however, send your complete draft and indicate which paragraphs you want graded. This will provide me with the context of the paragraph you choose as well as the ability to check a second or third paragraph if you seem to be having trouble.

I cannot edit or correct your entire paper, but you may ask pointed questions about other parts of the draft so that I may guide you at this early stage of the paper.


Select one of the two essays presented in the course study guide (either “The Steroid Seduction” or “The Running Rage”) and rewrite it, using some of the changes suggested in the program.

 Send the rewritten essay to your mentor.

Do not rewrite one of your own essays. You must rewrite one of the two essays in Read, Write, Research: "The Steroid Seduction" or "The Running Rage" found at the end of Lesson 11. Some revisions are suggested in the text, but others are left to the student.


Select three (3) consecutive paragraphs from the current draft of your research paper. Revise those paragraphs by adding, deleting and moving material around until you are satisfied with them. Check that they are carefully and correctly documented (APA or MLA). Note all of your revisions and write a paragraph or two explaining the changes.

Assignment 9 requires three things:

  1. Three paragraphs from your paper,
  2. The same three paragraphs as revised, and
  3. A paragraph or so from you explaining your changes.

Some students find it helpful to write on the first draft showing the changes, crossing outs words, adding words or even sentences and using arrows to show how things will be moved. A second copy of the paper shows how the revisions were incorporated.

I cannot edit your entire paper, but you may ask pointed questions about other parts of the draft so that I may guide you before you submit your final paper.


Write a final clean and revised, documented (APA or MLA) research paper. Send your completed research paper to your mentor.

This is to be a complete research paper which has been revised and corrected to the absolute best of your ability. Proofread; then proofread again.

Before mailing, check the format of your Works Cited page very carefully. Be careful not to include anything on the Works Cited page unless you refer to or cite the material in your paper. Items in the working bibliography must be deleted if they are not used. An otherwise very well written paper can receive a low grade for failure to include a correctly formatted Works Cited page.

Be certain to properly indicate your sources in the text.

Go to the Top of the page

Do not hesitate to call or send Email if you have any questions. Include a portion of your assignment if you wish. I generally respond in less than 24 hours.

Dr. Lawrence Knapp

Consultant and Mentor -- Thomas Edison State College
  Full Professor -- Essex County College