Re: Essay 3
Your next assignment is the independent research/ expository essay.
It will be due two weeks from this Wednesday on April 13th, before we go to Spring Break.
With this assignment, you will be choosing your own topic. I encourage you to choose a topic
that you actually enjoy and steer away from a topic you think I will like. In previous semesters,
students have written on Dungeons & Dragons, cheerleading, drag queens, the history of
videogames, hair extensions/products and makeup… Basically, the things that they WANT to
know more about and WANT to share with the world.
In a nutshell, an expository essay explains. That is what “expository” means – explanation. With
this assignment, you are explaining or teaching something. You’re not trying to argue or
persuade because I already believe you. I’m already on board. Here, you’re really walking me
through things as they are. So when I say “choose a topic that you actually enjoy,” I mean it!
This is your opportunity to do something you would naturally do and to explain something that
excites you. If you are already watching YouTube videos on a topic, then that’s a good idea for
choosing what to write about in this essay.
I appreciate the explanation provided on Grammarly’s website that expository essays “explain
subjects, events, and concepts to the reader, sometimes walking them through processes” and
that an “expository essay is an essay that communicates factual information. Broadly, this type
of writing is known as expository writing. Expository essays rely on different structures to
communicate their positions, like compare and contrast, process essays, and analyzing cause
and effect. Expository writing is one of the four main types of writing. The others are persuasive,
narrative, and descriptive writing.”
For this assignment, you need to aim for at 6 pages with at least 6 references, so this is not
some cheap throwaway assignment. Yes, “four is the floor” but you’re going to need to “up your
game” and pull together some good material. Unlike the previous two essays, there are less
restrictions on the sources you choose. I’m looking for at least two professional or scholarly
sources, but depending on the topic, “professional” and “scholarly” can mean different things.
Ex: An essay on digital tablets (Samsung vs. Apple vs. Microsoft) would likely pull
information from users of the tablets, creators/designers of the tablets, and app
designers. There’s no need to pull something from the databases. These sources
provide you with the “professional” and knowledgeable (scholarly) sources you would
need to explain your topic.
Ex: An essay on the political process would likely pull information from politicians,
journalists, etc. BUT (because of where the world and our country are at) MAY ALSO
need to bring historians and media analysts into the conversation. It is likely that you will
need actual scholarship (not just “talking heads” or self-proclaimed “experts”) and the
database is a superior source for finding these sources, but not the exclusive source.
Ex: If you are writing about a musician like Ariana Grande, you may want to focus on the
artist, her personal life, and causes (like mental health) that they support/promote. You
probably won’t find a lot about Grande’s personal life on the databases, and you *might*
find something about her music and career (debatable) on the databases, but you
probably would find reputable, scholarly sources where it relates to mental health and
There is no “standard” way to do the expository essay. It depends entirely on the flow of the
author – you. As the Grammarly source says, “expository essays come in many forms. These
include the following:
In a classification essay, you write about various subjects within one category, discussing
each subject’s unique characteristics alongside the characteristics that connect it with
others in its category. For example, you might write a classification essay about different
kinds of herding dogs. Your essay would start with a thesis statement about how herding
breeds are different from other categories of dogs, then in each paragraph, discuss
specific herding breeds (corgi, collie, heeler, etc.).
A definition essay defines its subject by presenting clear facts about it. Your definition
essay might challenge commonly repeated myths about a historical event by presenting
firsthand accounts of the event from primary sources and discussing relevant social,
political, and economic trends that impacted the event and influenced perceptions of it.
A process essay walks the reader through the steps involved in completing a task. A
recipe has a lot in common with a process essay. A process essay’s opening paragraph
explains the process that will be covered and the end result of following the directions.
Each body paragraph is a step in the process, then the conclusion explains what the
reader should have achieved by completing each step.
In a compare-and-contrast essay, you support your thesis statement by examining the
differences and similarities between the sources cited. For example, you might write an
essay comparing and contrasting the dress code at your school with the dress codes at
two neighboring schools. Your body paragraphs might examine the differences in which
articles of clothing are and aren’t allowed as well as the overall preciseness of each
dress code’s language and the amount of “gray area” present in each policy.
As the name implies, a cause-and-effect essay gets into how specific events and/or
actions caused others to occur. They sometimes trace chains of events to explore why
we find ourselves facing certain circumstances today. An example of a cause-and-effect
essay might be one tracking how shifting market trends over the past few decades
impacted the industries in your region, creating the current local economy.
If your topic is a historical overview then the “process” of the process essay format is not steps,
but (we might say) stages or developments. If your essay topic, for example, discusses World
War II, then your “process” might start with the economic collapse of Germany after World War I,
move in to the rise of the Nazi Party, and then discuss the impact of the Nazis on German life –
their failure to deliver on their empty promises. You’re not trying to solve anything. It happened.
You’re trying to explain what happened. That’s it.
Similarly, if your essay explains how to have a happy marriage (let’s say you’ve been married 20
years and have some experience here!) then it stands to reason that you might blend elements
of cause-and-effect and compare-contrast essays, instructing your reader on what TO DO and
what NOT TO DO (because someone else did it that way and they’re unhappy in their
In other words, there are a lot of variables here, depending on where you want to take the topic
and what you want to focus on in terms of your explanation. There are lots of ways to get it
wrong, but there are far, far more ways to get it right, so I want you to “own” this and show off
your ability to collect relevant research and teach/explain something. Trust your judgment, but
don’t cut corners. Websites, videos, or other popular sources and avenues of material are all fair
This week, I want you to begin to collect research.
Yep. That’s it.
This week, you’re going to narrow down a topic and once you’ve done that, you should start
collecting your sources/research. By Friday, you’re going to post an outline of Essay 3 and
links to two of the sources you have found to support your topic. We’re not looking for
Works Cited entries here, it’s fine to copy and paste the link, offer the title of the book, or
whatever else you find.
If you start working on Essay 3, developing an intro paragraph, that’s great! I support that! But
this week, your only assignments are to
● pick a topic
● collect information and sources related to your topic, and
● post an outline and links to two sources by Friday, April 1st
The deadline for Essay 3 will be Wednesday, April 13th.
If you need to move that back to Friday, April 15th, let me know, but the latest deadline possible
will be the 15th. Let me know in the discussion next week (week 12) what y’all decide.
I’d prefer you get this assignment out of the way early to free up your schedule for Spring Break
(April 15 – 24th), but y’all discuss on the GroupMe or wherever is convenient and let me know in
next week’s discussion forum what you decide.
My Writing Lab
The deadline for My Writing Lab is Monday, April 25th. There is at least two of you who
haven’t been keeping up with the modules. Yes, there’s still time (deadline is Monday, April 25th)
but you need to make the most of the next few weeks to finish.
I can see some of you have not logged into My Writing Lab yet. There are two of you who I’ve
talked to over the phone, but a few of you are not doing the work. You need to get moving on
that if you want to regain those points. I’m going to close the door on that assignment on April
25th and transfer the grades, whether you are finished or not. There will be no extensions. It is
going to be data transfer, not one of those things where you can have “just one more day.”
The majority of you were able to get into the MWL. This is because you may have been
assigned MWL in English 101 or have been given access to My Math Lab. MWL and MMM are
by the same company (Pearson) and the codes cross-polinate. By now, you should have
already accessed it, taken Pathbuilder, and made progress on the assigned modules. If you
haven’t done this, you need to contact me immediately to get back on track.