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September 29, 2023

The Definition Essay

The Definition Essay. When someone asks us what a particular word means, we do not just rattle off a dictionary definition; instead, we define the term as we understand it, usually offering up specific examples or other evidence to further clarify the meaning. For our next essay, we are going to further explore a term that is used in the news today.

The topics:

In a 2 to 4-page essay (PLUS a Works Cited page), define one of the following terms:

  1. Universal Basic Income
  2. Fentanyl
  3. Cultural Appropriation
  4. Gerrymandering

What do you have to do? We will include a basic definition as well as an extended definition, which may use specific examples, history, etymology, compare/contrast, and more. The idea is not to write a technical article; instead, we are going to use denotation and connotation together to define a term in such a way that our audience can easily understand.

The Definition Essay

NOTE: This is our first research essay, which means you must include correct in-text citation and a Works Cited page.  Any essay that lacks either will receive a zero F.  Also, any information in the essay without a citation that is not common knowledge is considered plagiarism, which will also result in a grade of zero F. The Definition Essay. Serious cases of plagiarism will be reported for Academic Dishonesty.  I have included lots of notes, video lectures, and quizzes in the Essay #2 module to prepare you.  Learning these rules is up to you! (Remember that first discussion board about self-directed learning!)

Rules to remember:

  • The essay must be typed and in MLA format.
  • It must also cite at least 3 scholarly sources, making sure to use proper MLA citation both in the text and in a Works Cited page.
  • Your 3 sources must come from CQ Researcher, Academic Search Complete, NPR.org, and PBS.org/Newshour.
  • You may use more than three sources, but they can only come from one of these sources listed; information from any other source will be considered plagiarism and result in a grade of zero.

I strongly recommend starting with CQ Researcher, then moving to NPR and PBS Newshour, and filling any specific “holes” in your essay by searching Academic Search Complete. The Definition Essay. Articles in CQ Researcher, NPR and PBS Newshour are all pretty easy to understand; while Academic Search Complete can provide good information, you run the risk of running into some overly technical articles as well.   Do NOT use the dictionary, an encyclopedia, or Wikipedia as a source.

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