flat earth debunked


            The paper opens with a clear introductory paragraph between 200-250 words long.  The introductory paragraph announces the topic immediately and provides any necessary definitions.  The introduction provides a clear context for the essay, answering the why? question–“why am I talking about this topic?’–with specific examples.  The introductory paragraph may use selective direct quotations to establish the context of the essay and the significance of the topic.

The introductory paragraph may be too short, and insufficiently developed, or too long, providing the reader information that might better be part of the essay’s body.  While the introductory paragraph summarizes the argument the writer will be considering in the essay, the summary may be insufficient or overly detailed, and the use of direct quotations may not contribute effectively to the summary.  The context may be unclear: the reader may question why the topic is significant.  The introduction may contain unnecessary “throat clearing”–“many people in the world today have weird beliefs”–or may include supporting details best considered in the body of the paper.

The paper has no clear introductory paragraph, or opens with a statement of thesis.

The introductory paragraph fails to announce the paper’s topic, or may fail to adequately establish context for the topic.



The introductory paragraph ends with a thesis statement.  The thesis statement is a single sentence, or a very closely related group of sentence, that announces the writer’s position on her topic. The thesis statement establishes that we are dealing with a weird belief–this topic is, for example, an example of a pseudoscience, or the product of conspiratorial thinking–and clearly announces the writers position on the topic.    


3          The introductory paragraph ends with a thesis statement, but may be too broad or, conversely, too narrow.  The thesis statement may be closer to a statement of fact–“acupuncture is a healing technique”–than an argument, failing to offer a claim that can be developed in the body of the paper.  The thesis may be an unanswered question, or fail to adequately announce the writers position on the topic (“The value of chiropractic medicine remains a matter of debate.”)

5           The paper is developed using a series of body paragraphs.  Body paragraphs are between 200 – 250 words long.  Body paragraphs are unified around a single main point, and announce that point with topic sentences.  Body paragraphs are developed through the use of specific examples and illustrations that contribute unambiguously to the essay’s thesis statement.


3          Body paragraphs are generally between 200 – 250 words long, although some paragraphs may be too long–an indication that a new body paragraph, focused on a new main point–is necessary, or conversely, too short (which indicates that a body paragraph is insufficiently developed

1          Body paragraphs may not be unified around a single main point, and may open with unclear topic sentences.  Body paragraphs may lack sufficient specific examples and illustrations that contribute unambiguously to the essay’s thesis statement.  The paper may not be organized by body paragraphs at all.  Body paragraphs contain no topic sentences.  Body paragraphs are not developed using specific examples and illustration


5          The essay uses at least ten sources, but will almost certainly use more. At least five of these sources will be primary, and involve testimony or evidence derived from true believers.  Additional sources will come from articles weve read, and articles the writer has found on her own.  Primary sources will be used chiefly to illustrate faulty thinking.  The writer will use credible, relevant, resources to debunk the topic.  The writer’s use of evidence always supports the essay’s thesis.  Ten to fifteen percent of this essay should consist of direct quotations, not much more, and not much less.  The writer establishes his or her sources’ credentials in a signal phrase.


3          While the writer meets the essays source requirements, sources may not always support the essay’s thesis, and connections between the thesis and supporting examples may be unclear.  Sources may lack appropriate signal phrases establishing the significance of the citation, and direct quotations may not be adequately analyzed.  The writer may use too many, or too few direct quotations.


1          This essay fails to meet the essays research requirements.  The essay fails to use appropriate primary resources to establish faulty thinking, and may fail to credible, relevant sources to debunk the topic.  The writer’s use of evidence fails to relate to, or support, the essay’s thesis.  The writer may fail to use any direct quotations.  Conversely, twenty percent of more of the final essay may be direct quotations, creating a “patchwork essay.”