Research-based Essay

Answer one of the following essay prompts, in a well-thought out, analytical response.

Whichever prompt you choose, you will need to use material from course as primary source.

Do not turn in general essays over the topic that isn’t driven by an article, notes, or movie from this course. If so, there will be an automatic 50 point deduction from final essay grade.

Side Note: Make sure you are thinking beyond 5 paragraph essay (add 4 or more body

paragraphs; more is better)

  • APA Format: header, heading, title, content, references
  • Length: 4-5 pages (title page, abstract, and references do not count towards page limit)
  • Outside Assistance: Writing Center (mandatory)
  • Sources: minimum 4, maximum 7 sources; at least one of these sources must be from ProQuest (go to PV online library database).
  • Quotes: Use 1-2 quotes per paragraph but make sure analysis outweighs quotes so that your matching isn’t too high/or that your paragraphs are not relying mainly on quotes.
  • Make sure quotes are not longer than 2 lines (aim for shorter quotes).
  • No more than 1 quote in introduction and/or conclusion.
  • Block Quotes: 1 blocked quote that is no longer than 5 lines is allowed.
  • If there are multiple simple errors that you have been corrected on, such as using first person, using quotes when you’re not quoting, not creating an original/unique title, essay being centered, failing to quote in each body paragraph, failing to mention primary source in each paragraph, etc., 20 points will be deducted from final essay grade.

Writing Process

1. Select a topic: Topic is one of the prompts.

2. Write a tentative thesis to establish your purpose for research. This is what you are

trying to support. After some reading, you may need to refine your thesis statement.

3. Take notes before writing. There are different methods of note-taking: index cards and highlighting your copies are two. Select the one that works better for you unless instructed otherwise. If you select to use highlighting, use a different color highlighter for each topic within your subject (comparable to main points on the outline).

4. Optional: In lieu of a rough draft, make a sentence outline using the information assembled

from your notes. Add quotes to your outline.

5. Write a Reference Page following APA guidelines.

6. Write the final copy.

7. Proofread the final copy.

8. Turn a copy online to Canvas (Turnitin will be on to scan plagiarism).

9. Transition sheet is on Canvas.

10. Utilize Writing Center

11. It would be best not to choose a topic you know your classmate is working on; vary topics amongst students to avoid plagiarism. Plagiarized essays receive automatic zero and will likely result in a failing grade for the course.  


Option 1: “Ritual and Racism; A Social-historical Analysis of the Crack Sentencing Guidelines” by Brooks Berndt and “France’s Invisible Disaster: How Heroin Devastated the Banlieues in the 1980s” by Sylvia Zappi

 Compare and contrast America’s war on drugs with Europe’s (France). What is similar between the two? What significant differences are shown between the two articles?

Option 2: Monster (2003) or Norway Massacre:

 Looking at the film and using class notes, write an analysis over one of the following:

  1. Do you sympathize with Aileen Wuornos? If so, explain why in a thoroughly written essay. If no, explain why not in detail.
  • Do you sympathize with Anders Behring Breivik? If so, explain why in a thoroughly written essay. If no, explain why not in detail.

Option 3: Loving v Virginia

Using the supreme court case, Loving v Virginia (1967), explain the following: equal application, the 14th amendment, due process, racial discrimination by classification, and miscegenation. Make sure you apply these to the case. For instance, do not generally discuss due process without stating how it is important in the overall ruling.

Option 4: Chemical Castration: Breaking the Cycle of Paraphiliac Recidivism

In a well-developed essay, discuss the pros and/or cons of chemical castration as outline by Christopher Meisenkothen.

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