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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Sample Student Papers

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Sample English Papers

Reading These Sample Papers

So, then, the papers. I want you to pay attention to a few things as you're looking at them:

  • They are realistic models in response to this assignment. They are not perfect. There are elements of each of these papers that could be improved in any number of ways. But, after two drafts, this is where they stand.
  • Look at the introductions. Pay particular attention to the introductory paragraphs. Thesis is crucial to building an argument. That is, the articulation of an arguable position. Not a statement of fact, not an observation of a state of being, not a knee-jerk emotional response to what has been read or seen. And, in addition to that position, I've asked my writers to consider including "a preview of coming attractions"—a sentence or two after the thesis that indicates the writer's method for proceeding, an anticipation of a framework for organizing the paper.
  • Look at the supporting evidence that these writers have brought in to their papers. Bringing quoted and paraphrased materials into a paper is a difficult skill to master. It requires that room for that "foreign material" is provided. That is, the quotes and paraphrases need to be properly introduced, integrated, and carefully connected to the part of the argument they were imported to support. The quotes and paraphrases cannot speak for themselves—they must be moved toward the thesis and argument.

The Papers

  1. What Does Time Have to Do With It?
  2. Solitude
  3. Liberation Theology: The Rich and the Poor
  4. The Mayan Cultural Effect