writing essay-3

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My topic is food safety problem in China (food security and food sovereignty)

TASK:

Please select a scholarly source on a relevant food justice topic that you’re interested in writing about for Essay #1. This scholarly source should be an outside source, which means that you have found it through independent research (so, it is not a scholarly essay that I have already shared with the class). Once you’ve found your outside, scholarly source, please compose a short essay of 650-800 words that addresses the following prompts directly:

  1. Begin your essay by providing the relevant details of your chosen source (title, author(s), publication journal and date). Then: how would you summarize the main claims of the essay’s author or authors? What evidence or reasoning does the author use to justify those claims? Does the author acknowledge any remaining questions or weaknesses in their arguments?
  2. Describe, briefly, how and why you found and selected this source. Frame this section as a narrative where you describe to the audience the resources/databases/search engines etc. you used to find this source, the key words used, any outside help received, any research “tips and tricks” you employed, and/or any challenges or concerns you faced while researching. Please also briefly explain why you selected this source in particular.
  3. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the argument based on two criteria: (1) how compelling and persuasive of an argument is this essay for a general audience, and (2) how compelling and persuasive of an argument is this essay for an audience made of up of experts in the same field or discipline as the author(s)?Once you’ve completed your evaluation of the essay based on the expectations of two different audiences, explain why you think there’s a difference, no difference, or some similarities and differences in why and how the essay is likely persuasive for the two different audiences.**
  4. End your essay by explaining how this source provided you with new perspective on the source’s highlighted food justice topic. Even if you disagreed with the authors, or had concerns or skepticism with certain portions of the essay, how and why did the essay shape your understanding of the topic at hand? Are there any outstanding questions that you’re left with about the topic that you’d like to look into in more depth?

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS OF A SUCCESSFUL ESSAY:

  • It must evaluate a scholarly (so, from a peer-reviewed journal only) essay on a food justice topic that you’d like to explore more in Essay #1.
  • The scholarly essay must be identified through independent, outside research.
  • It should not be shorter than 650 words. It can be longer than 800 words, but it should not need much more than that to be thorough yet focused and concise.
  • It must address all four prompts listed above clearly and obviously.
  • It should not directly quote from the scholarly essay at any point. A key skill in this essay is paraphrasing and summarizing in your own words. You’ll be able to quote directly from sources in future assignment, but do not include any direct quotes from the source in this assignment.
  • It should have a header, title, and should be reasonably proofread (some typos and mistakes are OK if the main ideas are clear).
  • It should Include a MLA-style Works Cited entry for the scholarly source at the end of the essay.

If you have any questions about the assignment, your topic, or how to find an appropriate source, please email me ASAP. Remember, I’m available to meet in person and digitally this summer if the need arises, but we just need to set that up with 24-hour notice.

**ADDITIONAL INFO AND SUPPORT:

In general, Step #3 can be the trickiest prompt for students to address in this assignment, but it’s also the most critical to the success of the essay (it is, after all, primarily an evaluation essay). Evaluating the essay’s strengths and weaknesses for a general audience should be relatively straightforward: you are the general audience. How well does the essay meet your expectations of a persuasive argument? Very few, though, (I’d wager none of us, truly!) are actual experts in any field – but that’s generally who authors of scholarly essays are writing for and toward. Some scholars, however, do a better job than others of making their conclusions accessible and engaging for all readers. Beyond the normal critical reading questions you should be considering, here are some questions to reflect on when preparing your response to #3 (please note that you don’t have to answer ANY of these directly in your essay – these are just for your use if you’re struggling with this this part of the assignment):

  • What do you think an expert in the field would expect to see from this essay?
  • Are the authors taking time to define key concepts, theories, context, and/or influential people for their topic? What do their choices say about who they think their audience is?
  • Does the author seem to take a stance that’s contrarian to the field’s conventional wisdom or assumptions, or does the author seem to be largely agreeing (or adding to) the general consensus of the field? How might that impact an expert audience’s reaction to the piece?
  • Does the author acknowledge counterarguments, objections, and/or potential limitations in their own conclusions? How might an expert in the field consider these efforts toward the success of the essay?
  • Hint: a key difference between (most) general audiences and (most) expert audiences is that expert audiences tend to appreciate and value very narrow areas of focus, limited and/or qualified conclusions, and explicit acknowledgement of not only what claims the authors think their research supports, but also what cannot be drawn from their research at this point. This can be frustrating to some general audiences, who might not mind generalizations and inaccuracies or broad analysis if the conclusions feel more “black and white,” and/or definitive. Most expert audiences, on the other hand, accept that knowledge is iterative, is created at a very slow pace, can be refuted, and is always contextual (meaning that it might not apply universally, but only in specific context). Consider this difference as you prepare your response to #3.
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