For this paper, you will choose a debatable term related to your studies or future career that is of interest to you. You will define the term using whatever evidence you determine to be the most compelling and uniquely describe the term you are defining. Make sure that the definition is your own and that it is not simply a different meaning of a word with multiple interpretations.
• Review the grading rubric as listed on the following.
• Choose a debatable term that is of interest to you.
• Develop an essay according to the following formatting guidelines: (Papers submitted that do not meet these formatting requirements will be returned to you ungraded.)
• Minimum of 2 typed, double-spaced pages (about 750–800 words), Times New Roman, 12 pt font size
• MLA formatting (see the MLA Format page as needed)
• Submitted as either a .Microsoft Word doc, .or rtf file
• Submit your essay as a single file upload with your first and last name in the file name.
Your broader purpose here is to engage in a thoughtful, expansive conversation about your term, but you must still shape—and make clear to your audience—your more specific purpose. Your goal in this paper is to reflect on and articulate the meaning of a word or term that has some resonance for you. For your reader, the paper should offer a clear sense of what you think the term means, how your thoughts connect to what others think of the term, why and in what context the definition matters.
How you arrange your essay is your choice, but you will want to consider where to place your support. How will you weave together a definition of an abstract term with an attention-grabbing narrative, examples, negation, and other tactics of definition that best explain the concept?
How to Proceed
Once you have decided on your audience, your term, and the support for defining that term, how do you go about actually composing a definition? There are many tactics of definition, or definition questions, and we will consider and practice them in class. You will not use all of them in this paper (that would be more like a list than a well-structured essay!), but you should choose the ones that work best for this term and audience.
What you should not do in this essay is define something the way we already know it; in other words, try not to tell us that a computer is a machine for accessing the World Wide Web and Word processing. We don’t need to read that compromise is finding an in-between in a conflict. Aim for something invigorating and fresh. Make it exigent.
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