Touchstone 1.1: Engage with a Work of Research

Touchstones are projects that illustrate your comprehension of the course material, help you refine skills, and demonstrate application of knowledge. You can work on a Touchstone anytime, but you can’t submit it until you have completed the unit’s Challenges. Once you’ve submitted a Touchstone, it will be graded and counted toward your final course score.
ASSIGNMENT: For this essay, you will select one of the articles provided below and engage in a 2-3 page summary and response dialogue with the source. This will involve providing a detailed summary of the source’s argument and responding to that argument with your position based on the information provided in the source.

In order to foster learning and growth, all essays you submit must be newly written specifically for this course. Any recycled work will be sent back with a 0, and you will be given one attempt to redo the Touchstone.

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A. Assignment Guidelines
DIRECTIONS: Refer to the list below throughout the writing process. Do not submit your Touchstone until it meets these guidelines.

1. Article Summary
❒ Have you communicated the source’s purpose?
❒ Have you included all of the source’s main points?
❒ Have you restated the source’s argument in your own words?
2. Article Response
❒ Have you provided your perspective on the source’s argument?
❒ Have you used specific examples from the source to illustrate why you either agree or disagree with the argument?
3. Reflection
❒ Have you answered all reflection questions thoughtfully and included insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses?
❒ Are your answers included on a separate page below the main assignment?
B. Reflection Questions
DIRECTIONS: Below your assignment, include answers to all of the following reflection questions.

What ideas originally came to mind when you first read through the article? Did your initial response to the article change after reading it for a second time? (3-4 sentences)
How does paying attention to the way you respond to a source help you formulate your stance on a topic? (2-3 sentences)

C. Rubric
Advanced (90-100%) Proficient (80-89%) Acceptable (70-79%) Needs Improvement (50-69%) Non-Performance (0-49%)
Source Summary
Summarize the main argument of a research source.
Provides a complete and accurate summary of the article’s main purpose and argument in the writer’s own words. Provides an accurate summary of the article’s main purpose and argument in the writer’s own words. Provides an accurate summary, but relies too heavily on source quotations. Provides an incomplete summary of the article’s main purpose and argument and/or relies too heavily on source quotations. Does not provide a complete and accurate summary of the article’s main purpose and argument in the writer’s own words.
Source Response
Articulate a response to the argument presented in a research source.
Constructs a thoughtful and academically appropriate response to the source, including samples from the source that relate to the response. Constructs an academically appropriate response to the source, including samples from the source that relate to the response. Constructs an academically appropriate response to the source, but could include more samples from the source that relate to the response. Constructs a response to the source, but does not include samples that relate to the response. Does not construct an academically appropriate response to the source and/or does not include samples from the source that relate to the response.
Organization
Exhibit competent organizational writing techniques.
Includes all of the required components of a summary and response essay, including an introduction with an engaging summary of the source’s argument, body paragraphs containing a detailed and thoughtful response to the argument, and a conclusion with a concluding statement. Includes all of the required components of a summary and response essay, including an introduction with a summary of the source’s argument, body paragraphs containing a response to the argument, and a conclusion with a concluding statement. Includes nearly all of the required components of summary and response essay; however, one component is missing. Includes most of the required components of a summary and response essay, but is lacking two components; sequences ideas and paragraphs such that the connections between ideas (within and between paragraphs) are sometimes unclear and the reader may have difficulty following the progression of the essay. Lacks several or all of the components of a summary and response essay; sequences ideas and paragraphs such that the connections between ideas (within and between paragraphs) are often unclear and the reader has difficulty following the progression of the essay.
Style
Establish a consistent, informative tone and make thoughtful stylistic choices.
Demonstrates thoughtful and effective word choices, avoids redundancy and imprecise language, and uses a wide variety of sentence structures. Demonstrates effective word choices, primarily avoids redundancy and imprecise language, and uses a variety of sentence structures. Demonstrates generally effective style choices, but may include occasional redundancies, imprecise language, poor word choice, and/or repetitive sentence structures. Frequently includes poor word choices, redundancies, imprecise language, and/or repetitive sentence structures. Consistently demonstrates poor word choices, redundancies, imprecise language, and/or repetitive sentence structures.
Conventions
Follow conventions for standard written English.
There are only a few, if any, negligible errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are occasional minor errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are some significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are frequent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage. There are consistent significant errors in grammar, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, formatting, and usage.
Reflection
Answer reflection questions thoroughly and thoughtfully.
Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; consistently includes insights, observations, and/or examples in all responses, following or exceeding response length guidelines. Demonstrates thoughtful reflection; includes multiple insights, observations, and/or examples, following response length guidelines. Primarily demonstrates thoughtful reflection, but some responses are lacking in detail or insight; primarily follows response length guidelines. Shows limited reflection; the majority of responses are lacking in detail or insight, with some questions left unanswered or falling short of response length guidelines. No reflection responses are present.
D. Requirements
The following requirements must be met for your submission to be graded:

Composition must be 2-3 pages (approximately 500-750 words).
Double-space the composition and use one-inch margins.
Use a readable 12-point font.
All writing must be appropriate for an academic context.
Composition must be original and written for this assignment.
Plagiarism of any kind is strictly prohibited.
Submission must include your name, the name of the course, the date, and the title of your composition.
Include all of the assignment components in a single file.
Acceptable file formats include .doc and .docx.
E. Additional Resources
The following resources will be helpful to you as you work on this assignment:

Purdue Online Writing Lab’s APA Formatting and Style Guide
This site includes a comprehensive overview of APA style, as well as individual pages with guidelines for specific citation types.
Frequently Asked Questions About APA Style
This page on the official APA website addresses common questions related to APA formatting. The “References,” “Punctuation,” and “Grammar and Writing Style” sections will be the most useful to your work in this course.
APA Style: Quick Answers—References
This page on the official APA Style website provides numerous examples of reference list formatting for various source types.

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